As the advances in technology continue to outpace those in the law, state legislators, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges are left to sort out the best way to apply existing law to issues raised by new technology.
This is certainly true in cases of sexting, where sexually explicit photographs or videos are sent via text message to others' cell phones.
The problem with sending this type of material over cell phones is that an image or video can be difficult to contain after it has been sent. Once one person receives it, he or she is free to forward the material to others. The images can be download to home computers and sent over email or posted on Internet sites, like MySpace and Facebook. Even if a teenager intended to send a sexually suggestive picture only to her boyfriend, it could quickly be disseminated to half of the school or thousands more, with a click of a mouse.
To make matters worse, once these images get out, there may be no way to destroy them. Even simply erasing the photos from a cell phone or computer does not guarantee the images are gone forever.
Currently, there are no laws in Massachusetts explicitly punishing sexting. If the sexually explicit material that is sent via text message is of a child under 18 years old, the behavior may be prosecuted under the state's child pornography laws.
Read more about the Legal Ramifications of Sexting from David Yannetti's website.