Personal privacy is now being taken seriously

In these very sad cases of malicious sharing of embarrassing images and video. In Canada, Rehtaeh’s law is being proposed and now in Israel revenge porn is punishable with 5 years imprisonment, “putting an end to virtual rape, in which someone is turned into a porn star against their will”.

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This is a long time coming, and I would have expected that criminal law would have been able to prosecute abusers of privacy under existing criminal law, it seems not, as many victims have found out, even when they have had the courage to come forward, law enforcement have been unable or unwilling to help.

The damage is 2 fold, there is the initial shock and repercussions that the disclosure has, which may be followed by internet trolls picking up on the vulnerability which leads to the disclosure going viral. The second effect might not be realized for years, when the victim is being screened for a job opportunity, with human resource departments simply doing a google search on the victim’s name. This damning “digital dirt” is removable or easily negated with a little technical knowledge, but victims are usually too embarrassed to speak to anyone to ask for the help it requires, unnecessarily suffering in silence worried their employment opportunities are being harmed.

While I don’t believe that these legislative changes would directly help the cases I mentioned here where 8 boys in the UK have taken their own lives, as the motive of the abuse (threats to disclose embarrassing images) is financial not malicious, it will serve to educate potential victims of the vulnerability they create by allowing the imagery to be taken in the first place.

The intention of the abuser is the same as any other cowardly bully, and it’s only right that criminal law should be used against it, don’t suffer in silence, report it and ask for help.

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