BOSTON — The House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday night passed legislation making it illegal for a photo or video to be taken under a person's clothing without their knowledge, state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D- Pittsfield, announced.
H. 3934, An Act relative to unlawful sexual surveillance i
s now on Gov. Deval Patrick's desk was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday morning.
This legislative action was prompted by Wednesday's Supreme Judicial Court ruling that found current state laws do not prohibit the secret taking of "upskirt" photos or video of women who are clothed and in public places.
"The House took action today to bring Massachusetts laws up-to-date with technology and the predatory practice of 'upskirting.' We must make sure that the law protects women from these kind of frightening and degrading acts," House Speaker Robet DeLeo said in a statement. "I thank Chair Linsky as well as Representatives Brodeur and Mannal for their work on this legislation, commend Senate President Murray for her strong statements, and look forward to prompt action in the Senate."
H. 3934 makes taking a photograph or recording under or around a person's clothing a misdemeanor when a reasonable person would believe that their sexual or other intimate parts would not be visible to the public. The bill includes punishments of imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 2 1/2 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
The bill also expands the current dissemination statute for adults to include taking a photograph or recording under or around a person’s clothing without their knowledge. The current statute includes a possible state prison sentence of up to five years if charged with a felony.
In addition, the bill enhances penalties for taking a photograph or recording of a child under 18-years-old by adding a possible state prison sentence of up to five years if charged with a felony and increasing the fine to up to $10,000. The bill penalizes the dissemination of these photographs or recordings with a state prison sentence of up to 10 years.