Patrick Signs Bill: ‘Upskirting’ Now Illegal

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 Updated March 7, 2014, 11:30 am

Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday signed a bill rushed to his desk outlawing people from secretly photographing up a woman’s skirt or other similarly invasive acts.

The act “modernizes the Commonwealth’s criminal voyeurism laws to outlaw what is known as ‘upskirting’,” Patrick spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said in an emailed statement.

There was a brief window — from Wednesday morning until Friday morning — when such activity was deemed not specifically against the law by the Supreme Judicial Court. The Legislature quickly fixed the loophole highlighted by the court, enacting a bill Thursday that attaches jail and prison time, depending on whether it was committed against a child.

Asked on his way into a Cabinet meeting Friday if he was surprised how fast the bill was passed, Patrick said, “It shows they can do it when they want to.”

The law goes into effect immediately.

With reporting by State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom