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Bedroom bill given Congress

July 1, 1993

Bedroom bill given Congress

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

Congress will consider a bill to outlaw hidden cameras in bedrooms, bathrooms and other private places. It also would restrict pornographic websites to a red-light district online.

Reuters reports television star Angie Harmon has joined forces with activist Susan Wilson and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., to present a bill that would make it a crime to film a person for a “lewd or lascivious purpose” without that person’s consent. The bill would impose a penalty of up to three years in jail, or 10 years if the person filmed was under 18.

The measure would not apply to security cameras in private places, such as department store dressing rooms, nor would it create any penalties for those filming in public places.

Landrieu said she drafted the bill after hearing from Wilson that she found hidden video cameras above her bed and in her shower almost four years ago.

Wilson was surprised to find she could not prosecute the voyeur who installed the cameras because secret video taping is illegal in only a handful of states.

Harmon is best known for her role on television’s Law and Order program. She played the part of Wilson in a TV movie made for Lifetime network.

Privacy expert David Sobel said the proposed law would furnish a needed update to existing statutes, but he said it should be broadened to cover potential abuses by government or private surveillance systems.

Web sites containing pornography, hate speech or other material potentially damaging to minors, would be required to use an Internet domain designation such as ‘prn.’ That might pose some legal problems because the courts have struck down other attempts to regulate online content on First Amendment grounds.

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