Tennessee bill proposes taking “offensive, nonconsensual” photos in public illegal

Jan 29, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Tennessee bill proposes taking “offensive, nonconsensual” photos in public illegal

Jan 29, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When you’re out in public, you can’t expect much privacy (in spite of “Karenslike this and this who would disagree). However, this might change soon, at least under some circumstances. Tennessee lawmakers and the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office have proposed a bill that would make “embarrassing” and “offensive” nonconsensual photos illegal and punishable by law.

Current state law states that people who are willingly in public can’t expect privacy. This was the basis for dismissing the 2016 case against David Eric Lambert. He was reported to follow women around a Dollar Tree, a Hobby Lobby, and a Walmart, photographing their private parts. The appeals court dropped the charges against Lambert in 2020 because “even if the evidence were clear that Mr. Lambert had filmed the women, his actions would not have been illegal because the women were in public places.”

Assistant District Attorney William Harper said that his office wasn’t pleased with the judges’ decision. He added that Sullivan County residents were also upset over it. He explained:

“Under the prior law, if you were some place like Walmart, out shopping, pumping gas, you didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in those areas. If someone came up and took a picture of your intimate part, there was no crime because of the fact of where you were.”

Just thinking about this gives me chills, and I suppose the Tennessee lawmakers felt the same. So, along with the DA’s office, they crafted the bill that would change this. It says “you can’t take a picture of someone without their consent for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.” This includes any photo that would offend or embarrass the person you photograph, or photos focused on an intimate part of their body.

Senator Jon Lundberg explained further what a law like this would mean. He told News Channel 11 that this doesn’t mean that you can’t take photos of a park with women and men in there. That’s absolutely not illegal (again, despite some folks out there who would disagree). “What’s a clear distinction in here, is the intent of why that photo was taken,” Lundberg adds.

If the bill is passed, adult offenders will face a Class A misdemeanor, and minors would face Class D felony. “And if the jury finds it was taken for sexual gratification, that’s what elevates it to an illegal act,” Lundberg concludes.

As for the current law: sure, I can’t expect much privacy in public. But I’m sure it’s reasonable to expect that no one would take photos of my lady bits without getting prosecuted. I will remind you that the so-called “upskirt photography” is punishable by law in Kyoto and the UK. And I absolutely think that any similar kind of photography should be illegal everywhere else.

If the bill passes, it would go into effect on 1 July 2021. Personally, I sure hope it will pass and I think it should. Do you agree?

[via PetaPixel]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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20 responses to “Tennessee bill proposes taking “offensive, nonconsensual” photos in public illegal”

  1. Chris Cameron Avatar
    Chris Cameron

    A very slippery slope tho Dunja. Who gets to decide what is offensive? Who gets to decide the intent of the photographer? Or the context? A Police man? a court? A jury? I’ve just decided this photograph is offensive. It obviously depicts a man urinating on a memorial of some sort. (photo by Dunja Djudjic) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/208d6b690e35c5b214d6ad3c11da9b0962f0df768ec237629218fbf83ccd1604.png

    1. Grace LC Avatar
      Grace LC

      Grow up.

  2. Robert Bray Avatar
    Robert Bray

    If someone is walking around in PUBLIC with their LADY BITS exposed, they should be charged with lewdness.

    The problem is, “it goes back to the intention behind the photograph.” That means sports illustrated swimsuit calendars would be illegal. Those charity fireman’s calendar photo shoots would be illegal too, and maybe even some car photography could be found illegal under the loose definition of the law.

    We don’t need more laws prohibiting the free exercise of a constitutionally protected activity, we need less!

    1. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
      Jolyon Ralph

      Robert Bray FEWER, not LESS.

      But I can’t agree – stalkers photographing women without their permission can’t be confused with ‘swimsuit calendars’ etc where OBVIOUSLY permission is given.

    2. Robert Bray Avatar
      Robert Bray

      Jolyon Ralph what constitutes a stalker? Could that be confused with a street photographer taking candid photos of women in public? Under that law, photographers wouldn’t only have to worry about their own intentions but also the perceived intention from the person being photographed, or really, a jury’s perception of the photographers intention. You’re in public! You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regardless of the photographers intentions.

