Justice

After Court Ruled Upskirt Photos Are Legal, Massachusetts Passes Ban At Breakneck Speed

CREDIT: AP

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo

The highest court in Massachusetts ruled Wednesday that it is legal to secretly take photos up a woman’s skirt, highlighting the flaws in current state laws meant to protect women. Within 36 hours of the ruling, Massachusetts lawmakers had crafted a bill, passed it, and sent it to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The upskirt ban specifically makes photographing or recording video under a person’s clothing punishable as a misdemeanor. So-called Peeping Tom laws have been slow to catch up with technology; Massachusetts’ current law only criminalizes taking photos or video of people if they are undressed or partly undressed in a place where they could reasonably expect privacy, such as a dressing room or bathroom. Upskirters often take advantage of busy public arenas, like subways, to snap photos surreptitiously.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D) called upskirting a “predatory practice” in a statement after the vote. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has said he will sign the bill Friday.