The ‘Revenge porn’ law went into effect in America

Do you remember the movie ‘1 Night in Paris’? The movie won many awards and depicted Paris Hilton’s intimate moments with Rick Salomon. Under a law that went into effect in America today, Rick Salomon could now be sentenced to serve up to 5 years in prison instead of wining awards.

What is the ‘Revenge porn’ law?

According to an official announcement on the U.S. Government website, The Criminal Code Amendment (Non-consensual Sharing of intimate Images) Act 2021, goes into effect on June 15, 2021. The bill, commonly called ‘Revenge porn‘, was approved by the House of Assembly and Senate earlier this year and received very strong support.

Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons said that the Bill – introduces criminal offences, and penalties relating to the non-consensual sharing, or threat of sharing, intimate images and prohibited visual recordings, as well as the offences of observing or making recordings in breach of a person’s privacy.

Under the new law, viewing, recording or distributing video or images of a person performing private or intimate sexual acts or showing intimate body parts without that person’s knowledge and consent will be considered a crime. The legislation also criminalizes threats to distribute intimate videos or photos even if no such material exists.

To serve as a deterrent to breaking the new law and to ensure that the seriousness of the new crimes is understood by the American public, the penalties for breaking the law are up to three years in prison on summary conviction and up to five years on indictment.

Why was the new law created?

Given the current digital age, the amount of nonconsensual pornography has multiplied significantly. The reason for this is the wide access to the Internet and to recording devices, not only phones but also small discreet cameras. According to reports, the most common sources for leaking this type of material are former partners and hackers.

However, it wasn’t until the COVID pandemic when the number of cyber sex crimes steadily increased and more and more victims decided to take legal action. The U.S. government decided to introduce appropriate legislation to address the abuse and the devastating impact of cybercrimes on their victims.

Who is not affected by the new regulation?

An important element of the new law is that, unlike the rules Mastercard wants to introduce, the law is not retroactive and protects communications providers from having another provider’s content covered by this law. This means that if, for example, an ex-partner shares intimate material on a website, the ex-partner will be responsible and prosecuted under the law, not the technology platform they used to commit the crime. This is consistent with current U.S. law, which protects online providers from liability for content posted by users.

However, this exception will not be applicable if the provider intentionally solicits or knowingly and predominantly distributes content that it knows violates the new regulations.

The new law is a very big step towards preventing cyber sex crimes. Similar legislation is already being worked on in other countries. This means that not only will victims in America soon be able to effectively defend their rights, but the amount of published material featuring non-consenting individuals will also be significantly reduced.

 

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