Will Lawsuits Be A Weapon Against Sexting?
Sexting, the practice where a person shares with one or more other person(s) explicit sexual photographs or video of themselves with the general intention that the image(s) will be privately seen by the intended person(s) with little or no thoughts given to where the image(s) may finally end up.
The exchange of such images was once predominantly limited to texts being sent with explicit images attached, however, with the increase in popularity and functionality of social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and even Facebook messaging, sexting is becoming increasingly commonplace amongst not only our children but also adults alike.
We have all read where sports stars, celebrities (even impressionable Disney stars) have all been caught out with the images falling into unscrupulous persons hands and sold off to the highest bidder. Worst still school aged children are sexting at alarming rates and such activity opens up a whole new can of worms that is outside the scope of this blog post. Basically, such conduct can be seen as distributing child pornography whereby the parties can be charged and ultimately found guilty of distribution of child pornography where they may even be recorded as to being a sex offender and find themselves on the sex offenders registry.
An article in The Age on December 10 2012, by Jane Lee reported on a recent inquiry held in Australia where the Victorian Privacy Commissioner Dr Anthony Bendall has called for a ‘tort of privacy‘ which would create a statutory cause of action for privacy violations.
The article went on further to report that the Australian Federal Government has recently passed the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill in November 2012, which consolidated Australia’s privacy principles.
It will be interesting to follow the developments in this area and see of the law of tort can help eradicate this activity.