The Times reports today on a move by government to get media websites to block children from sharing explicit images. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt also wants mobile phone companies to tackle sexting amongst children. He made the point that the technology existed to allow social media platforms to block explicit images from young users automatically, following a request from their parents.
On the 9th September 2016, I talked about the criminal law of sexting.
On the 13th September 2016, I reported on a court decision from Northern Ireland involving the use of Facebook for "revenge porn".
A 14 -year old girl brought an action against Facebook seeking damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act. She alleged that a naked photograph (obtained from her by blackmail) had appeared on their website on several occasions. She is also bringing a claim against the man who posted the photograph as a form of “revenge porn”. Facebook launched an application to halt her legal action, but the application was refused by a judge in Belfast. The case will now come to trial.
In the same blog, I reported on the case of MM V BC, RS and Facebook Ireland Limited  NIQB 60 15 June 2016 (again a case from the High Court of Northern Ireland).
Last year, in ABC v West Heath 2000 Limited and Whillock  EWHC 2687 the Claimant successfully argued that that she had been emotionally manipulated and encouraged to take and send indecent photographs of herself and the ensuing sexual banter by text. This amounted to the intentional infliction of harm as redefined in the Supreme Court judgment of Rhodes v OPO 2015 UK SC32.
The government initiative is to be welcomed. Media sites such as Facebook and mobile phone companies make huge profits from their traffic. It is time for them to plough some of that money back into keeping children and adults safe.
Malcolm Johnson, Specialist Child Abuse Lawyer