Today, the California State Assembly takes up a bill to create new criminal penalties for so-called "revenge porn" sites, which host amateur nude photos usually uploaded without the subject's permission. As The New York Times reports, the new bill would raise the stakes for the rarely prosecuted crimes, targeting uploaders with up to a year in prison in addition to the civil penalties that often face the hosting sites. The bill would also single out videos or photos taken in private and "in a state of full or partial undress," as legally distinct, and carrying particular penalties if they're shared without the subject's consent.

The sites have faced legal action before, as they often veer into extortion, but criminal prosecution is still rare. Advocates like End Revenge Porn have been calling for new legislation to address the unique new form of harrassment, but New Jersey is the only state where a law targeting the sites is currently on the books. Critics say the bill duplicates previous anti-stalking efforts and may have unintended consequences on free speech if applied to consensual nude photos or public protest art, but advocates are undeterred. As law scholar Danielle Citron told the Times, "It signals taking the issue seriously."