(Received 8 October 1996; accepted 24 January 1997)
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Video voyeurs employ state of the art technology to gain access into the most private places where victims are covertly videotaped. Women are the usual victims of video voyeurs as they change their clothes, perform natural functions or engage in sexual activities. When the videotaping is discovered by the victim, serious psychological harm may result.
A civil suit is the most common legal remedy sought. Criminal sanctions, when available, are often insufficient compared to the seriousness of the crime. While unauthorized, covert audiotaping is forbidden by both federal and state codes, videotaping is often not specifically mentioned. It appears that legislators do not fully appreciate the burgeoning of covert videotaping, the technological advances that have greatly expanded the possibilities for voyeuristic viewing and the harm done to victims of video voyeurs. Appropriate criminal sanctions need to be included in privacy statutes for unauthorized, video surveillance with or without accompanying audio transcription.
Clinical professor of Psychiatry, Director, Program in Psychiatry and Law, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
Stock #: JFS14224J