Bumble’s mission to outlaw unsolicited sexual images has taken a major step forward, with the act set to become a Class C misdemeanor in Texas on 1st September.
Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2789 into law after it had previously been unanimously passed through the House and the Senate.
Anyone found guilty of sending a sexual image without consent will face a fine of up to $500. The law will apply to pictures sent via all electronic formats, including dating apps or random AirDrops in public places.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, who had been pushing for this law to be introduced for months, detailed her journey in a guest article for Cosmopolitan at the end of April. She argued that there are laws for public nudity in the real world, so there should be similar restraints in the digital space.
Her movement began in Texas, the home of Bumble’s headquarters, but Wolfe Herd hopes to bring similar measures to the rest of the country.
Dallas-based lawyer Morgan Meyer said in a statement: “Sending a lewd photo to someone that has not requested it or someone you don’t know is no different than exposing yourself to a stranger in public or performing other lewd acts.
“This is becoming a bigger issue among our teenagers and young adults, and while it seems less egregious since done over text or email, we must establish that this is not acceptable by making it a punishable offense.”
Badoo and Bumble’s tech team worked to create ‘Private Detector’, a piece of AI software that automatically detects images of exposed genitalia with 98% accuracy. The technology is implemented on both dating apps as well as Chappy.
In March, the UK government announced it is planning to discuss whether a similar law should be brought in.
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