Revenge porn could get you two years in jail in England

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By David Goldman

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — People who share nude photos or videos without consent in England and Wales face up to two years in prison, after a revenge porn law went into effect Monday.

The law forbids people from disclosing “a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and with the intention of causing that individual distress.”

Revenge porn has come under increased global scrutiny after several high-profile legal cases resulted in little or no jail time.

In November, 21-year old Luke King was the first person to be prosecuted in England for posting revenge porn. King had shared nude images of his ex-girlfriend on WhatsApp. But a national outcry erupted after he received just a 12-week jail sentence — the maximum penalty under previous laws.

Following a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation, Craig Brittan agreed in January to destroy the 1,000 revenge porn images and videos he had posted to his now-defunct website, isanybodydown.com. Known as the “Revenge Porn King,” Brittan also collected and posted women’s personal information in addition to their intimate photos.

But Brittan didn’t serve any jail time, because revenge porn isn’t a federal crime in the United States. The FTC charged him with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act, opting to settle after he destroyed the pornographic images and information.

So far, 16 U.S. states have made revenge porn illegal. But those laws are largely ineffective against websites, which are protected by section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act. The act gives platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit immunity when third parties post anything that doesn’t violate federal law.

As a result, social networks are taking matters into their own hands. Twitter, Facebook and Reddit have all recently banned revenge porn.

The Scottish government is considering introducing similar legislation to England and Wales. Revenge porn is also illegal in Germany and Israel.

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