This paper considers the role of the criminal law in respect to revenge pornography and the adequacy of existing civil law remedies for serious invasions of privacy by means of revenge pornography.
Privacy issues are currently on the agenda of public debate, largely as a consequence of technological developments which have created new avenues for the invasion of privacy.
On 24 June 2015 the Legislative Council agreed to a Motion by Mick Veitch MLC for the Standing Committee on Law and Justice to inquire into remedies for the serious invasion of privacy in NSW. The terms of reference of the Inquiry are:
(a) the adequacy of existing remedies for serious invasions of privacy, including the equitable action of breach of confidence;
(b) whether a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy should be introduced; and
(c) any other related matter.
In a media release issued by the Standing Committee on Law and Justice, the Committee Chair, Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, made reference to the issue of revenge pornography, stating:
The proliferation of social media has meant that invasions of privacy through online forums, such as the alarming trend of jilted lovers posting sexually explicit photographs of ex-partners on the internet, has immediate and vast reaching repercussions.
It is in this context that this paper considers:
- The role of the criminal law in respect to revenge pornography, particularly in light of new offences against revenge pornography introduced in South Australia, Victoria and the United Kingdom.
- The adequacy of existing civil law remedies for serious invasions of privacy by means of revenge pornography, including the equitable action of breach of confidence.