Revenge Porn: A Manufactured Problem

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The UK Government is continuing its decades’ long folly of attempting to stamp out perceived socially undesirable behaviour through legislation. While a case can be made out for laws against dangerous dogs, can the same really be said for the unauthorised distribution of intimate photographs?

A new law is being brought in to criminalise so-called revenge porn; this will be a godsend to Britain’s politically correct police as it will present them with countless easy targets – mostly teenagers and young men, and, one suspects, not a few women – who will be reported by aggrieved former sexual partners for what should essentially be a civil issue, if it is a legal one at all. Doubtless there will be dawn raids, countless computer seizures, and not a few wrongful arrests because very often the type of people who pose for photographs and videos of this nature are anything but camera-shy, and many will doubtless have distributed the offending images themselves to some degree.

This ludicrous law has been in the pipeline for some time, and as many people will have suspected or be aware, it is already an issue on the other side of the Atlantic, where such laws have met with opposition from the ACLU.

Civil libertarians argue that not only is the Arizona statute concerning nude images drafted too widely, but it is incompatible with the First Amendment:

“The nude photo law makes the display, publication, or sale of nude or sexual images without the subject’s explicit consent a felony punishable by nearly four years in prison. As written, the law could be applied to any person who distributes or displays an image of nudity – including pictures that are newsworthy, artistic, educational, or historic – without the depicted person’s consent, even images for which consent was impossible to obtain or is difficult to prove.”

There could also be other problems in the UK; what if the person distributing the images took them himself, as will often be the case? What if he argues he paid for them? Doesn’t he own the copyright? And there is so much porn on-line now that does anyone really care anymore? Could someone make a malicious claim about revenge porn as an act of revenge against a former lover? The real problem here is not revenge porn, causing distress to victims and so on, but thoughtlessness. When they are young, people do all manner of things they will regret in later life; everyone, especially girls, should think long and hard before being tattooed or engaging in the dubious practice of body piercing. Likewise, once a photograph is posted on-line, it is very likely there forever, even if the original is deleted.

As well as a little thoughfulnesss, what most of these victims really need is a sense of shame. And at the end of the day, if he really loves you dear, he won’t ask you to do anything of which you could be ashamed.

About the author

Alexander Baron