Lawsuits against privacy breach can help counter sexting, says Oz watchdog

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 10:53 hrs

Allowing people to sue for serious breaches of privacy would help counter the problem of sexting, an Australian watchdog has said.

Dr Dan Svantesson of the Australian Privacy Foundation told a state inquiry into sexting that the practice, creating and sharing sexually explicit images online and via electronic devices, is "not a myth and it's not an epidemic, it's somewhere in between."He baked calls for a tort of privacy, which would create a statutory cause of action for privacy violations.

Dr Svantesson said that penalties should be attached to such lawsuits, including the possibility of compensation for victims, the Age reports.

"That is certainly one of importance, it's not going to be the silver bullet that takes care of sexting as such, but it's one important component in addressing it," the paper quoted Dr Svantesson, as saying.

He said that in the long term it would be more effective to "create a new [legal] framework dealing with sexting specifically" rather than tweaking existing laws on sexual misconduct, measures like internet filtering and the European Union's current work drafting privacy laws around the "right to be forgotten", or to request personal information is removed from the internet.

"That way you could really tailor the law to these specific types of situations rather than trying to manipulate existing laws to fit this," he said. (ANI)

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