A bill to prevent the nonconsensual distribution of imagery or videos of sexual acts between adults on Friday passed a first reading and has been forwarded to a Legislative Yuan committee to be discussed.
The bill was jointly proposed by 18 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators.
It seeks to promote gender equality, uphold righteous and moral social conduct and to protect the privacy of individuals, all of which would help prevent incidents similar to South Korea’s “Nth Room” case, the proposal said.
The Nth Room involves a criminal investigation into the distribution of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app from 2018 to this year.
The bill cited incidents in which people have distributed sexual videos of their former partner online to shame them.
DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) said that current laws are insufficient to protect victims.
The nonconsensual distribution of videos and imagery of sexual intimacy can only be punishable under articles 235 and 310 of the Criminal Code, she said.
Article 235 states that a “person who distributes, broadcasts, sells, publicly displays, or by other means to show [sic] an obscene writing, picture, audio record, video record, or any other object to another person” can be sentenced to up to two years in jail, which can be commuted to a fine of NT$90,000, or the fine can be added to the sentence.
In Article 310, slander is punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to NT$15,000.
If the person accused of slander produces evidence proving the truth of their claims, they cannot be punished, unless the defamatory fact concerns the victim’s private life and is of no public concern.
Lai said that the act that should be punished is the nonconsensual distribution of private incidents.
Victims lack the wherewithal to force platforms on which these videos or imagery are uploaded to remove them, Lai said, adding that there should be a legal basis to force the removal of uploads and prevent the victim’s reputation from being damaged further.
DPP Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) said that due to a lack of regulations, Taiwan is not immune to an Nth Room incident.
The bill seeks to protect people’s basic privacy and increase the penalties for such actions, she said.
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