Law commission

England: Law Commission calls for downblouse and deepfakes to be criminalized

A new general intimate image abuse offense should be introduced in England and Wales to criminalize acts such as ‘downblousing’ and creating ‘deepfakes’, the Law Commission of England and Wales has proposed. Wales.

The law reform body has called for a clearer legal framework expanding the scope of intimate image offenses so that all cases of intentionally taking or sharing intimate images without consent are criminalized, regardless of motivation.

Under current law, acts such as “upskirting” or voyeurism are criminalized, but this would be further extended to cover the abusive act of downblousing, as well as sharing altered intimate images of people without their consent, including pornographic deepfakes and “nudified” images.

The changes would align England and Wales with Northern Ireland, which created a specific downblouse offense as part of broader sex offenses reforms earlier this year, and Scotland, where it is criminalized as a form of voyeurism since 2009.

In addition to expanding and simplifying the law, as part of the reforms, all victims of abuse would enjoy lifelong anonymity. Expanding these important protections would help victims report and support lawsuits, the Law Commission said.

Professor Penney Lewis, Criminal Law Commissioner, said: ‘Sharing intimate images of someone without their consent can be incredibly distressing and damaging to victims, with the experience often scarring them for life.

“Current laws on taking or sharing sexual or nude images of someone without their consent are inconsistent, based on a narrow set of motivations, and don’t go far enough to cover the new disturbing and abusive behaviors born out of it. era of smartphones.

“Our new reforms for government will broaden the reach of criminal law to ensure that no perpetrator of these deeply damaging acts can escape prosecution and that victims have effective protection.”

Emily Hunt, Activist, Advocate for Victims of Sexual Offenses and Independent Advisor to the Department of Justice, added: “The Law Commission’s reforms on anonymity are a vital step in ensuring better protection for victims of sexual abuse. image abuse and would encourage more people to come before reporting violations.

“Taking or sharing sexual or nude images of someone without their consent can disrupt lives and inflict lasting harm. A change in the law is long overdue, and it is only fair that under these proposals, all perpetrators of these acts would be liable to prosecution. »