Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) yesterday said she will push to amend the law to increase the penalties and fines for posting “revenge porn” online — uploading photographs or film clips to the Internet of another individual, without their consent, to seek revenge or to damage their reputation.
Recent court rulings in cases concerning the dissemination of personal pictures resulted in sentences of up to six months imprisonment, which could be converted to fines of up to NT$180,000, and that is too light, Wu said at a press conference in Taipei she held with representatives from the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation.
The planned amendments would seek to differentiate between the simple dissemination of photos and someone violating public decency (公然猥褻罪), with the latter receiving a far heavier penalty, rather than having one catch-all category, Wu said.
Differentiating between the offenses would give judges more leeway in sentencing, as well as offer better protection [for witnesses] during investigations, she said.
She said there was still some debate on whether the proposed changes should be submitted for legislative review as amendments to the Criminal Code or as entirely new legislation.
A meeting is planned for March 8 to explain the proposed amendments to the public, the lawmaker said.
Foundation director-general Kang Shu-hua (康淑華) and attorney Wu Hsiu-e (吳秀娥) said they found it shocking that 57.5 percent of respondents to a foundation poll have consented to being filmed during sex while they were in a relationship, either as a short clip or a longer video.
There have been more than 66 cases in the past two years where former boyfriends have posted intimate photographs or sexual videos involving their former partners and more than 95.4 percent of the victims were female, Kang said.
She said 51.2 percent of the perpetrators in these cases had used photos or videos to threaten their former partner in a bid to get back together, while 28.8 percent had just been seeking revenge and to damage the reputation of the victim, Kang said.
The victims were often asked for sex or money, Kang said.
Wu said that if an individual is threatened by another using personal photos or film clips they can file a lawsuit on charges of intimidation.
Even if the victim consented to being photographed or filmed at the time, another individual does not have a right to disseminate the photos or film clips, and if they do so they could be charged with disseminating indecent materials, Wu said.
If the photos or film clips were taken without the victim’s consent, the individual using them could be charged with violating the privacy of others, she added.
Wu urged the public to report such offenses to police, adding that if a victim feels the police are not aggressively pursuing the case, they can appeal directly to a district prosecutors’ office if they have proof that they are being or have been threatened.