New Camera Phone Voyeurism Law

WASHINGTON, DC - High-tech voyeurs will have to rethink their ways if President Bush signs into law S.1301, "A bill to amend Title 18, United States Code, to prohibit video voyeurism in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and for other purposes."

One of Congress' last actions for the year, the proposed law would provide for stiff fines of up to $100,000, and prison sentences of up to one year (or both) for peeping-Tom's who take so-called "upskirt," "downblouse," or other surreptitious photos or videos of unknowing subjects who are either naked, or in various stages of undress (including their underwear), on federal property, without the subject's consent – if the subject is in a place or situation where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Approved by the House of Representatives on September 21, and by the Senate this past Tuesday, the proposed law covers voyeurism within areas of federal jurisdiction, such as national parks, military bases, and federal buildings. The legislation provides certain exemptions for law enforcement agents, intelligence officials, and for the monitoring of prison inmates, and is an extension to the 18 USC regulations so familiar to the adult industry – section 2257, in particular.

While Florida and South Dakota already have state laws prohibiting camera phone voyeurism, S.1301 is intended to establish a national standard, and if passed, could serve as a model for further state-level initiatives.

Sponsored by Senator Michael DeWine, R-OH, the bill isn't the only National legislative initiative against camera phone voyeurism, with both Saudi Arabia and Australia already prohibiting the practice.