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New York City Wants to Make It Illegal to Send a Sexy Pic Without Affirmative Consent

It's been dubbed "NYC's Anti-Airdrop Dick Pic Law," but the bill is much broader than that.

Kike Arnaiz/Westend61 GmbH/NewscomKike Arnaiz/Westend61 GmbH/NewscomIt's illegal to flash your genitals at strangers in public, but not to send unsolicited nudes via text, app, email, or social media. This is a situation the New York City Council seeks to rectify. To that end, a bill introduced last week by Councilman Joseph Borelli—which Wired has dubbed "NYC's Anti-Airdrop Dick Pic Law"—would prohibit "unsolicited disclosures of intimate images."

Under Borrelli's measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense "to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person," punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. Sexually explicit means anything showing "genitals, pubic area or anus of any person."

The problems with Borrelli's plan—which already has four co-sponsosrs—are myriad.

First, let's consider what new conduct it's actually criminalizing. It's already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors, so that's no excuse for this bill. Likewise, it's already illegal in New York to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them. So sending sexually explicit images "with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm" could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.

What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image. Who here thinks this would only be used for instances of legitimate harassment and harm?

The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges. If an intimate image exists, how would a police officer know whether it was sent with intent to "annoy"? Cases that don't meet the criteria for punishment could still lead to a lot of hassle for those targeted.

The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week's so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement.

Wired positions the proposed law as a matter of "cyber flashing": "a type of digital harassment where creeps use Apple's AirDrop feature to send dick pics and other lewd images straight to the home screens of unsuspecting strangers via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi," as writer Issie Lapowsky tells us.

But it's incredibly hard to trace AirDrop-style messages sent in public. "The lack of attribution artifacts at this time (additional research pending) is going to make it very difficult to attribute AirDrop misuse," writes digital forensics analyst Sarah Edwards in a blog post.

Additionally, the proposed NYC law wouldn't limit charges to dick-pic AirDroppers and sext-happy strangers. It would create a broad and wide-reaching new crime.

Lapowsky notes that a law like this "could have a ripple effect on tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as dating apps like Tinder where these types of unsolicited images are rampant. Right now, the only repercussion for sending or posting nudity on those platforms is getting the content or the account banned. With the law on its side, NYPD could issue subpoenas and other court orders that force these platforms to hand over information about the account holders, just as they do for other crimes and national security issues."

Nevermind that people can turn off the ability for strangers to AirDrop them photos, prevent people from sending unsolicited messages on social media, and block and report to social platforms those who send such messages. In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.

Photo Credit: Kike Arnaiz/Westend61 GmbH/Newscom

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am sure that the 9th Circuit would rule that this falls under the 1st Amendment, if this happened in their circuit.

    The 9th Circuit is all about the 1st Amendment now.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    What's the 9th circus got to do with a New York law?

    About as much as Trump does with economic literacy?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Can we call this Anthony Weiner's Law?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Anthony's Weiner Law

  • Eddy||

  • Idaho Bob||

    Would.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ...and tit shots are NOT included in NY ban.

    Saweet!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Patience, grasshopper. Someday, you'll see a pair that are not your mom's.

  • Still Curmudgeoned (Nunya)||

    I was hoping to see mom's.

  • Outofpatience||

    Of course not. Then you'd be discriminating against all the moms who want to breastfeed in McDonald's. Not to mention, it would put the kibosh on the mermaid parade and the annual topless subway ride. Those cannot conceivably be interpreted as insensitive or unwanted and are simply expressions of freedom.

    I honestly can't wait for the meteor to come.

  • Tony||

    I wonder if anyone has ever been traumatized or otherwise injured in any way by seeing a dick.

  • BYODB||

    Traumatized, maybe, but injured? I don't know about that. The worst I ever saw were those god awful pictures of genital warts they showed us in public school. Which, of course, would be illegal under this law. Some upside, then?

  • Eddy||

    Combine that with driver's ed and show someone with an STD getting in a car wreck.

  • ||

    Combine that with driver's ed and show someone with an STD getting in a car wreck.

    The Kardashians was a hit show and people watched it voluntarily!

  • Tony||

    Ah, yes, actually traumatizing kids with nudity and gore is part of a -rounded education. The real social ill here is reminding them that sex exists.

  • spec24||

    No... the answer is NO. No one has ever been traumatized by seeing a natural part of the human body.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I wonder if anyone has ever been traumatized or otherwise injured in any way by seeing a dick.

    After seeing mine? Almost certainly.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    They do say that squinting is bad for the eyes.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Does the new law only apply to schlong shots? What if some lady sends unsolicited photos of her vege? And is it necessary for the recipient to file a complaint?

    If I were to receive such a pic, even if I thought the person was unattractive and I had zero interest, I would not be traumatized. It's just a photo of a body part, after all.

