Revenge Pornography Weekly Update: Anonymity for California Civil Suits

Revenge pornography legislation changes on a week-by-week basis. We will be tracking these updates, as well as notable progress made in revenge pornography cases, and sharing them weekly in this space.

19 September 2017

According to Jazmine Ulloa writing for the Los Angeles Times, California governor Jerry Brown recently signed a state Senate bill that will allow victims of revenge porn to file civil lawsuits under a pseudonym.  This provision will help maintain victims’ privacy and is an important step in fine-tuning existing revenge porn laws to better secure justice for victims.

Often, when revenge porn laws are passed, legislators think their job is done and the problem is solved.  In fact, lawmakers need to maintain vigilance to ensure that legislation is fully effective.  Many US states, for example, have criminal revenge porn laws but do not have civil laws that provide victims a way of getting damages from the perpetrator.  Some criminal laws are so narrowly tailored that they do not encompass all instances of revenge porn.  The USA, furthermore, needs a federal revenge porn bill, as has been proposed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

Though the California bill was proposed by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from Fremont, it “coasted through the legislature with bipartisan support.”  In a time of deep political polarization, revenge porn seems to be an issue on which both parties can find common ground.  It is time to pass revenge porn laws in states that do not have them and to upgrade, maintain, and enforce the laws in those that do.