'Revenge Porn' Reform: A View from the Front Lines

88 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2016 Last revised: 19 Apr 2018

See all articles by Mary Anne Franks

Mary Anne Franks

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: October 17, 2016


The legal and social landscape of “revenge porn” has changed dramatically in the last few years. Before 2013, only three states criminalized the unauthorized disclosure of sexually explicit images of adults and few people had ever heard the term “revenge porn.” As of July 2017, thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C. had criminalized the conduct; federal criminal legislation on the issue had been introduced in Congress; Google, Facebook, and Twitter had banned nonconsensual pornography from their platforms; and the term “revenge porn” had been added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I have had the privilege of playing a role in many of these developments. In 2013, I argued that nonconsensual pornography required a federal criminal response and drafted a model statute to this effect. That statute served as the template for what eventually became the federal Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016, as well as for numerous state laws criminalizing nonconsensual pornography. As the Legislative and Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, I have worked with tech industry leaders, legislators, attorneys, victims, and advocates to develop policies and solutions to combat this abuse. This Article is an account from the front lines of the legislative, technological, and social reform regarding this evolving problem.

Keywords: revenge porn, privacy, first amendment, free speech, criminal law, nonconsensual pornography, online harassment, obscenity, Google, Section 230

Suggested Citation

Franks, Mary Anne, 'Revenge Porn' Reform: A View from the Front Lines (October 17, 2016). Florida Law Review, Forthcoming, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-43, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2853789

Mary Anne Franks (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.gwu.edu/mary-anne-franks

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