UK introducing new law to tackle AirDrop ‘cyberflashing,’ punishable by up to 2 years in jail
A new law is soon to be introduced in the United Kingdom to tackle ‘cyberflashing,’ the act of sending unsolicited sexually explicit pictures via Bluetooth and AirDrop, that will be punishable by up to 2 years in jail, the Ministry of Justice has announced.
As part of the country’s forthcoming Online Safety Bill, the new UK law will make sending unsolicited sexually explicit pictures via social media, dating apps or Bluetooth services including AirDrop a criminal offence.
The new offence will ensure ‘cyberflashing’ is captured clearly by the criminal law – giving the police and Crown Prosecution Service, the principal public agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales, “greater ability to bring more perpetrators to justice,” the Government said in an online press release.
Research by Professor Jessica Ringrose from 2020 found that 76 percent of girls aged 12-18 had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men.
“Cyberflashing” will be illegal.
Those who send photos or films of a person’s genitals for specific purposes, including for their own sexual gratification, could face up to 2 years in jail.
— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) March 14, 2022
The new law will punish anyone who “sends a photo or film of a person’s genitals, for the purpose of their own sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, alarm or distress” up to two years in prison.”
It is worth noting that the prison sentence is not just limited to those who choose to use Apple’s AirDrop feature, which allows users to send photos, videos, websites, locations, and more to other nearby devices. The jail time will apply to anyone who sends unsolicited sexual content through any online medium.