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Upskirting – Is It Against the Law?

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Even when you’re out in public, you expect to have a certain amount of privacy. For example, you would expect the people around you not to touch you without your permission — especially if they are lifting up your skirt to take a photo.

“Upskirting” is when someone takes a photo underneath someone’s skirt or dress without their knowledge or consent. While most people would find this action reprehensible, there are many places in the United States where this act is not considered to be illegal. However, in other states, it is a criminal offense.

Why is upskirting legal in some states?

There are two primary reasons for this. The first is that upskirting often occurs in public places like stores, parks, or subways. While voyeurism laws are in place to protect people in places like locker rooms or bathrooms, they don’t necessarily apply to open public spaces.

The second reason has to do with the rapid development of technology. Ten years ago, very few people had smartphones, and the camera quality was much lower than it is now. Today, nearly three-quarters of the population are carrying a phone with a high-resolution camera, making it far easier for people to take inappropriate candid photos. In most states, laws simply haven’t caught up with the evolution of technology.

Where is upskirting illegal?

Since a few widely publicized cases in recent years, some states have started taking initiative to make this illegal. In the tri-state area where we at the Law Firm of Jacobson & Rooks, LLC practice, this type of photography is illegal.

  • Pennsylvania – Upskirting is considered a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, as photos and videos cannot be taken of someone’s intimate parts without their consent, even in a public area.
  • New Jersey – Just last year, Governor Christie signed a law to criminalize upskirting as a fourth-degree crime. Violators could pay a fine up to $10,000 or face up to 18 months in prison. If the photos are published online, it becomes a third-degree fine with even higher penalties.
  • New York – In New York, upskirting is considered a Class E felony which is punishable by one to four years in prison. Second-time offenders face even more severe penalties.

If you feel that your privacy has been violated by someone taking inappropriate pictures without your consent, give us a call at the Law Firm of Jacobson & Rooks, LLC.