The Government of Gibraltar published the Crime and Communications (Online Security) Bill 2023 on Thursday. The bill deals with the creation of new criminal charges for internet harm, with the aim of better protecting people in these spaces. social networks.
As explained by the government in a statement, the first new charge included in the bill refers to flashing images. There is a recommendation by the UK Law Commission that it should be a special offense to intentionally send flashing images to a person with a seizure disorder with the intention of causing a seizure.
This recommendation is the result of Zach Law’s campaign, after an 8-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and epilepsy was targeted by online bullies while on a walk sponsored by the Election Society. He and his family demanded a new selective offense and three years later the British government promised to create this law.
The bill also creates a new offense called “indecent cyber exposure” that expands on current scandals. The new offense involves the transmission of sexual images using digital technology and sexual abuse by other forms of abuse in that the victim is the subject of the image, here the victim is the recipient. Victims often do not know the identity of the sender, as images or messages are sent using a peer-to-peer protocol such as Airdrop, so the victim suffers from the double threat of a sender who is not only anonymous, but also close. to it.
Finally, the charge refers to the possession of extreme pornographic images. In Britain, this crime was criminalized in 2008 after the campaign of a teacher’s mother who was killed by a man addicted to hardcore internet pain. This law would transfer criminal liability from distributors of extreme pornography to consumers, which was seen as necessary in the UK to deal with the volume of violent pornography that was being distributed on foreign websites.
The bill charges the possession of pornographic images that depict acts that endanger the life of a person, acts that cause or cause serious injury, bestiality or necrophilia; it also provides for the exclusion of classified films, etc., and establishes exemptions and penalties for offences.
In addition, the bill introduces a new obligation for the regulatory authority of the Government to promote media literacy. Criminal law can only be a limited solution to online abuse, partly due to the abruptness of online communications. Addressing Internet abuse requires not only criminal law, but also education and culture change.