The golden age of personal technology has given rise to many a scourge, including the upsetting trend of people AirDropping unsolicited dick pics to strangers. Thankfully, three New York City councilmen introduced a bill on Wednesday that would criminalize digitally whisking your dick photos to anyone who doesn’t want to see them, which is probably everybody.
Councilmen Joseph Borelli, Donovan Richards, and Justin Brannan are co-sponsoring the bill, which would make it illegal “for a person to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy or alarm such other person,” according to the proposed legislation. Those found guilty of so-called cyberflashing would face up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000 if the bill becomes law.
“In the old days, you had to have a long trench coat and good running shoes,” said Councilman Borelli told the New York Times. “Technology has made it significantly easier to be a creep.”
“Keep your pic in your pants,” Richards also told the Times in a deft example of how to promote your legislation.
With your AirDrop set to allow images from “Everyone,” any iPhone user within a close range can drop you a nude—a problem that’s been happening to women for years. In August, the New York Post reported that residents in a Midtown Manhattan apartment building were being “terrorized” by a doorman sending unsolicited dick pics. Because doing so isn’t technically a crime, this case and others inspired Borelli to introduce the bill, a spokesman for the councilman told Gizmodo in an email.
It’s already illegal in New York for someone to harass or threaten someone by telephone, telegraph, mail, or “any other form of written communication.” This bill would catch the law up to basic tech misbehavior by criminalizing the act of sending “intimate images” using “an electronic device,” such as a cellphone “or any other electronic communication device, including devices capable of sending text messages or e-mails.”
You can prevent people from sending you any type of unsolicited AirDrop by making sure your settings are switched to “Contacts Only” or by turning off AirDrop altogether. Unfortunately, if you do have AirDrop turned on for “Everyone” and you get a wretched pic, it can be exceedingly difficult to identify the AirDrop perpetrator. Images can be sent expeditiously and anonymously, and while that person does need to be within around 30 feet of their target, in places like a crowded subway, it’s easy to go undetected.
Still, it’s refreshing to see lawmakers taking these issues seriously and criminalizing a deeply disturbing trend made increasingly easy thanks to tech.