Greenstein Bills Addressing Privacy Laws Advance

Senator Linda Greenstein congratulates Congressman Donald Norcross on his succession to the U.S. House of Representatives.

TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Chair Linda Greenstein that would amend the invasion of privacy law and require the collection of a DNA sample for child pornography arrests was passed by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.

The first bill, S-3077, would amend the invasion of privacy law to rectify the unintended effect of a 2016 amendment to the law addressing the crime of “upskirting.”  The amendment inadvertently made it more difficult to prosecute instances of so-called “revenge porn,” where an individual publicly distributes intimate photos or videos of another person who consented to the initial taking, but did not consent to its further distribution. Even though the person depicted in the photos or videos did not consent to its distribution, a prosecution for such an offense would be unlikely to succeed because the prosecutor would have to prove that the photos or videos were taken without consent.

The bill would clarify that the distribution of intimate recorded images would be a third degree crime regardless of whether the other person consented to the taking of the image.

“This is an oversight that needs to be corrected in order to truly protect the privacy of individuals in a society where technology has normalized the quick sharing of intimate photos through smart phones,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex).  “Sharing intimate photos of an ex-partner with the intention to inflict pain and humiliation can ruin lives and it cannot be tolerated.  This legislation would bring justice to those affected by this invasion of privacy.”

The second bill, S-3078, would clarify that a DNA sample is to be collected from a person at the time of arrest for endangering the welfare of a child by committing a child pornography offense, and it would make clear the list of crimes for which a DNA sample is collected from a defendant upon arrest also includes those charged with endangering the welfare of a child by producing, distributing or possessing child pornography.

“It is imperative we take all precautions when dealing with child pornography arrests,” said Senator Greenstein.  “DNA samples are collected from offenders at the time of arrest for various crimes such as sexual assault, luring or enticing a child and endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct.  A child pornography arrest should not be overlooked and should be treated on the same level of severity as many of the crimes that warrant the collection of a DNA sample at the time of arrest.”

The bills were released from committee with a vote of 5-0 for S-3077, and a vote of 5-0 for S-3078.  They both now head to the full Senate for further consideration.