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Hey, it’s a start.

When Hunter Moore, the former king of revenge porn, was arrested last year, it was for hacking into computers rather than distributing sexually explicit images that allegedly caused trauma to thousands of victims. For hosting and aggressively promoting those images, he knew he was pretty much untouchable legally due to a lack of comprehensive laws addressing non-consensual online pornography in the U.S.

Nine U.S. states have now banned homemade porn distributed without consent, although the laws are far from perfect. California’s ban, for example, doesn’t cover redistributors such as Moore, or self-taken shots—and it’s still only a misdemeanour offense. New Jersey is the most progressive state, having made it a felony to share explicit pictures maliciously in 2004. Meanwhile the Cyber Civil Rights initiative, founded by revenge-porn victim Holly Jacobs, is pushing for federal legislation.

Now, the U.K. government has indicated that it will seek to change the law to make distributing explicit images without a person’s consent illegal. Last week, Justice Minister Chris Grayling said: “The government is very open to having a serious discussion about this with a view to taking appropriate action in the autumn if we can identify the best way of doing so.”

In other words, U.K. citizens shouldn’t expect a ban on revenge porn soon, but one is apparently in the works.

As the British government rushed through legislation for mandatory “porn filters” for Internet providers last year—condemned by critics as worse than useless—campaigners have warned of an ongoing “epidemic” of revenge porn. The U.K. Safer Internet Centre helpline has fielded more calls from victims this year than ever before.

Fiona Cowood, writing in Cosmopolitan, suggests that despite the vocal campaigns and numerous reports of ruined lives, the U.K. government is intervening after the nanny employed by prime minister David Cameron recently had explicit photos posted to porn sites without her consent.

Currently the U.K.’s Malicious Communications Act only prohibits videos and pictures taken when the victim didn’t consent at the time. People who allowed their partner to make sex tapes or intimate photos currently have to make claims in the civil courts, as singer and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos brought against her ex-boyfriend, DJ Ultra, for posting a sex tape online, on breach-of-privacy charges.

She won, although nothing happened to the predator.

Illustration via Jason Reed

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