German parliament makes upskirting a punishable crime

he German Bundestag (lower house of parliament) passed a law on Friday that increases the legal penalties for upskirting (secretly photographing under a person’s clothes without consent) and for photographing or filming accident victims.

Under the new law, which was already announced last year, violators would face a fine or prison sentence of up to two years for taking illicit photographs or making or transmitting pictures or recordings “that show a deceased person in a grossly offensive manner without authorization.”

Until now, photographing deceased people was not punishable in Germany. Relatives needed to be spared the “additional suffering” that pictures of their deceased parents or children would cause, German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said.

“Photographing injured accident victims or even dead people out of sheer sensationalism is disgusting and violates the basic rules of human decency,” Lambrecht said.

The new law would also provide that “the production and transmission” of pictures showing genitals, buttocks, female breasts or underwear would be punishable by law if those parts were protected from sight by, for example, clothing or a towel.

“To photograph a woman under her skirt or into her cleavage is a humiliating, unjustifiable violation of her privacy,” Lambrecht stressed.

Before the law was passed, victims in Germany could only defend themselves against secret photographs under civil law but not criminal law.