Georgia lawmakers file bill to make 'upskirting' illegal

- A handful of state lawmakers pre-filed a bill to make "upskirting," or taking photos or video underneath a woman's skirt illegal.

Justices with Georgia's Appellate Court ruled in July that the state's privacy law did not encompass "upskirting."  The court overturned the conviction of Brandon Lee Gary, who according to prosecutors, admitted to taking video of a young woman in a Houston County Publix.

"Most of us thought the existing statute covered this kind of criminal behavior, but essentially what we found is that the appellate court did have some technical issues with the way the statute was written," said Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R- Bonaire.

Blackmon is the primary sponsor of House Bill 9, which would clear up any ambiguity in the law.

"It shall be unlawful for any individual to knowingly and without consent of the person observed, use or install a device for the purpose of surreptitiously videotaping, filming, photographing, or video recording such person under or through such person's clothing," the bill reads.

The bill does not prevent law enforcement from using recording devices in the course of an investigation nor retail shops from using surveillance when signs are clearly posted notifying customers about the cameras.

Rep. Blackmon knows the family of the victim in the Gary case and while his legislation will not change the outcome of that situation, he said it will help prevent other families from going through the same situation.

"I know that they understand that this particular case is done and past, but I think from talking to them that they do feel good about the fact that moving forward these kind of things will not go unpunished," said Blackmon.

If the bill passes, someone convicted of violating the law would face anywhere from one to five years in jail and up to a $100,000 fine.  

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