Rep. Costello and Rep. Speier Announce the Bipartisan ENOUGH Act
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) recently announced the Ending Nonconsensual Online User Graphic Harassment (ENOUGH) Act. The bipartisan legislation would implement protections for victims of nonconsensual pornography, also known as “revenge porn,” and create a federal process for prosecuting those who commit the crime. The legislation is also supported by Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Walter Jones (R-NC), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Tom Rooney (R-FL). The ENOUGH Act was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“The nonconsensual sharing of private images can be very damaging to careers and families. Some individuals have even taken their own lives. That is why the ENOUGH Act is so important,” said Rep. Costello. “While Pennsylvania and other states have passed laws to address nonconsensual pornography, this legislation would go a step further, and establish necessary and appropriate federal standards for responding to these criminal acts.”
“For victims of nonconsensual pornography, technology today makes it possible to destroy a person’s life with the click of a button or a tap on a cell phone. The damage caused by these attacks can crush careers, tear apart families, and, in the worst cases, has led to suicide,” said Rep. Speier. “What makes these acts even more despicable is that many predators have gleefully acknowledged that the vast majority of their victims have no way to fight back. Even in states that have laws on the books, the average person can’t afford to take on these predators in civil courts. Worse are the numerous victims who have mustered the courage and strength to pursue criminal charges, only to learn there is no law that protects them. The ENOUGH Act will fix this gaping hole in our legal system.”
“The consequences of nonconsensual pornography are real: devastated careers, broken families, and shattered lives.” said Rep. Meehan. “There should be penalties for exploiting victims and this legislation will ensure that the perpetrators of these acts will have to pay the price.”
The ENOUGH Act would:
- Ensure that the Department of Justice has an appropriate and effective tool for addressing these serious privacy violations.
- Narrowly establish federal criminal liability for individuals who share private, explicit images without consent.
- Strike an effective balance between protecting the victims of these serious privacy violations and ensuring that vibrant online speech is not burdened. A prosecution under the ENOUGH Act would require proving that the defendant was aware of a substantial risk that the victim expected the image would remain private and that the sharing could cause harm to the victim. A prosecution would also have to prove that no reasonable person would consider the shared image to touch on a matter of public concern.
The legislation is also supported by telecom leaders, law enforcement, women’s rights and family issues organization, and leading constitutional law scholars.
“Facebook supports the bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Speier and Costello as well as Sens. Harris and Burr to outlaw the use of intimate content to intentionally shame, embarrass or control someone. Around the country, states have passed legislation to criminalize this abhorrent practice. We stand with safety and consumer advocates in pushing for the same at the federal level,” said Erin Egan, VP of US Public Policy, Facebook
“In a world where smart phones and devises are used to record and transmit every moment in life, it is becoming increasingly important to protect against malicious sharing of private, explicit images. These online privacy violations exponentially and disproportionately target women and minors. While 35 states have enacted statutes in this area, federal intervention is necessary to provide complete and consistent coverage across state lines. This important bill would narrowly establish federal criminal liability for individuals who share private, explicit images without consent, while including civil liberty safeguards to ensure that only those who share with malicious intent are liable,” said William Johnson, Executive Director of National Association of Police Organizations
"We are grateful to the ENOUGH Act's bipartisan, bicameral supporters for protecting the victims of 'revenge porn,' ‘sextortion’ and other online crimes. With sexual predators increasingly turning to the Internet to do harm, we need effective tools for addressing these serious privacy violations. We look forward to working with Congress to help pass this bill," said Rebecca O’Connor, Vice President of Public Policy, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Click here for the text of the legislation.