Learn more about cyber flashing and the laws surrounding it in Texas.
Have you ever received an unsolicited photo of a man’s penis? If so, you have been a victim of a crime called cyber flashing. Cyber flashing is akin to flashing someone in person (showing them your naked body), but it is done online through the internet or social media.
Cyber flashing is typically initiated by men who send women photos of their genitals. It often takes place on dating apps or even in public places through iPhone’s AirDrop feature, which is a file transfer that works with nearby Apple devices.
Cyber flashing may not seem too serious, but it is an internet sex crime that is victimizing many women. Cyberflashing takes place online, but also impacts the receiver in real life. That is because it is used as sexual intimidation, causing women to be fearful for their physical safety. They may not even know who sent them the photo. They may feel violated, humiliated, anxious, and distressed.
Victims in Texas now have legal recourse against someone who cyber flashes them. Read on to learn more about the laws involved.
What the Law Says
While many states have laws against lewd content, Texas is the only state that criminalizes cyber flashing. In 2019, the state passed the law in cooperation with Bumble, a dating app. The law is in place to protect those who engage in online dating, who often receive numerous emails and texts from prospective dates. Some of the messages contain unsolicited pictures of genitalia.
Texas law classifies cyber flashing as a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine. However, the law can be confusing, as not every incident of a nude photo can be classified as cyber flashing. It must be proven that the recipient did not give consent in order to charge the sender with a crime.
This makes Texas’s cyber flashing law different. In other states that criminalize lewd content, the laws generally focus on the sender’s intent. Texas’s cyber flashing law, on the other hand, focuses on the recipient’s consent (or lack thereof).
Bumble is working with several other states, such as Wisconsin, to pass similar laws. The dating app is also working with legislators at the federal level as well as other countries.
However, there are concerns about Texas’ law. Specifically, there is the potential to criminalize innocent text conversations. Also, because the crime is a misdemeanor with no jail time involved, will law enforcement officials take the time to enforce this law? Unless the person is a serial cyber flasher, probably not.
Contact Us Today
Cyber flashing is a crime in Texas. Refrain from showing people photos of your naked body unless you have their consent (and remember that minors cannot legally give consent).
If you have been accused of cyber flashing or another internet sex crime, seek legal help from the Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC. We will defend your case so you can get your charges reduced or eliminated altogether. Call (512) 474-9999 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.