Internet Companies Fighting Against New York’s Anti-Revenge Porn Bill

A bill that was introduced in 2013 to target revenge porn in New York has died. As of June 20, 2018, the bill had passed through the Assembly, awaiting Senate approval. On June 21, 2018, the bill died after the Senate adjourned for the year and took no action. The bill would have made nonconsensual dissemination of sexually explicit images a misdemeanor.
The Internet Association, a lobbying group that represents numerous big-name sites used to disseminate revenge porn, had been fighting against the bill. Members of the lobbying group are opposed to courts telling them what to do with content posted on their sites, regardless of the nature of the content. Google, specifically, fought against the bill because the company is opposed to any government oversight regarding how it regulates content.
If passed, the bill would have made it easier for victims to compel Internet Service Providers and web hosts to remove the images. Currently, victims have a difficult time getting images removed once they are posted without the help of web hosts and service providers. Further, images may also get picked up by other sites and reposted, therefore making it difficult to determine against whom to file suit.
Following the death of the bill on June 21, some proponents of the bill accused lawmakers of being subservient to large tech companies, and big tech being largely responsible for the prevalence of revenge porn on the internet.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Phil Boyle, said he plans to continue to push for the bill’s passage. Governor Andrew Cuomo had pledged to sign the bill if it had made it to his desk. There is a slim possibility that lawmakers could decide to return for a special session. Otherwise, the bill is dead until next year.