Women and girls travelling by train are going to have to be extra vigilant and keep an eye out for creeps trying to take pictures of them from below the hemline. Because, even if they were to catch the person trying to take the pictures, there isn’t very much they can do about it – at least, not legally.
That’s right; according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s recent ruling there is no crime in taking pictures up a woman’s skirt while she is travelling on public transport. This is because the laws currently in place only apply to punishing people for taking pictures of people who are in the nude, or are partially nude, and in private.
Now, although one Michael Robertson had admitted to taking “upskirt” photos of women travelling on Boston’s Green Line trains, no criminal charges could be brought against him, according to the courts, because of the current laws being out of date.
“We conclude that the law, as written, as the defendant suggests, is concerned with proscribing Peeping Tom voyeurism of people who are completely or partially undressed and, in particular, such voyeurism is enhanced by electronic devices,” the decision read.
It went on to imply that the law “doesn’t apply to photographing (or videotaping, or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA.”
But, the court did admit to one thing: that the law which was intended to protect women in public needed to be updated.
It stated that “at the core of the Commonwealth’s argument to the contrary is the proposition that a woman, and in particular a woman riding on a public trolley, has a reasonable expectation of privacy in not having a stranger secretly take photographs up her skirt.”
“The proposition is eminently reasonable, but (the law) in its current form does not address it,” the decision concluded.