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SND_P0219_2W19CHINA2.JPGBad breakups can produce all kinds of painful and unhealthy fallout: severing relationships with friends, dividing your mingled possessions, seeking solace in alcohol, putting nude pictures and videos of your ex on the Internet.

Yes, that last one happens too. Commonly referred to as "revenge porn," the practice of posting or disseminating lascivious images and footage without someone's consent is apparently a serious enough problem that the California Senate has passed a bill penalizing its perpetrators.

The legislation, authored by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and backed by organizations like the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the California Sheriffs' Association, makes revenge porn a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time. Cannella floated Senate Bill 255 after being approached by a constituent dismayed that an ex had shared photos that "were intimate in nature."

"That was the initial exposure," Cannella said (no pun intended).

So Cannella did some research and discovered that not only is cyber revenge more widespread than he realized, it's also not illegal. Someone whose privacy has been violated can seek redress in civil court, but they're often "too mortified and embarrassed" to seek a remedy in a public arena like a courtroom.

"Technology is moving faster than our ability to catch up with laws," Cannella said.

A single senator voted against the bill. Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said he rejected the measure -- also opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union -- because he feared it would undermine First Amendment freedoms.

"While I appreciate the intent of this legislation, I feel it was too broadly drawn and could potentially be used inappropriately to censor free speech," Yee said in a statement.

PHOTO: In this photo taken Tuesday, June 30, 2009, customers surf the Internet at an Internet cafe in Beijing, China. AP Photo/Greg Baker.



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