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New UK Laws Will Punish Revenge Pornographers and Trolls With Two Years of Jail Time

Keep calm and just don't be a terrible person, okay?

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Per a new law proposed in October and taking effect today, offenders found guilty of sharing “private, sexual images of someone without consent and with the intent to cause distress” will now face up to two years of jail time.

Under the new legislature,

[…] images posted to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be caught by the offence, as well as those that are shared via text message. Images shared via email, on a website or the distribution of physical copies will also be caught. Those convicted will face a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.

The offence will cover 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. Victims and others will be able to report offences to the police to investigate.

The Verge writes that the UK has precedent for punishing revenge pornographers with jail time, albeit a less prohibitive sentence; 21-year-old Luke King served 12 weeks last November for sharing intimate photos of his ex-girlfriend on WhatsApp. Last February the UK also set up a helpline that offers free legal advice and assists victims of revenge porn in communicating with police and relevant websites.

The new revenge porn legislation is part of the UK’s Criminal Justice and Court Act, which also increases potential jail time for trolls—according to The Telegraph, sending abusive messages with the “intention of causing distress or anxiety” could now lead to a maximum two-year sentence (the maximum prior to today was 6 months).

Although revenge porn asshats seem more deserving of sentences like the 18 years recently doled out to Kevin Christopher Bollaert, it’s reassuring to see the UK taking an increasingly firm stance against online abuse and misogyny.Thoughts on the new legislation?

(via Boing Boing and ArsTechnica, image via Shutterstock)

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