Friday, October 10, 2008

Even cell phone photos of oneself can lead to serious legal trouble, at least in Ohio

A teenage girl in Licking County, Ohio faces juvenile c.p. charges for sending indecent cell phone photographs of herself to other teen classmates, and the other teens who received the photos may also face possession charges. It is not clear whether the law would punish the recipient of a cell phone photo who did not know what it was until looking or deleted the image. (The same concept could apply with IM’s and emails on a computer, or even website visits if one does not know what the site is or if the domain is spoofed in an phishing email.)

There have been other cases around the country, as with a teenager who engaged in “revenge porn” (previous post) against an ex-girlfriend on Myspace.

Many critics are condemning the “exhibitionism” or attention-getting of social networking site culture.

The ABC News story by Scott Michels is here.

Update: Jan. 18, 2009

Here is a similar case in Pennsylvania reported by the AP and on MSNBC, story by Mike Brunker, dated Jan. 15. The incident occurred at Greensburg Salem High School in Greensburg, Pa. Police Capt. George Seranko was quoted as saying "It's very dangerous. Once it's on a cell phone, that cell phone can be put on the Internet where everyone in the world can get access to that juvenile picture. You don't realize what you are doing until it's already done.

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