Nonconsensual Sharing of Intimate Images

New Federal Remedy for Use of Intimate Visual Images Without Consent

A provision, 15 U.S.C. 6851, in the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022 (which recently passed Congress), establishes a federal civil cause of action for individuals (or their legal guardian or representative) whose intimate visual images are disclosed in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce without their consent.

An action can be brought against a person who either knew or recklessly disregarded whether the individual had not consented to the disclosure of the individual’s intimate image, and the individual is recognizable by that image or distinguishing feature. A person’s face or unique birthmark would be considered a distinguishing feature as would any information provided that identifies the victim. The purpose of the remedy is to help people who experience additional harms when their non-public, intimate images have been non-consensually shared and make their way to internet platforms.

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