The UK’s proposed Online Safety Bill lays out new policies regarding cyberflashing (sending nude images without consent). However Bumble and other organisations have pointed out a significant flaw in this proposed legislation.
Mashable explains that in its current state, the legislation will take into account whether the sender of these images is doing so with “harmful intent”. Bumble and other concerned parties highlight that this is hard to prove, and that perpetrators could claim they did it as a joke.
New suggestions prompt the UK government to reconsider and base the policy around consent, rather than intent.
Cyberflashing is a form of everyday harassment that causes victims to feel distressed, violated, and vulnerable on the internet. We’re encouraged by the UK Government’s decision to introduce legislation, however, the law needs to be based on consent to send a clear message that sending explicit nude images is not a joke”, shared Payton Iheme, Bumble’s Head of Global Public Policy.
“Bumble’s research shows that the majority of people in the UK agree that more needs to be done to address cyberflashing and alongside experts and key organisations, we’re calling for the Government to move forward with a consent-based approach,” Iheme added.
“The proposed cyberflashing legislation is based on proving malicious intent, which is out of step with other proposed and existing sexual violence laws”, said Professor Clare McGlynn, an expert on cyberflashing policy.
“This approach will leave a loophole in the law, ultimately making prosecutions against cyberflashing unlikely whilst protecting men and allowing them to claim a defense of ‘it was a joke’ or ‘I was having a laugh’”, McGlynn explained.
The dating app is encouraging people to sign a pledge in support of consent-based cyberflashing legislation. This campaign is also being supported by UN Women UK and Grazia Magazine.