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Britons sharing revenge porn could face 2 years in jail

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It’s about time.

Revenge porn is to be made a criminal offence in the U.K. under new legislation, with offenders facing up to two years in prison.

British Justice secretary Chris Grayling has announced the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill currently making its way through Parliament is to classify revenge porn—the act of sharing intimate photos or media of a current or former partner without their consent—as a specific criminal act, the Guardian reports. “We want those who fall victim to this type of disgusting behaviour to know that we are on their side,” said Grayling.

“The fact that there are individuals who are cruelly distributing intimate pictures of their fomrer partners without their consent is almost beyond belief,” Grayling added.

Non-consensual pornography has been a hot-button topic recently—rapper Iggy Azalea has labeled the act a “sex crime” after a former partner has made moves to sell an intimate video of the pair, and recently released figures show that of 149 reported instances of revenge porn in the U.K. over the last 3 six years, just 6 have resulted in any police caution or charge.

In an attempt to bring clarity to the law, the British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) released updated guidance on how to deal with the issue under current legislation just a week before Grayling’s announcement. In the most serious instances, including those involving coercion into further sexual acts, CPS had said it should be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act, allowing for sentences of up to 14 years. 

Previously, victims of revenge porn have frequently defended themselves through copyright law—if the victim took the photo, then under usual circumstances the rights will belong to them.

The new legislation attempts to cover all bases: Not only does it include content shared on social media, but also extends to text messaging, email, as well as those who distributed revenge porn physically.

The BBC reports that the new law will classify 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.”

Revenge porn is already explictly legislated against in Israel, Canada and California.

Photo via David Hall / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Photo via Karin4758 / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0) | Remix by Rob Price

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Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.