The Florida Senate today unanimously passed a bill that would make it a third-degree felony for video voyeurs who violate the privacy of unassuming victims. Senate Bill 436 by Senator Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, would strengthen penalties on filming or photographing people without their knowledge or consent in places and times when people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, hotels or fitting rooms. The bill specifically adds “the interior of a residential dwelling” to the list of privacy locations.
“Actions of such magnitude should have an appropriate penalty,” said Senator Storms. “It is easy to obtain devices that allow you to record life’s moments, but it’s horrifying that some individuals are using technology to violate the privacy of others in such a disturbing way. As technology changes, sometimes it is necessary to adjust laws to protect citizens and prevent future victims.”
In 2004, the federal Video Voyeurism Prevention Act made it a misdemeanor to intentionally capture an image of a private area of another person without their consent. However, because these violations are only misdemeanors, Florida law enforcement officials are often unable to secure the necessary evidence to press charges or convict the offender. Among its provisions, Storms’ SB 436 elevates current third-degree felony offenses to second-degree felonies, and it enhances penalties for certain offenses committed against children to first-degree felonies.
“Florida’s current law is just not severe enough on perverted individuals videoing or photographing others’ private lives without their knowledge or permission,” added Senator Storms. “We need to adequately punish offenders, and I am proud of the support for this bill.”