NJ lawmaker moves to curb ‘electronic Peeping Toms’

Hoping to curb an increasingly common invasion of privacy, New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer is taking aim at “electronic Peeping Toms” who secretly film beneath women’s clothing.Dancer, R-Ocean, said “upskirting” is occurring more often because of the prevalence of smartphones with built-in cameras.

“What we have today are these, what I would term, electronic Peeping Toms that are really predators,” he said Thursday. “And I think the law needs to be clear that this is a crime, and it’s an invasion of a woman’s privacy.”

But Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll expressed concerns about the standard of proof.

“What always comes to my mind when I hear one of these ‘upskirting’ bills is the famous Marilyn picture where her undergarments were blown up by the subway allegedly,” said Carroll, R-Morris. “Assume that happens on the streets today and someone happens to have a camera out or just takes advantage of it. Does that become a crime?”

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The Assembly Judiciary Committee agreed with Dancer, advancing his bill that makes “upskirting” and posting the video or photos online punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Saying that it’s troubling that offenders put those recordings on the Internet, Dancer said he believes tough penalties would be a deterrent.

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