On Tuesday, September 30th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law 8 bills his office says were designed to “strengthen privacy [ ] protections.”
Among the bills is AB 2306, which prevents the attempt to capture an image or sound recording in an offensive manner through the use of any technological device. Among other things, AB 2306 builds on existing California law against privacy invasion to rein in aggressive paparazzi tactics, such as the use of drones to collect images and videos of celebrities in a way that violates their privacy rights.
AB 2306 was authored by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), who was concerned that “[a]s technology continues to advance and new robotic-like devices become more affordable for the general public, the possibility of an individual’s privacy being invaded substantially increases.” Critics of AB 2306 argued that laws that provide the necessary privacy protections already exist, such as those dealing with trespassing and harassment. In addition, the photojournalism industry has expressed opposition to AB 2306 because of the bill’s potential application to newsgathering and attendant First Amendment concerns.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Brown signed into law an expansion of California’s “revenge porn” law. The initial law made it illegal to post online nude or sexually explicit pictures of an individual without their consent. The law provides for a jail term of up to six months, if convicted. Tuesday’s expansion allows victims themselves to seek a restraining order to remove the posts, and to seek damages in civil court. In addition, while the original law only covered images taken by someone else, the new law now covers “selfies.”