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Texas outlaws sending unsolicited d**k pics

Sending sexually-explicit images without prior consent could land you a $500 fine from Saturday (7 September).

By Will Stroude

As anyone who’s opened a dating app can surely attest, finding a d**k pic from a stranger in your inbox is no rare thing.

But now lawmakers in Texas are cracking down on the practice of sending of unsolicited nude images on social media with new legislation that could have a profound effect on how people navigate the digital world.

Following lobbying from Texas-based dating app Bumble, which also owns British gay dating app Chappy, state-lawmakers have banned so-called ‘cyber-flashing’, making the sending of sexually explicit images without consent a Class C misdemeaour punishable with up to a $500 fine, Fox4News reports.

“[Bumble] had a number of people who were using the app complaining about the sending of these images and they quickly realised there was no recourse,” said Morgan Meyer, a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives.

“There was nothing that could be done. It wasn’t a criminal offense – although it was definitely digital sexual harassment.”

The new law, which is set to take effect from Saturday (7 September) comes after gay hook-up app Grindr recently introduced a feature allowing users to make clear on their profile whether they want to recieve nude images from other users.

While many will be celebrating an end to streams of unsolicited nudes, the Texas legilsation has faced criticism for being difficult to enforce and for being overly-vague in its wording, raising concerns about internet censorship.

Austin-based attorney J.T. Morris said: “It reaches things that arguably could cover images related to medical advice or moms sharing information about breastfeeding or their babies’ health – things like that which certainly can’t be criminalised.”

Whether other US states or countries around the world follow Texas’s lead remains to be seen, but Bumble has insisted it will continue to campaign for similar legislation elsewhere.