One of the major ramifications of our mobile society is the ease in which we share our personal thoughts and images to friends and family via smart phones and other devices. Truly sharing who we are with our loved ones may entail a winking eye emoji, a quick LOL, a selfie at our favorite restaurant, and yes, at times…more intimate images of ourselves to those we feel closest to. In addition to our intentional sharing with others, we are also susceptible to having our digital information taken from us without our consent by hackers or people we know that may purposefully invade our privacy.
Frequently, this fact pattern may arise upon the dissolution of a marriage, or simply during a domestic break-up, while tension between the couple runs high. It is important to note, in Nevada, the unlawful dissemination of intimate images is a crime and can expose the disseminator to a category D felony, which may come with a sentence of imprisonment for 1 – 4 years and the imposition of a $5,000.00 fine.
A classic example is when one party attempts to leverage a divorce proceeding or legal separation. There may be a verbal or implied threat that if the other does not agree to specific settlement terms, then he or she will post their partner’s intimate photos on-line or publicize the information in other embarrassing forums. Worse, they may say nothing at all, but simply post the imagery to shame or embarrass the other person simply for leaving them.
It is important to know that you have protection under the law from this type of harassment. Nobody should be able to share your intimate images, which includes photographs, videos, films or other recorded imagery. The imagery must 1) include an exposed female breast or 2) one or more persons engaged in sexual conduct. See NRS 200.770(1) (a)-(b). The imagery must be clearly identifiable as to the person, may not include imagery in which a person has decided to expose themselves in a public or commercial setting on their own cognizance, and cannot include intimate images of a public figure. See NRS 200.770(2(a)-(c).
If your partner or third party has violated Nevada’s “Revenge Porn” statute, it is important to do the following right away:
- Document the occurrence thoroughly. Take a moment, breathe, and then log the date, time, and website or social media site thoroughly. This will include taking photographs so that if the images are later removed, you can prove at one point they were unlawfully disseminated and where or when it occurred.
- Research who owns the domain for the website and log the information, if possible.
- Report the incident to local law enforcement and save all records pertaining to this incident.
- Provide all information to your attorney, who will take action to demand immediate removal from the source.
Current protective measures are in place from a criminal perspective, but you should always remember that an invasion of one’s privacy may also subject the disseminator to civil lawsuits involving defamation, invasion of privacy, and false light claims.
Lastly, if this concerns a divorce proceeding in Nevada, although the state is a “no-fault” jurisdiction, meaning the court generally does not look at who is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage, disseminating intimate imagery of your soon to be ex-spouse may hurt the disseminator during a custody proceeding when determining what is in the best interest of the parties’ children or child.