"If it can be proved they had knowledge that the person was
sensitive and showing his activities to others could lead to
extreme behaviour, like suicide, it would be possible to run
a charge of manslaughter," she said.
University of Florida professor of law Jon Mills said it was
easy to intrude and those intrusions were going to occur.
"We have to both realise that and we have to learn to punish,
In Florida, someone who used a camera to violate a person's
privacy can be charged with video voyeurism, a misdemeanour
that carries a sentence of up to a year in jail.
If convicted of the crime more than once, the penalty jumps
to third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in
In the Rutgers case, the students have been charged with
violation of privacy, which carries up to a five-year prison
Prosecutors are reviewing what other laws, including hate
crime, might apply to the case.
Victims in the US can opt to sue in a civil court to impose
financial punishment on those involved, winning damages
because of an invasion of privacy, public disclosure of
private facts or causing distress.
But a civil suit cannot stop images from being shared over
and over again online.
Prof Mills told the Orlando Sentinel that once those images
were posted online, they got copied so many times.
"It's virtually impossible to get them all."
Ms Peart said technology made distribution easy and people
needed to protect themselves by always being mindful that web
cameras, cell phones and other handheld devices could record
you anywhere or any time.
Tips to avoid being a recorded target
Cyber-safety experts say there are steps you can take to
protect yourself, including:
• Treat your cellphone and laptop like your cash card - keep
them on you and in your sights at all times.
• Assume anyone holding a cellphone or other hand-held
devices with photo capabilities may be taking your picture.
• Don't do anything in range of that camera that you don't
want the world to see.
• Point web cameras up toward ceiling when not in use or
close laptops with cameras.
• A camera on a laptop can be in use even if screen appears
• Periodically use Google to search your name, your screen
name or any other identifying information to ensure your
image or information isn't being shared.
• The quicker you respond, the better chances you have that
the images have not been copied.
- Source: Phil Lieberman, president of Lieberman Software;
Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org