Gabbard-Backed Bill to Protect Victims of Military Photo Sharing Scandal Passes the House
Washington, DC—Today the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the PRIVATE Act (H.R. 2052), legislation Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) helped introduce and strongly supported. The bill would make it a crime for members of the military to broadcast or distribute intimate photos, videos or recordings without the subject’s consent. The bill also addresses widespread reports of civilian and military personnel sharing private photographs and videos of female servicemembers online without the subject's consent. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) includes two articles related to unprofessional conduct through which such a crime could be prosecuted, but doesn’t explicitly define photo-sharing as a crime.
“The invasive breach of privacy our servicemembers have been subjected to goes against the core values and warrior ethos of our military. It erodes the cohesion and trust necessary for our troops to operate successfully as a team, and is nothing short of abuse. The Uniform Code of Military Justice must be updated for the digital age to provide Commanders with the tools to hold those responsible accountable,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Background:Under H.R. 2052, it would be a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for members of the military to broadcast or distribute intimate photos, videos or recordings without the subject’s consent. The bill would apply to photos of individuals who are at least 18 years old and identifiable in the image. Members of the military would be found guilty if they knew or should have known that the photo was expected to remain private and that its distribution would harm the subject, including his or her health, business, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships. Earlier this year, the Defense Department learned that civilian and military personnel were sharing nude photos of female members of the military online without the subjects’ consent.