    3. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
      Jolyon Ralph

      If a street photographers actions could be mistaken for that then they shouldn’t be a street photographer. There are a few bad photographers who ruin it for everyone else.

    4. Javier Cardona Avatar
      Javier Cardona

      Jolyon Ralph key word “mistake”. We shouldn’t be relying on mistakes or peoples perception to decide over peoples freedom.

    5. Tunes Firwood Avatar
      Tunes Firwood

      Robert: correct, photographers should be worrying about the perceived intention as judged by those they are using as non-consensual subjects.

      The idea that being in public makes you fodder for any idiot with a camera is not a law of nature.

  3. Mueller Avatar
    Mueller

    I believe it should be a PHYSICAL offense NOT INTENT. If one takes pictures of women at a beach (or men) to later “gratify” themselves under intent that would be illegal. Physical offenses would be building a mirror system for upskirt shots or using one. They PHYSICALLY went out of their way to photograph parts that a person wouldn’t normally assume would be visible.

  4. Alex Minkin Avatar
    Alex Minkin

    It’ll be used and abused to the point of stupidity

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      Absolutely.

  5. David Ar Lester Avatar
    David Ar Lester

    That is just wrong. One must positively define offensive and nonconsensual. That would mean that any news media could not put ANY pictures in their articles like pictures of Biden or Kamala, their family, Trump, Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Easter Bunny and any picture of BLM and the like , burning of the US Flag, a picture of a Bible or Koran, a picture of a Church, even a bank- because to someone these could be offensive. This means that Tennessee would effectively close out all TV news, shows, and commercials. Advertising for female hygiene products would be banned. Also it would include the Capital Building, Lincoln Memorial, and other public buildings because just the sight of them by some people would be offensive. This Might also include cartoons and lost or found pets. This might include periodical magazines because they are also a news medium. Men’s magazines, sports magazines. Shooting magazines, Women’s magazines-List goes on and on. It will get real crazy. But only in Tennessee. They would have to cross state lines.

    1. Al Wright Avatar
      Al Wright

      And guns. People carrying guns. Pictures of armed supporters of Our Dear (now thankfully Deposed) Dear Leader brandishing guns on the steps of a state Capitol building is offensive in the extreme to me.

  6. Clarence Hemeon Avatar
    Clarence Hemeon

    This is to protect Karens, et al when they go crazy in public.

  7. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    Those kind of photos are already illegal in many countries.

  8. Rob Vanner Avatar
    Rob Vanner

    Would this apply to pubic and private cctv images too ?

  9. Brian Leadingham Avatar
    Brian Leadingham

    I agree with Clarence Hemeon . This reeks of protecting Karens to prevent them from losing their jobs and respect while also offering them the opportunity to sue photographers for exposing them. I wonder what legislator’s wife was caught being a bitch to a brown person to get this going.

  10. Steve Slate Avatar
    Steve Slate

    With the sexual revolution alive and well, isn’t this kinda hypocritical? “Don’t tell me what to do” goes against telling people they can’t. Laws won’t fix the problem, for they only tell people how far they can go. If the laws aren’t enforced, what’s the point. People just need to start practicing responsibility, starting with themselves. People need to learn what having decency is as well. The fact that this is an issue should tell us something is very, very wrong with abusing our freedoms. It starts with me, and that is not being selfish.

  11. FrogLuvR Avatar
    FrogLuvR

    OH… The saying is “you have no expectation of privacy in Publix” not “you can’t expect much privacy” Plus this would open up some accusation of you doing wrong when you are in the right. I don’t know how many times, went out doing street photography, that people have yelled at me that it’s against the law to take photos of people on the street without their permission, with even a few threatening to call the police. So I’m sure the law would not be understood by many people, and I’m sure the police also.

  12. John Beatty Avatar
    John Beatty

    Everything must be taken into account of each action. It can’t be a one for all. This a$$hat in question should get a boot to the head. I’ll stick to my landscapes and nature. People are f****** weird.