In 2010, Massachusetts authorities received numerous complaints from the transit police about 32-year-old Michael Robertson, who was allegedly taking upskirt photographs and video footage of women on the trolley.
For those of you unfamiliar with upskirt photos—and despite the name being pretty self-explanatory—they involve cell phones placed under the skirts of unsuspecting victims (generally females) to snap pictures of their “unmentionables.” Some victims may be wearing underwear while some may be “going commando,” but you can bet all of them end up posted on the Internet sooner or later. There are hundreds—if not thousands—of sites devoted solely to this sketchy branch of voyeurism… or so I’ve heard.
Based on these complaints, police set up a decoy operation to bust Robertson and, true to form, he walked right into their trap. Several officers observed him placing a cell phone video camera up a woman’s skirt. And we’re not talking about just any woman, either—it was a female police officer!
Robertson was of course arrested and charged with two counts of “attempting to secretly photograph a person in a state of partial nudity.” Facing misdemeanor charges that could send him to prison for nearly three years, he immediately filed a motion with a lower court to have the case dismissed. Robertson’s lawyers contended that none of his so-called “victims” were nude or even partially nude at the time their upskirt photos were taken. Furthermore, the victims were also in a public place where none of them had a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Unfortunately for Robertson, his motion was quickly denied—at least until this past week, thanks to some recent developments.
On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ highest court reversed the lower court’s decision not to dismiss Robertson’s case because the state law “does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).”
“In sum, we interpret the phrase, ‘a person who is … partially nude’ in the same way that the defendant does, namely, to mean a person who is partially clothed but who has one or more of the private parts of body exposed in plain view at the time that the putative defendant secretly photographs her,” the high court also stated in their ruling.
You read that correctly: it is now legal in Massachusetts to take upskirt photographs of anyone you like. So to all you ladies in that great state, it might be time to consider a little fashion change… to pants!
Or if you must wear a skirt, at least some panties. You just never know who might be watching.
UPDATE (March 7, 2014): A mere day after posting this article, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed a bill that criminalizes “upskirting” as a misdemeanor punishable by 2 1/2 years in jail and a $5000 fine. Sorry, perverts. Time to find a new hobby, I guess.
For years, Iceland has had laws that ban the printing and distribution of pornographic materials. And two years ago, their parliament banned strip clubs because they felt the rights of the women who worked there were being violated.
Now it seems Internet pornography is the Icelandic government‘s next target. And if they get their way, all pornographic websites will be blocked and citizens attempting to access explicit sites will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
What could prompt such drastic action, you might ask? According to government officials on the small island nation, it’s all about the children.
“This move is not anti-sex,” an adviser to the country’s Interior Minister said recently. “It is anti-violence because young children are seeing porn an acting it out. That is where we draw the line.”
At first, it might seem an impossible task to block all the Internet porn sites out there. In America, this would be impossible, mostly because of free speech. However, Iceland is so remote and has such a small population that blocking these sites would be much easier. And since free speech isn’t as much of a concern, this ban has a good chance of passing.
Of course, there are detractors who don’t think this new law has a chance. One is Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of parliament who recently wrote an editorial for The Guardian in London. In her opinion, the ban has a “near zero” chance of being signed into law and the Icelandic government will need to find other ways to protect kids from porn.
“Introducing censorship without compromising freedom of expression and speech is like trying to mix oil and water: It is impossible,” Jonsdottir wrote. “I know my fellow MPs can often turn strange and dangerous laws into reality, but this won’t be one of them.”
Frankly, I’m happy to hear her say that.
I don’t live in Iceland and don’t know anyone who does, but freedom is something I feel very strongly about. And if you ask me, censorship is the opposite of freedom. People should never be forced to do things and governments should not dictate the interests of their citizens. If someone enjoys pornography and doesn’t harm anyone, so be it. And if you’re worried about children being exposed to it, find ways to regulate it more effectively. Don’t just ban it.
I should also mention that the idea of strip clubs being banned because they violate the rights of the women who work there is utterly ridiculous. Sure, women who are forced to perform should be protected, if this ever really happens. The last time I checked, though, strippers were hired on a voluntary basis. And given all the money they can make, it’s no wonder many are drawn to this profession.
On the flip side, I do understand the Icelandic government’s concern for children. We have all sorts of promiscuous young people in America, and they seem to get younger every year. Couple this with sex-ting, teen pregnancy, venereal diseases, date rape and a host of other issues and it’s no wonder some want to ban pornography.
After all, I was exposed to it at an early age and look what happened to me!
The ICM Registry just unveiled something that internet porn aficionados have likely wanted for years: a porn search engine.
This differs from simple porn searches using engines like Google or Yahoo because it doesn’t pander to advertisers. In other words, sites are not ranked lower in web searches simply because they offer less ad revenue.
Everyone with pictures of boobies, butts, hoohas and ding-dongs has an equal shot (not money shot) of being included in search results. Score one for pornographers everywhere!
Another interesting “non-feature” on Search.XXX is advertising. Gone are all the annoying offers and images you find on many porn sites. And there are also no pop-ups or other irritating distractions.
All you have is porn at your fingertips, at least until those fingertips drift off the mouse and start “interfacing” with your naughty bits and pieces.
Sadly, this new search engine won’t help me much because honestly, I’ve probably seen all the 21 million pages of adult content Search.XXX has to offer.
I will wait patiently for the first update, though.