Debate continues over snapping "stranger photos"

There are currently no laws in Missouri prohibiting citizens from taking non-sexual photographs of each other without knowledge or consent.

In the wake of a new Massachusetts law which makes it illegal to take sexually inappropriate pictures of men, women or children, Jefferson City residents had varying opinions on the appropriateness of taking non-sexual cell phone pictures of strangers.

"It is kind of interesting that someone could pretty much just take a picture without your noticing," said Jefferson City resident Will Hylton. "There should be more laws on what kinds of pictures you can take."

There are no laws that prohibit people from taking pictures of strangers in public. However, Missouri does have an invasion of privacy statute that makes it illegal to take the same types of "upskirt" photos now prohibited by law in Massachusetts.

In Missouri, photographing someone nude or partly nude without their consent can result in criminal charges up to a class-d felony.

Sgt. Doug Ruediger of the Jefferson City Police said that although such incidents are uncommon within the city limits, his department has dealt with crimes of that nature, particularly in dressing rooms in big-box department stores.

"If you suspect someone has taken an inappropriate photograph of you without your consent, call us immediately," Ruediger said. "If they're driving a car, get their license plate number. Try to get the best physical description you can."