Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Chicago Alderman: City Needs Ban on "Upskirting"

Those caught "upskirting" would face a fine of $500

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A Chicago alderman says the city needs a specific ban on so-called "upskirt" photos because "there are a lot of weirdos roaming around" and because a state law on videotaping without permission may leave a legal loophole.

But another city councilman says the $500 fine in the proposed ordinance is not enough to deter offenders, contending they can make much more money by selling such images online, the Chicago Sun-Times (http://bit.ly/1jgE6yz ) reported.

The measure cleared the City Council's Finance Committee Friday. It would ban recording or taking pictures under or through a person's clothing without consent. Its sponsors say they were spurred to act by confusion over peeping Tom laws in Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court ruled a man who took pictures up women's skirts didn't violate the law.

"If it's happening in Boston, you can bet your boots it's happening in Chicago," said Alderman Edward Burke, who introduced the measure last month along with Alderman Latasha Thomas. "There are a lot of weirdos roaming around."

Illinois has a state law on the books that addresses videotaping without permission, but the city ordinance would include a specific mention of "upskirting."

Chicago Police Sgt. John Nowakowski told the committee Friday that specific language would make it easier for authorities to charge offenders.

"We've had investigations regarding this, and it makes it very difficult because there's no specific thing about what the person is doing," he said.

Alderman Bob Fioretti said he doubts the proposed fine would do much to stop the practice.

"You can sell this stuff online, make thousands of dollars within moments and then pay a $500 fine? There's no imprisonment," Fioretti said.

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