- Cyber-flashing’, ‘deepfake’ and revenge porn among issues to be examined
- a public consultation will be launched to help assess whether the law needs to change
Laws around the making and sharing of non-consensual intimate images are to be reviewed under plans to ensure protections keep pace with emerging technology.
Justice Minister Paul Maynard and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright have asked the Law Commission to examine whether current legislation is fit to tackle new and evolving types of abusive and offensive communications, including image-based abuse, amid concerns it has become easier to create and distribute sexual images of people online without their permission.
The review, which will be launched shortly, will consider a range of disturbing digital trends such as ‘cyber-flashing’ – when people receive unsolicited sexual images of someone over the phone – and ‘deepfake’ pornography – the degrading practice of superimposing an individual’s face onto pornographic photos or videos without consent.
The move builds on government action in recent years to better protect victims and bring more offenders to justice, including making ‘upskirting’ and ‘revenge porn’ specific criminal offences.
The review will also consider the case for granting automatic anonymity to revenge porn victims, so they cannot be named publicly, as is the case for victims of sexual offences.
Justice Minister Paul Maynard said:
No one should have to suffer the immense distress of having intimate images taken or shared without consent.
We are acting to make sure our laws keep pace with emerging technology and trends in these disturbing and humiliating crimes.
This review will build on our recent work to make ‘upskirting’ and revenge porn illegal to protect victims and ensure perpetrators feel the full weight of the law.