Fine Gael Senator calls for 'revenge porn' to be criminalised

UK passed legislation to prohibit it, should Ireland follow suit?

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone has called for the introduction of legislation, which will criminalise revenge porn.

The Senator made her case for revenge porn to be criminalised after hearing the case of a young woman who endured "an outrageous violation of her privacy" at the hands of a disgruntled ex-boyfriend. The young woman was unaware that explicit pictures and a video of her were posted online; content she did not consent to being captured. 

“Having spoken to many in the legal profession about this, it’s clear that currently the investigation of revenge porn is very poorly provided for under Irish law. This is wrong and leaves Gardaí with limited scope to act," said Senator Noone.

“Irish legislation is weak when it comes to protecting adults who have been seriously victimised on social media or online, including being depicted in intimate private photographs and videos."

This is not the first time an elected representative has attempted to introduce legislation that would give Gardaí greater powers when it comes to cyberbullying and online abuse. Former Senator Lorraine Higgins was subjected to a torrent of abuse online and sought to introduce some form of online policing. Her anti-cyberbullying bill was not passed. 

Speaking today Senator Noone has said that many countries have introduced legislation and that Ireland should do so too.

“Last year the UK passed legislation, making it illegal to disclose a private sexual photograph or film without the consent of the person depicted in the content. In the US, 34 States currently have revenge porn laws. Meanwhile Australia and New Zealand have also recently introduced state laws criminalising revenge porn abuses. Ireland must now follow suit.

“The fact that there is no legal deterrent in this country for anyone who wishes to violate a person’s privacy in the most explicit way is totally unacceptable. I am now calling for the introduction of legislation, in line with the UK, to provide adequate protection for adults against the scourge of cyber harassment and revenge porn. There is an urgent need for updated legislation for this cyber age.”