If you’re the type of person who sends unsolicited nudes on dating apps in California you may want to pump the brakes. Soon you could be sued for dropping those D pics without permission.
Californians who find themselves victims of “cyber flashing” can sue under a new law signed Friday by Governor Gavin Newsom.
According to the Associated Press, the law aims to punish and deter those who send unsolicited sexually explicit messages via text, email, or other electronic means.
Recipients have received such unwelcome surprises, often from strangers, through online dating apps and social media platforms, and even via Apple’s AirDrop in public areas, said Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva, who sought the measure.
Airdropping photos in public spaces is on a rise. There have been more examples of this in the media. Recently, a pilot on a Southwest Airlines flight threatened to cancel take off because someone was sending nude images via airdrop to other passengers on the plane.
The law will allow recipients to recover at least $1,500 and as much as $30,000 from senders of obscene material who are older than age 18, along with punitive damages and attorney’s fees. They’ll also be able to seek court orders blocking such behavior in the future.
“No Californian should ever be sent a sexually explicit picture or video without their consent and, when that happens, it is critical that survivors have a legal path to pursue following this technology-based sexual harassment,” Leyva said in a statement Friday.
State lawmakers sent the measure to Governor Newsom without opposition last month and he signed it without comment. Virginia and Texas have previously taken similar actions.
The cyber flashing bill is the latest in the California Legislature’s attempts to deter related harassment in an electronic age.
It outlawed “revenge porn” in 2013, making it a misdemeanor to publicly distribute what were intended to be private intimate photos. And it allowed lawsuits against those distributing “deepfakes,” or false depictions, in 2019.