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UK makes 'revenge porn' illegal with punishment of up to two years in jail

Matt Brian, @m4tt
February 12, 2015
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Posting "revenge porn" in England and Wales is becoming a criminal offense. It's thanks to an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which was passed last year by the House of Lords and due to receive Royal Assent later today. Anyone found guilty of distributing explicit images to force victims into sexual activity or to humiliate them will now face up to two years in prison. It's designed to cover photos and videos that are shared without permission both on and offline, including those posted to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social networks.

The Bill classifies revenge porn as "photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public." Before, victims needed to navigate complex copyright laws to get images removed, which many feared because it could often draw more attention to the media in question. In the US, officials are catching people who post or are hosting revenge porn, but they are forced to prosecute based on related offenses. UK prosecutors can now bring specific charges against malicious posters, ensuring they're met with swift justice.

[Image credit: Maurizio Pesce, Flickr]

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