As the next step in preventing the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, Niki Sharma, Attorney General, has issued a letter to technology companies advising them of the newly enacted Intimate Images Protection Act and their responsibilities under the law.
“The impacts of non-consensual disclosure of intimate images are rarely talked about, but can be long-lasting and devastating,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “With this letter, I expect that social media platforms, dating applications and pornographic websites will align themselves with our legislation to better protect people from this type of sexualized violence and put people before profits.”
Cybertip.ca, a national hotline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, indicated it has received a 150% increase in reported threats to distribute young people’s intimate images online over the past six months. The emotional and psychological impacts of the non-consensual disclosure of intimate images can be wide-ranging and overwhelming.
The letter advises companies such as Meta, Twitter, Tinder, Grindr, PornHub and OnlyFans of the new expedited legal process created under the legislation and their responsibility to comply. The legislation makes it easier for people to get a legal decision that an intimate image was recorded or distributed without consent, and order people to stop distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images. The legislation streamlines the process for getting images taken off the internet and will provide recourse for minors to pursue legal action to stop the distribution of their private images on their own.
Under this legislation, a judge or tribunal decision-maker can order a social media company, online platform or any website to stop distribution and remove an intimate image from its platform. These applications can be made without notice and without naming a respondent.
If they do not comply with court orders, technology companies could face consequences, such as administrative penalties and orders to pay for damages. The legislation will come into force through regulation in the coming months.
The Intimate Images Protection Act is part of a multi-year, cross-government action plan to help end gender-based violence.
To read a copy of the letter, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Intimate_Images_Protection_Act_Letter.pdf
To learn more about the intimate images protection act, visit: https://gov.bc.ca/ProtectingYourImages
To read about supports available for survivors of gender-based violence, sexual assault, or domestic violence, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/domestic-violence
To access resources and research about the online sexual exploitation of children, visit: https://cybertip.ca/en/