Florida’s Sexual Cyberharrassment Act Now Penalizes Electronic Transmissions of Sexually Explicit Images

As of July 1, 2019, Florida’s Sexual Cyberharrassment Act, Fla. Stat. 784.049, sometimes called Florida’s revenge porn law, establishes both criminal and civil liability for publishing, to any website or disseminating through any electronic means (for example, texting), a sexually explicit image of a person that contains personal identification information of the depicted person without his or her consent. “Personal identification information” means any information that identifies an individual, such as a name, email address, telephone, or “any unique physical representation.” See Fla. Stat. 784.049. Identifying a person based upon their face, unique body part, or tattoo seems to be covered by the amended sexual cyberharrassment law.

The law covers any sexually explicit image, such as any image depicting nudity or depicting a person engaging in sexual conduct. If someone electronically sends an image without the person’s consent, or contrary to the person’s reasonable expectation that the image would remain private, for no legitimate purpose, with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the depicted person, the sender is criminally liable and the victim may sue for damages and an injunction.

The victim or aggrieved person may bring suit (a civil action) against the sender and seek (a)Injunctive relief; (b ) monetary damages for $5,000 or actual damages incurred as a result of the violation; and (c) the victim’s reasonable attorney fees and costs.

 

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