The UK government’s Law Commission will soon begin reviewing the laws around the taking and sharing of “non-consensual intimate images” as part of its efforts to keep pace with technological developments.

“The review, which will be launched shortly, will consider a range of disturbing digital trends such as ‘cyber-flashing’ – when people receive unsolicited sexual images of someone over the phone – and ‘deepfake’ pornography – the degrading practice of superimposing an individual’s face onto pornographic photos or videos without consent,” the Ministry of Justice said.

The review starts July 1 2019, and will deliver its report in the summer of 2021, with a view to proposing new laws to cover offences, where required.

Revenge porn is already one area in which the UK government has already made its position explicit: it’s now a specific offence, as well as also falling under a range of broader Acts. The same is true of other similar offences, which often come under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, or Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act.

Deepfake pornography, on the other hand, is a more nascent technology – and one that could pose significant problems to overcome in the future.

“No one should have to suffer the immense distress of having intimate images taken or shared without consent,” Justice Minister Paul Maynard said. “We are acting to make sure our laws keep pace with emerging technology and trends in these disturbing and humiliating crimes.”

The Ministry of Justice says that – in addition to the review – a public consultation will be launched seeking views from “victims, groups representing them, law enforcement, academics and anyone else with an interest in the issue”.

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