Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) and Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) gathered with representatives from Bumble, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Women’s Political Caucus, and other advocates at the Capitol to urge fellow lawmakers to advance their cyberflashing legislation (S.6420A / A.318B). This legislation would establish the offense of unsolicited disclosure of an intimate image as a criminal violation.
A 2022 survey by Bumble, the women-first dating and social networking app, found that nearly half of all respondents (46%) have received unsolicited, obscene images in their lifetime, and almost 1 in 3 (29%) had received them within the past month*. These images are frequently conveyed anonymously between mobile phones via text or digital file sharing services, and often on mass transit or in large public settings–violating the recipient’s personal space and undermining their sense of safety. For recipients who have a history of sexual trauma, such a violation can trigger intense emotional distress.
The act of cyberflashing draws clear parallels with indecent exposure, which is already on the books as a punishable offense in New York. Similar cyberflashing legislation has already become law in Virginia and Texas, and is on track for adoption in California. In addition to criminal penalties, individuals convicted of cyberflashing would be required to enroll in a sexual harassment prevention training course.