4 Countries That Are Cracking Down On Revenge Porn

It's not news that revenge porn is quickly becoming a highly problematic, invasive, and disturbing practice across the Internet. With mass invasions of privacy like the intimate celebrity photo leaks that outraged the web in 2014, and less high profile cases, many international governments are moving to implement revenge porn laws to stop the practice from happening. That being said, the United States is falling woefully short in comparison to the new trend.

Although there are 26 states that currently have legislation against revenge porn, the United States as a whole has no acting laws to stop the non-consensual distribution of intimate photos, and other materials on the Internet. According to the Daily Dot, a bill was supposed to be introduced to Congress last year, but after two years of being workshopped, was eventually pushed back for "political reasons."

Dr. Mary Anne Franks, the tech policy director for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative told the Daily Dot that the reason the bill has been prolonged is that they want to make sure the bill is bulletproof. On top of having constitutional scholars, defense lawyers, and civil liberties groups review the bill, Franks notes that overcoming different interpretations of the First Amendment in relation to Internet policies is also a challenge.

And while I applaud the CCRI's efforts to develop this national bill, the example of how other countries have been implementing their own legislation gives us all the more reason to perfect that bill, and push it through our law making systems now. Here are a few examples.

1. Canada

The most recent victory against non-consensual photo sharing happened in Canada, with the Ontario Superior Court ruling in favor of a revenge porn victim. The woman, who goes by Jane Doe, filed the case against her ex-boyfriend after he allegedly uploaded a private video of hers to a porn site when she was 18 years old. As a result, Doe was granted $141,708 in compensation, a small price compared to the trauma she inevitably endured when the video was aired to the public.

Although this is a relatively novel ruling for victims of Internet abuse in Canada, it stands as the first example toward change in favor of victims.

2. The Philippines

Though it may come as a surprise, the Philippines was the first country to enact national legislation against non-consensual photo distribution. In 2009, the country passed a federal bill prohibiting photos from being shared without written consent of the person involved. Anyone who violates the law will be sentenced to at least three years in prison.

3. The U.K.

In February of 2015, Queen Elizabeth II along with Parliament moved to make it illegal for any individual to share private, or sexual images with the intent of causing a person distress. The law became official in the spring, and any individual in violation of it now faces up to two years in prison.

4. Israel

In 2014, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Sexual Harassment Bill, stating that all instances of revenge porn, or the uploading of erotic imagery without the person knowing, will be deemed sexual harassment. Those who disobey the order could potentially face up to five years in prison.

Revenge porn is sexual harassment in one of its most brutal forms, and we can no longer ignore that many women have been forced to horrific measures because of the bullying that often results when intimate images are shared. Though sites like Google, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter have made movements to ban these images and curtail their distribution, the issue still stands. We may not have federal legal repercussions for this sort of abuse, but victims of non-consensual photo distribution can find legal help from the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project and Without My Consent to find justice.

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