Sunday, December 26, 2004

No electronic peeping in US federal jurisdiction

The US Senate and House have passed the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004, which has been sent to President Bush for his signature. The law is restricted by the US federal government's limited jurisdiction, so it applies in federal facilities and areas of special federal jurisdiction. It makes it a federal crime to capture an image of an individual's "private area" when the individual has an expectation of privacy. CNN, among others, is running an AP article on the law: - New bill targets some peeping Toms - Dec 9, 2004:

"... The bill, which President Bush is expected to sign, would make it a crime to videotape or photograph the naked or underwear-covered private parts of a person without consent when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Conviction could lead to a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

'Upskirting' and 'downblousing'

The measure got voice vote approval in both chambers of Congress -- the House on September 21 and the Senate on Tuesday.

The legislation would apply only in federal jurisdictions, such as federal buildings, national parks or military bases, but it carves out exceptions for law enforcement, intelligence and prison work...."

We've had a bill pending, on and off, to amend the Canadian criminal code to do the same thing. Unfortunately, it has fallen off the order paper at least once (See PIPEDA and Canadian Privacy Law: Article: Canada 'voyeur' bill still on shelf), but was reintroduced as Bill C-2 and is presently before committee. The text of the bill is here and its current status can be found here.

The proposed Canadian law is similar to the US one referred to above, except is also makes it an offence to distribute a recording produced as a result of an offence under subsection (1).

Because the Canadian federal government's criminal law jursidcition is unlimited, the law will apply coast-to-coast in Canada.

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