College libraries should be safe spaces for studying, freaking out, napping, and checking email; what they should not be, however, is a place where you have to worry that someone’s taking amateur dirty pictures up your skirt.
But that’s just what happened this week at Towson University’s Cook Library where, according to the Towson University Police’s crime report, “A female student reported that while on the fifth floor of the Cook Library on Oct. 9 at 1:45 p.m., an unknown male took pictures of her from underneath a desk.”
It’s called upskirting, and it’s part of the icky underbelly of the Internet age, thanks to the ubiquity of camera phones and amateur porn sites. It’s gotten to be such a problem in Japan that cell phone cameras must make a sound when a photo is taken, so innocent bystanders in cute sundresses don’t find shots of their underwear ending up online.
There are laws against this sort of thing — the 2004 Video Voyeurism Prevention Act enables persecution of people who intentionally photograph or film an individual’s “private areas” without consent, in a place where the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Like, say, THE LIBRARY.
Cameras might turn out to be the guy’s downfall, in this case — Towson’s security cameras got him on film, and they’ve released surveillance photos.