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Improper Photography

Texas’ hidden camera law makes it a felony to take photographs or video of a sexual nature without the subject’s consent:

 

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records,
broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is not a bathroom or private dressing room:

(A)  without the other person's consent; and

(B)  with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;

(2)  photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is a bathroom or private dressing room:

(A)  without the other person's consent; and

(B)  with intent to:

(i)  invade the privacy of the other person; or

(ii)  arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or

(3)  knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described by Subdivision (1) or (2).

(e)  For purposes of Subsection (b)(2), a sign or signs posted indicating that the person is being photographed or that a visual image of the person is being recorded, broadcast, or transmitted is not sufficient to establish the person's consent under that subdivision.

With the advent of YouTube and the ubiquity of cellphone cameras, and the proliferation of sexually explicit websites that advertise collections of “amateur” videos, the interesting issues relate to prosecution under section (3). If a person received a picture or video on his phone and then forwarded it to others, this would be grounds for prosecution if he later learns that the photograph or recording was non-consensual. If the subject is underage, then the offense raises to distribution of child pornography.

Simply put, the criminal code has not caught up with the confluence of social changes in society that allow for teenagers to have access to omnipresent recording devises, immediate distribution of video and photographic content, and a new generation that is not as concerned about their privacy as we used to be.

A word to the wise: nudie pictures + computers sometimes = unexpected trouble.

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