  • Tony||

    There's that tribe in the South Pacific that walk around with their balls flopping in the breeze. The French will fuck each other in an alley if a strong breeze hits their pants. There's a whole bunch of culturally-specific (puritanical) bullshit in all this. We've got religious fundies and MeToo feminists uniting to make sex something we should all be afraid of.

  • spec24||

    yeah, pretty much

  • Uncle Jay||

    Thank God New York is a such a nanny state.
    Otherwise we would only have California to laugh at.

  • SQRLSY One||

    You forgot New Jersey, Armpit of the Universe!!!

  • Longtobefree||

    So women ca still send sexual images if they just show breasts? Sounds like unconstitutional sex discrimination. And triggering to transexuals who have not yet had surgery so they can send breast shots.
    On the other hand, NY has joined CA a a place I think I will ignore.

  • Still Curmudgeoned (Nunya)||

    If a woman has a penis and sends an unrequited picture, is it sexist to call the cops? Can we get Planned Parenthood to weigh in?

    My pictures are never for ill intent. I'm just advertising.

  • Zeb||

    Well, I believe showing your naked breasts in public is specifically legal in NYC, so it makes sense.

  • Bowerick Wowbagger||

    well i guess i can call Sprint and lower my data plan

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Sprint has unlimited data.

  • BYODB||


    Under Borrelli's measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense "to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person," punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.


    So in other words, it's still cool to do it if your intent is to fuck the other person? Also, one year in jail for a picture of penis or vulva? Jesus fucking christ, we really are going back to the Victorian period aren't we.


    I'm really tempted to take a picture of an anatomy book and send a picture of it to a legislature. Because technically, that violates this law.


    Sexually explicit means anything showing "genitals, pubic area or anus of any person."

  • Rich||

    I'm really tempted to take a picture of an anatomy book and send a picture of it to a legislature. Because technically, that violates this law.

    Technically, it doesn't violate the law if your intent is to *enlighten*.

  • Eddy||

    To many legislators, "enlighten" = "annoy."

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Jesus fucking christ [sic], we really are going back to the Victorian period aren't we[?]."

    I have been making the same observation for some time now, but this time it isn't for the purpose of adherence to an antiquated and patriarchy worshiping religion, but rather the faith or progressivism. The morality of our new secular humanism must be similarly enforced, because it just isn't acceptable for the segment of the populace to not get on board.

    The more things change....yeah.

  • DesigNate||

    Goddamn socons, always trying to legislate morality and sex.

    Oh wait.

  • Zeb||

    Someone had to take over where the SoCons left off.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Where did the Constitution go? It was just here a moment ago.

  • Eddy||

    It went to the convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes, it will be back soon.

  • Eddy||

    Alternatively, it's asleep in a cave (next door to King Arthur's sleep-cave), and will wake up at the time of America's greatest need. Upon awakening, it will shrug and say, "what did you idiots expect, I'm done with you," and go back to sleep.

  • Bretzky||

    It's currently in hiding to protect itself from all the creepy douche bags sending dick pics.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It was just here a moment ago.

    ?!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Where did the Constitution go? It was just here a moment ago.

    I think someone used to to stop the throne from wobbling.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    *it

  • ||

    Where did the Constitution go? It was just here a moment ago.

    Replacing the Constitution with a dick pick would be some epic trolling.

  • Ride 'Em||

    I can see the need for a new federal law: texting obscene photos across state lines.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Ah yes, the anti-sex Puritans are back, except this time they are not religious. (Well, they do probably worship Gaia.)

  • Zeb||

    Some of them are religious. There are plenty of Christian denominations that are pretty well infected with SJW nonsense.

  • buybuydandavis||

    SJWs are fundamentalist cryptotheocrats

  • Bubba Jones||

    My intent is to arouse her lust.

    Will add this disclaimer to my texts...

  • ||

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  • Dillinger||

    three weeks past wtf?

  • NoVaNick||

    So if I were to send a pic of an uncut member to a Muslim or Jew, would that make it a hate crime too? Asking for a friend

  • Merl3noir||

    I'm surprised the article does not mention the obvious flaw of jurisdiction. NYC cannot police activities that take place outside NYC. So if the sender is in upstate NY, or California, or China, the law is going to be useless. Potentially even someone that lives in NYC could send send such an image while on a business trip, and it would be perfectly legal. Although I don't doubt that they would ignore the law, and make the arrest, and figure even f it gets thrown ouit the trouble caused to the perpetrator by the arrest will be worth it.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Unless you're arguing that indecent public exposure shouldn't be a crime, I'm not sure how treating indecent public exposure via text message is all that alarming.

    It's really pretty simple: keep it in your pants until they say "yes". If that's too much to ask, it's not the law that's the problem.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week's so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement. "

    I'm not sure there's a problem for them.

    "to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,"

    In the case of sex workers, the intent is clearly to make money. Their defense is obvious. If anything, they would be better able than most to break the law with plausible deniability.

    Or is the admission of solicitation itself then the crime?

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