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Ireland to make revenge porn, cyberstalking criminal acts

Emerald Isle catches up with modern technology

By Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2017

The Irish government is planning to make the most unpleasant online acts criminal offences.

Under legislation currently being drawn up, cyberstalking and revenge porn will come with jail sentences and criminal records. "Up-skirting" – where people surreptitiously use cameras to record up women's skirts – will also be made a criminal offense.

When it comes to cyberstalking, existing legislation banning harassment and threats will be extended to cover online activity and in particular social media. Importantly, it will cover both indirect communication and the creation of fake accounts.

New legislation will be required to address the issue of "revenge porn" – where sexually explicit photos or videos of someone are shared in order to embarrass or extort that individual.

The decision to draft the new laws follows a commission report from late last year that dug into areas where there were legislative gaps due to advances and changes in technology.

Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) and minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald is behind the push and said she would publish the bill later this week.

The commission report proposed that the offence come with a fine and jail sentence ranging from one to seven years. ®

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