CHICAGO — Perverts beware: Ald. Raymond Lopez wants to make unsolicited Airdropping a picture of your “junk” to a stranger a crime that carries up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
On Tuesday, Lopez (15th) convinced a City Council committee to forward an ordinance cracking down on so-called “Cyber Flashing,” a lewd trend in unsolicited instant messaging that involves using data-dropping technology to send dirty pictures to strangers.
“We’re going to address this in Chicago because the last thing we want to see is people going about their daily life seeing someone else’s junk flash before their eyes for an unsolicited reason,” Lopez said.
A cyber flasher typically strikes by sharing a pornographic pictures with people nearby who have the privacy setting on an iPhone’s Airdrop set to receive messages from “Everyone.” Without giving the recipient a choice, a preview of the dirty picture pops up on the screen.
Texas lawmakers teamed up with the Bumble dating app to outlaw cyber flashing last year.
“It’s a problem that’s growing more and more. And we’ve seen it more in Europe, where entire countries are passing laws,” Lopez said. “This is about changing behavior more than trying to make money on fines. When people send these pictures they don’t know if they’re going to minors. How many times a day do you see youth glued to phone. If Johnny Q. Pervert can send an unsolicited dirty picture to them that’s something we need to be aware of and address.”
At Tuesday’s hearing, Lopez made his point by Airdropping a G-rated photo of Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman and Ald. Nick Sposato sitting next to each other to every iPhone he could.
“Even people in the next room got the picture who weren’t in the hearing,” Lopez said. “That just shows you how easy it is to send something even more explicit than a picture of Fran and Nick to people. We want people to be aware of what they can do to protect themselves.”
The easiest fix to avoid being a victim of cyber flashing is adjust the privacy settings on data-dropping applications to prohibit people you don’t know from sending unsolicited pictures.
The full City Council is set to vote on the ordinance next week.