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Friday, April 16, 2010

Sexting now considered a Crime against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order in MA.

On April 12, 2010 the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT RELATIVE TO ASSAULT AND BATTERY BY MEANS OF A BODILY SUBSTANCE UPON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY EMPLOYEES AND EXPANDING THE PROHIBITION ON THE DISSEMINATION OF OBSCENITY.

The second portion of the Act has to do with amending the Commonwealth's laws against distributing obscenity to close a gap in the law.

The previous statue defined "matter" as

"any handwritten or printed material, visual representation, live performance or sound recording including but not limited to, books, magazines, motion picture films, pamphlets, phonographic records, pictures, photographs, figures, statues, plays, dances."

The new law expands this definition by adding:

"or any electronic communication including, but not limited to, electronic mail, instant messages, text messages, and any other communication created by means of use of the Internet or wireless network, whether by computer, telephone, or any other device or by any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system."

In addition, the definition of “visual material” is amended, by inserting after the word “computer”, the following words: ", telephone or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission."

These changes will expand charges for distribution of obscene material to include sexting, and other cell phone related distribution.

This is just one more reason to be careful and think twice about what you e-mail, text, or otherwise send electronically. For more information about why you should be careful about texting see our previous post: What you text can and will be used against you!

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