Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/27/1995 01:05 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.