A bill that would make sending unwanted nude pictures over apps and other digital programs illegal is set to be introduced to the state Senate when the next session starts up again in January.
Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) is currently writing the bill and is teaming up with the dating app Bumble to give the bill backing and approval from a website that it happens on.
Senator Chang has said that she wants to make unsolicited pictures showing nudity to be illegal because of the harassing nature of the pictures and the psychological danger the pictures impose.
“I’d say 95% of the women I have talked to have experienced something like this,” stated Senator Chang.“We have to send a message that this culture of online harassment must go.”
“We’re in a digital world, and it’s critical we protect online users.”
Senator Chang herself has experienced this kind of behavior. When she was first elected to the Assembly in 2014, then Assemblywoman Chang gave out her cell phone number in order to directly hear back from her constituents in the 55th District. However, in between innocent messages from citizens, there were many nude photos.
Bumble is also directly supporting the bill, because, like Chang, they want to protect users. In addition to adding technology to get rid of any nude photos sent through their app, Bumble also supported a similar bill in Texas, House Bill 2789. Texas HB 2789 was introduced by Texas state Representative Morgan Meyer, who worked with Bumble in getting it approved in Austin. Texas HB 2789 was passed earlier this year with little opposition.
While the language on Chang’s Bill has not been made public yet, the new Texas law made sending an unsolicited nude picture a misdemeanor. It also comes with a $500 fine.
“It’s a gateway to more extreme forms of harassment and abuse and it should not be taken lightly, and it deserves consequences,” said Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd.
California has already made many recent laws that have increased the safety of dating websites and outlawed ‘revenge porn’ leaking of nude pictures to others, but Chang’s bill goes several steps farther and goes after images through the app itself.
To date there has been no notable opposition to the incoming bill, with both Democrat and Republic lawmakers approving of the incoming bill, and other App companies either giving their own approval or not commenting on the proposed bill.
Chang’s bill is set to be introduced to the state Senate in Sacramento this January.