19 Nov 2009

American Samoa anti-voyeurism bill vetoed

7:22 pm on 19 November 2009

Governor Togiola Tulafono has vetoed a bill that would have made voyeurism a crime in American Samoa.

The bill had been approved in the second regular session of the Fono and was supported by government officials including assistant attorney general Lisa Teesch Macguire and Director of the Criminal Justice and Planning Agency Alalamua Filoialii.

The intent of the bill was to prohibit photographing, or videotaping of persons in intimate positions without their knowledge and the distribution of such recordings.

The governor says he agrees with the general intent of the law but says it could make sexual offenders out of innocent citizens and likely subject the law to legal challenge.

Governor Togiola says this could affect parents who photograph their infant children while bathing and those who videotape their fully clothed friends as a party or wedding which is not otherwise viewable to the public without obtaining their consent.