One of the gray areas in the age of social media is what constitutes "possession" of child pornography. In many states, the answer is yes. If the picture makes its way around other social circles through online or direct sharing, anyone who received or distributed the photo could also find themselves open to charges. The explosion of social media networks and the rise of the camera phone have created endless opportunities for anyone to share their self-portraits with the world. Do so early as a lawyer may be able to help you head off a criminal prosecution. Given the uncharted world of social media and the broad reach of many child pornography laws, you or someone you know could face criminal charges for seemingly innocent conduct.
Child Pornography and Selfies:
The shortcomings of these statutes were exemplified by a pair of high court decisions from Oregon and New York:. Since merely viewing child pornography is illegal in many states, browsing a website or knowingly receiving illegal images would be criminal activity in those jurisdictions. Federal charges need not be exclusive; an individual may face criminal liability under both U. Since technology moves much faster than legislation, crimes committed via social media are often prosecuted by applying existing statutes. This emerging technology is a natural fit for most teens and, generally, the worst offense they might commit is sharing too frequently. There is also a potential for criminal liability under child pornography laws when selfies involve underage nudity or sexual situations.