October 20, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Signs Online Safety Package Legislation

Governor Hochul Signs Online Safety Package Legislation

Legislation (S.623/A.2206) Establishes a Task Force to Explore the Effects of Cyber-Bullying in New York State and Potential Measures to Address Such Effects

Legislation (S.2986A/A.324) Expands the Definition of the Offense of Coercion in the Second Degree to Include the Production or Dissemination of IntimateImages

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a package of legislation relating to online safety. Legislation (S.623/A.2206) establishes a task force to explore the effects of cyber-bullying in New York State and potential measures to address such effects. Legislation (S.2986A/A.324) expands the definition of the offense of coercion in the second degree to include the production or dissemination of nude images.

"There's nothing more important than keeping our communities safe, and as technology advances, it is crucial that New York has strong laws to protect New Yorkers from online harassment," Governor Hochul said. "I am proud to sign these bills into law so that New Yorkers can rest assured that they can spend time online in a safer, healthier environment."

Legislation S.623/A.2206 creates a task force to explore and address the impacts of cyber-bullying. The task force will determine the prevalence of cyber-bullying, make recommendations on how to prevent it, and identify the ways in which the state can be a resource in assisting adults and children who are victims of such bullying, including children who experience bullying outside of a school setting.

Legislation S.2986A/A.324 expands the definition of coercion to include the production and distribution of intimate images. This amendment will hold individuals who coerce another person into producing or distributing intimate images under threat of physical or emotional harm accountable under the law.

Senator Samra Brouk said, "Abusers must be held accountable, and as technology evolves so too must our laws. In signing this legislation, Governor Hochul is helping us keep our Internet safe and free from coercion for all users, especially for vulnerable members of our community like minors."

Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "Cyberbullying is a serious issue across our State — and we need a plan to stop it. Thanks to Governor Hochul for signing my bill which will not only create a task force to study this menace to our teens, but will also help foster solutions to help end this crisis, which has plagued far too many individuals of all ages across Long Island and the State as a whole."

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, "Cyberbullying knows no geographic, ethnic, racial, religious, social or political boundaries, and the destructive impact it has had on young people alarmingly increased during the pandemic as everyone spent more time online. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this bill, particularly during National Bullying Prevention Month, so we can start reversing this devastating trend with support and increased awareness."

Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski said, ""Sextortion is a deeply disturbing crime where an individual, through coercive action, manipulates another into creating intimate images that are often used to further this criminal activity. Due to the lack of clarity in the penal law, these types of crimes are often not prosecuted; leaving little deterrent for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. This legislation closes that loophole by explicitly stating that the coercion law includes the production or dissemination intimate images. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this meaningful legislation into law."

Jennifer Becker, Deputy Legal Director and Senior Attorney for Legal Momentum said, "Sexual extortion and coercion is a growing form of abuse, proliferating with the accessibility and growth of technology and social media. Criminalizing coerced and extorted sexually explicit images is another leading step forward by New York State and we hope other states will follow this model. Many of the victims of sextortion—disproportionately young women—are targeted online and coerced into creating and sending sexual images, which can be the start of a long, harmful cycle of abuse. New Yorkers have a tool to hold offenders accountable thanks to Governor Hochul and the efforts of Senator Brouk and AssemblymemberZebrowski."

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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