In the latest response to an ongoing revenge porn scandal, the US Navy has changes its regulations to specifically prohibit the distribution of nude images without consent. The change comes following a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting in March that revealed that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) had begun to examine a secret Facebook group called Marines United that hundreds of Marines are alleged to have used to distribute and solicit naked images of servicewomen.
The Department of the Navy has implemented an interim change by adding a new article that will be included in the next physical edition of the Navy’s regulations. The new article specifically bans the “nonconsensual distribution or broadcasting of an image”:
(1) The wrongful distribution or broadcasting of an intimate image is prohibited. (2) The distribution or broadcasting is wrongful if the person making the distribution or broadcast does so without legal justification or excuse, knows or reasonably should know that the depicted person did not consent to the disclosure, and the intimate image is distributed or broadcast:
(a) With the intent to realize personal gain;
(b) With the intent to humiliate, harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person; or
(c) With reckless disregard as to whether the depicted person would be humiliated, harmed, intimidated, threatened, or coerced.
The article goes on to state that an intimate image is one that includes a person “who is identifiable from the depiction itself or from information conveyed in connection with the depiction,” that “depicts that person engaging in sexually explicit conduct or depicts the private area of that person,” and that any such image had been taken with a “reasonable explanation of privacy.”
Shortly after the scandal broke, Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller issued a video message that condemned the actions of the Marines at the center of the incident, while the Corps issued an ‘All Marines’ message (ALMAR) saying that such conduct was unacceptable. While the distribution of such images had been against regulations, this new article article specifically makes it an offense. Earlier this month, the The Marine Corps Times reported that 15 service members are alleged to have broken the law, while another 29 face disciplinary charges for their online activity.