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Image exploitation laws: something young people need to know

College-aged individuals on any campus -- whether at PSU or elsewhere in Pennsylvania or another state - collectively comprise an eclectic bunch. Indeed, it is the diversity and sheer dynamic linked with that demographic that makes the university environment so filled with potential and opportunities for learning.

As different as any two college students can be, they likely share one uniform characteristic, which relates closely with the technology-driven world they have grown up in.

And that is this: They are astute regarding the Internet and "apps" that enable them to do just about anything.

And, coupled with that acumen, they are for the most part enamored of what they can do with mobile applications.

Legions of young people swap data and information and upload it on various Internet platforms. Doing so is both a common and widespread form of engagement.

And it can get an individual in trouble in a hurry.

One recent media story chronicles, for example, a so-called "revenge porn" case in which a young man distributed nude photos of an ex-girlfriend that he had taken and stored on his smartphone. That story notes that such incidents are far from being rarities and that across the country to respond to them.

Young people might in select instances believe that what they are doing is not in violation of any law, and they sometimes turn out to be wrong.

And when they are, the consequences can be flatly dire. A sex-crime conviction -- even in an image exploitation case where prosecutors paint an individual's conduct as being akin to harassment or stalking -- can completely destroy your life.

Every individual accused of criminal conduct has an urgent need of knowledgeable and aggressive legal advocacy to protect his or her legal interests and to mitigate adverse consequences to the fullest extent possible.

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