Inquiry recommends takedown power to tackle ‘revenge porn’

Senate inquiry tackles dealing with the non-consensual sharing of intimate images

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended that the government consider empowering a federal agency to issue notices to service providers, such as social media sites, requiring them to remove intimate images that have been created and/or shared without consent.

Although the inquiry endorsed agencies such as the Australian Federal Police engaging in ongoing dialogue with service providers about the hosting of so-called ‘revenge porn’, it also noted “that in some instances internet and social media providers reluctantly engage in the process of removing intimate images, in part because of the complexity and cost involved”.

A Canadian-style takedown law where the offender was responsible for costs is a possibility, the inquiry concluded

The committee did not reach a conclusive view about whether Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner should administer the takedown power.

The committee recommended that federal and state and territory governments should legislate to make it a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly recording and intimate image without consent, knowingly or recklessly sharing intimate images without consent, and threatening to take and/or share such images.

Consideration should also be given to a recommendation by the Australian Law Reform Commission to establish a tort of privacy.

“The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government give further consideration to the Australian Law Reform Commission's recommendations regarding a statutory cause of action for serious invasion of privacy,” the report states.

The inquiry was conducted by the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.

Its report was tabled today.

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