Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/27/1995 01:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HJUD - 02/27/95                                                               
 HB 188 - INDECENT PHOTOGRAPHY                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, Sponsor of HB 188 read the following             
 sponsor statement:                                                            
 "HB 188 establishes the crime of indecent viewing and photography             
 for anyone viewing, making a picture or video taping an                       
 individual's nakedness without their knowledge or consent.  I                 
 introduced the bill in response to an incident that occurred                  
 recently in one of my schools which revealed a major loophole in              
 the state's invasion of privacy laws.  The incident was the                   
 inadvertent discovery by students of a hidden video surveillance              
 system in the girls' locker room.                                             
 "Following the discovery, the initial reaction of dismay rapidly              
 changed to strong feelings of anger, betrayal, and embarrassment              
 throughout the community.  In all small communities, the school               
 gymnasium and shower facilities are used by practically everyone in           
 town.  They are also used by many visitors from neighboring                   
 communities that come to participate in local events.  So the                 
 hidden recording system had potential implications for a whole lot            
 of people in the region, both students and adults.                            
 "Equally distressing was the revelation that neither the state's              
 invasion of privacy laws nor the child pornography laws applied to            
 the situation.  Unauthorized, hidden photographic surveillance by             
 itself is not prohibited, even if the unsuspecting person is naked.           
 There is no foundation then to the public's expectation and trust             
 that privacy exists and is protected especially in places like                
 lavatories, bathrooms, and dressing rooms.                                    
 "I introduced HB 188 to close this loophole in our privacy laws so            
 that there is a deterrent to the commission of indecent viewing and           
 photographing in the future."                                                 
 Number 105                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY had questions about security surveillance.            
 It is addressed on page 2, subsection (d).  He asked if you were              
 doing a security surveillance, and you went back to look at the               
 video tapes to find out who the person is, how are you going to               
 know what sex the person is, if you do not know who the person is?            
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE explained there are instances where there are           
 security surveillance systems that protect buildings.  If they are            
 properly posted, and it is within the realm of security                       
 surveillance, if an individual went up and bared themself in front            
 of a security surveillance camera, whoever is viewing that camera             
 cannot be charged with an offense.  It is actually protecting those           
 that have legitimate security systems in their homes or public                
 facilities.  It is an affirmative defense for the owners of those             
 security systems so they cannot be charged under this law.  That is           
 the reason that needed to be in there.                                        
 Number 145                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the biggest thing that concerns him is              
 that it exempts persons in security surveillance only if they are             
 the same sex as the person being viewed.  That appears to be quite            
 a burden to place on the person with the security system, and their           
 employees.  In respect for property owners' rights, why should we             
 require that a legitimate enterprise post that they are doing                 
 security surveillance?  If something happened to the posted notice,           
 would the people doing the surveillance be convicted of a felony?             
 Signs get ripped down and vandalized.                                         
 Number 175                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said people just need to make reasonable                
 attempts to make sure the signs are posted.  For example, if a                
 school decides to have security surveillance cameras in a locker              
 room because the locker rooms keep being vandalized, as long as it            
 is a member of the same sex who is just viewing the room, that                
 should be allowed for security reasons.                                       
 Number 200                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY thought they should put a period right after             
 the word "system" and not worry about the "ifs," "ands" or "buts."            
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE did not want to disallow the affirmative                
 defense.  The whole purpose of this bill is to say that if you have           
 a reasonable expectation to the right to privacy, then you should             
 be afforded that right.  If it is posted that there is security               
 surveillance, it is probably not going to be somewhere where you              
 are taking a shower and certainly not being monitored by a person             
 of the opposite sex.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said they would hold the bill, while a committee              
 substitute was drafted with a little different language                       
 incorporating these concerns.                                                 
 Number 300                                                                    
 MORRIS VERVERS, Superintendent, Klawock School District, testified            
 via teleconference.  He described the events that happened in their           
 school.  A student spotted a hidden camera in the girls locker room           
 which led to a series of video equipment systems in the attic,                
 including the capacity for videotaping and viewing from several               
 different angles in the girls locker room.  The police and state              
 troopers investigated the situation.  This was psychologically                
 traumatic to the students and staff, who were offered counseling.             
 At that time they were not aware this incident was not a violation            
 of law.  Had they known at the time this deed was not in violation            
 of the law, the trauma would have been much greater.  The only                
 thing this individual can be charged with is misuse of equipment              
 and possible damage to the locker room, but nothing regarding                 
 invasion of privacy.  He wanted to see a bill passed that would               
 protect students from this kind of thing happening.  He agreed the            
 language on posting a notice was a bit complicated, and was in                
 support of cleaning that up a little.                                         
 Number 370                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if anyone had looked into what civil               
 recourse was available.                                                       
 MR. VERVERS replied there had been no stone unturned in the                   
 Attorney General's Office, including the possibility of someone               
 suing the school for violation of privacy.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if any individuals involved had looked             
 into recourse in the civil courts for personal violations of their            
 civil rights.                                                                 
 MR. VERVERS thought some groups have looked into it, but he was not           
 aware of any of them pursuing it to the point where it could be               
 determined whether they have a legitimate case.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE made it known to the committee the individual           
 has been charged with criminal mischief for drilling holes in the             
 ceiling of the school, and misusing some of the school's video                
 equipment.  That was the most they could do.  He urged the                    
 committee to further look into this matter, and form the language             
 to close up this loophole.                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted it has been suggested on page 2, line 11, the           
 definition of "picture" include, after the word "electronic" on               
 line 12, "magnetic" so as to include video taping in this category.           
 He wanted to delete everything in the section on page 2, line 14,             
 after the word "that", and add "Private exposure means that a                 
 person is exposed in a place or under circumstances that the person           
 would reasonably believe they were not being viewed and would not             
 be produced in a picture.  He suggested they put these three                  
 considerations into a committee substitute.  He then closed the               
 discussion on HB 188.                                                         

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