From Iceland — Minister Of Justice Proposes New Sexual Immunity Bill

Minister Of Justice Proposes New Sexual Immunity Bill

Published September 22, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

A new bill, being proposed by The Minster of Justice, could mean up to four years in prison for anyone distributing nude photos or videos of others without permission, Fréttablaðið reports.

The bill, written by Áslaug Árna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, states that anyone sharing material of a sexual nature can face four years in prison if done intentionally, and two if done through negligence. Lawyer María Rún Bjarnadóttir was involved in drafting the bill and says that it is hoped that the bill will strengthen the legal rights of victims of violations of sexual immunity. Up until now, many cases have been covered by current legislation on obscenity, some by sexual harassment laws and many more slipped between the cracks because there was not a legislation that covered them comprehensively enough.

According to the bill, not only will the person distributing the photos and videos be held responsible, but also those who receive the material and share it further. In this case, a wide web of people who do not know the victim could become involved, and be charged with negligence for not checking whether or not consent was given for the sharing of the material.

Photos are often used as blackmail

The intent is also important in these cases, that is, whether the person distributing the material is doing it to cause deliberate harm. María told Fréttablaðið, “I remember a case where pictures were being sent to the employer, parents and other relatives, in order to cause as much damage as possible. That case didn’t make much progress in the judicial system, but this bill would change that.” The bill will also address the threat of distribution as a form of blackmail, using it to force the victim to send more photos, pay money or have sex. “Sometimes the threats are used to break people down,” says María. “The digital revolution has brought us a lot of good, but it has also given people the opportunity to do more damage than before.”

Falsified porn is also addressed. This is less talked about but is becoming more common, with Instagram bikini photos being stolen and photoshopped to remove the bikini before distribution. María says she has been approached by girls who “posted a bikini photo on Instagram but someone out there copied it, used Photoshop to remove the bikini, distributed the photo and wrote to them saying that they were selling sex.” It is also common for Icelanders to distribute nude photos under the guise of foreign websites, making the process of finding proof and collecting data complex. But the media are taking a stand and are very cooperative with the police authorities in the country in question. “That is why it is important that the police have clear sanctions when they search for this companies”.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!