Israel’s Knesset bans ‘revenge porn’

"It is clear that legislation is always trailing technological developments, but this bill is groundbreaking, and its passing is a great victory for victims of sexual assault,” Kariv said after the bill passed. (File photo: Reuters)

The Knesset turned its attention to what is being called, ‘revenge porn,’ or a situation in which someone is turned into a porn star against their will, according MK Yifat Kariv, reported the Israeli-based Ynet News on Monday.

The legislative body added an amendment to the existing Sexual Harassment Prevent Bill which bans uploading videos or pictures of a sexual nature to the internet, specifically social media.

The act of doing so, which was referred to as ‘virtual rape’ during the sessions, is now punishable with up to five years in prison.

Kariv championed the bill following an incident within his constituency in which a young girl’s partner uploaded a video of their sexual relations on the mobile application WhatsApp and forwarded it to thousands of people.

“Legislative intervention is needed to fight this horrible phenomenon of ‘virtual rape.’ It is clear that legislation is always trailing technological developments, but this bill is groundbreaking, and its passing is a great victory for victims of sexual assault,” Kariv said after the bill passed.

Head of Knesset’s Committee of the Status of Women, MK Eliza Lavi, said the bill is nothing short of revolutionary.

“The Sexual Harassment Prevention Bill was ratified some 15 years ago. Since then, massive technological developments have taken place,” she said, addressing the need for the law to adapt as technology changes.

“This rapid technological growth poses new challenges and legislation alone will not deal with this. We need to get parents and education officials involved,” she added.

The bill initially faced some opposition when some claimed its language could infringe on freedom of speech. Lavi said the bill was altered to exclude videos that have an interest to the public or were uploaded by mistake.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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