FC: Are "underskirt cams" video voyeurism or free speech?

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Jul 10 2001 - 22:16:08 PDT

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: More on Georgia prosecuting man over distributed.net client"

    This line from the opinion is particularly memorable:
    >Up-skirt video voyeurism is apparently a thriving internet business, with 
    >about a hundred web sites devoted to up-skirt and other candid body shots 
    >of unsuspecting female victims in public places.
    Filed July 5, 2001
    Washington's voyeurism statute, RCW 9A.44.115, prohibits the photographing 
    of a person without that person's knowledge and consent in "a place where 
    he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy." The statute then 
    defines one such place as "[a] place where one may reasonably expect to be 
    safe from . . . hostile intrusion . . . ." RCW 9A.44.115(1)(b)(ii). Sean T. 
    Glas was caught photographing up women's skirts at a public shopping mall 
    in Union Gap, Washington. The State charged him with violating the 
    voyeurism statute. He claims the statute is constitutionally defective 
    because it is vague (what is a hostile intrusion). He also argues that, 
    looked at facially (not as applied to him), it is overbroad. We conclude 
    that the statute passes constitutional muster. It is neither vague nor 
    overbroad as applied here or facially. We therefore affirm Mr. Glas's 
    conviction for violation of Washington's voyeurism statute.
    Sean T. Glas took photographs under the skirts of two women. Both were 
    employees at the Valley Mall in Union Gap. The State charged him with two 
    counts of voyeurism. The pertinent statute defines voyeurism as taking 
    photographs for the sexual gratification of any person in a place where the 
    subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy and without the subject's 
    consent. RCW 9A.44.115(2). Mr. Glas argued that the women had no reasonable 
    expectation of privacy in a public mall, and there was no evidence he was 
    sexually aroused or gratified by his conduct. He moved to dismiss the 
    prosecution. The court denied his motion.
    After a bench trial, the court found that Mr. Glas took photographs up each 
    woman's skirt without her consent or knowledge. Each woman had "a 
    reasonable expectation of privacy while at her workplace to be free from 
    non-consensual photographing up underneath her skirt." Clerk's Papers (CP) 
    at 47, 48. The court found the photographs were hostile intrusions that 
    violated the privacy interest and expectation of the women and that the 
    pictures were taken to arouse or gratify sexual desire on an internet web 
    Mr. Glas was convicted of two counts of voyeurism. He appealed. Our 
    commissioner refused to affirm on the merits based on the absence of prior 
    judicial interpretation of the voyeurism statute and Mr. Glas's 
    constitutional challenge.
    The Statute A person commits the crime of voyeurism if, for the purpose of 
    arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, he or she knowingly 
    views, photographs, or films another person, without that person's 
    knowledge and consent, while the person being viewed, photographed, or 
    filmed is in a place where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of 
    Up-skirt video voyeurism is apparently a thriving internet business, with 
    about a hundred web sites devoted to up-skirt and other candid body shots 
    of unsuspecting female victims in public places. Professionals employed by 
    these sites and amateur contributors are part of a cottage industry of 
    stalking and secretly filming victims and disseminating the images on the 
    internet. David D. Kremenetsky, Insatiable "Up-Skirt" Voyeurs Force 
    California Lawmakers to Expand Privacy Protection in Public Places, 31 
    McGeorge L. Rev. 285, 287 (2000).
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    To subscribe, visit http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 23:02:41 PDT