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July 29, 2014updated 11 Jan 2016 1:34pm

‘Revenge porn’ law not required in UK, according to peers’ review

By Spear's

As reported today by the BBC, a review of existing laws on social media crime has concluded that current legislation is already sufficient to deal with ‘revenge porn’.

Chaired by Lord Best, the House of Lords Communications Committee said that while current laws were ‘generally appropriate’, greater clarification was required from the DPP as to when someone has committed a criminal offence via the posting of indecent images.

While existing law pre-dates social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, prosecutions for ‘revenge porn’ activities can currently be brought under legislation including the 2003 Communications Act and the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act.

The committee’s review also made a number of recommendations to curb this growing modern problem. Websites should develop better real-time monitoring systems, they said, while schools should provide better education as to what is acceptable online behaviour. Social media sites were also encouraged to repond quicker to police requests for information.

Two peers have also called for a clause to be added to Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which would result in a one-year jail term for the publication of explicit images of ex-partners without their knowledge or consent.

It is feared by some that the introduction of a specific law to curb the problem could inhibit freedom of speech. ‘Revenge porn’ laws have already been introduced in several US states including California, where self-taken images are not afforded the same protection as others, much to the disdain of internet safety campaigners.

Read our recent legal feature on the unnerving rise of revenge porn and how to avoid it here.

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