The BC government is taking the next steps in implementing their newly enacted Intimate Images Protection Act.
The laws under this act are meant to prevent vulnerable people from being taken advantage of or blackmailed using intimate images of themselves.
Ever since the highly publicized passing of Amanda Todd over a decade ago, BC is now trying to step up and prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.
Niki Sharma, Attorney General, has now sent out a letter to big tech companies informing them of the new protection act, and what their responsibilities are under it.
“The impacts of non-consensual disclosure of intimate images are rarely talked about, but can be long-lasting and devastating,” said Sharma.
“With this letter, I expect that social media platforms, dating applications and pornographic websites will do the right thing and align themselves with our legislation to better protect people from this type of sexualized violence and put people before profits.”
Over the last six months, there has been a 150% increase of incidents reported to Cybertip, a national hotline website for youth to report sexual exploitation.
According to healthcare professionals and the province, the emotional and psychological toll that having vulnerable, intimate images shared without consent or disclosure can vary across a wide spectrum and will often haunt the victim for the rest of their lives.
Meta, Twitter, Grindr, PornHub and OnlyFans were just some of the big tech companies contacted by Sharma on behalf of BC regarding the new legislation. These companies will have a legal obligation to comply with the new laws.
What does the Intimate Images Protection Act do?
This new legislation will make it easier to get a court decision about an image that was recorded or shared without consent, and to have those responsible for distributing it or threatening to distribute it, ordered to stop.
The protection act will also streamline the process for having an image or video removed from the internet and provide minors with the tools to seek legal action against those distributing their intimate images.
Courts will now have the ability to order a social media company, online platform or any website to stop distributing and remove images from their platforms. These orders will protect the identity of the victim and can be given on a moment’s notice.
If tech companies don’t comply with these orders, they will face consequences and may have to pay fines and compensate victims for any damages they may have incurred.
The goal of this legislation is to end gender-based online violence and it will be coming into full force in the coming months.