Cyberbullying legislation to be announced

Welcome news this morning.

[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” width=”600″ ]OTTAWA – The federal government is poised to announce new legislation Wednesday that will make it a crime to distribute intimate images without the consent of the person in those pictures. Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney are set to announce the details Wednesday afternoon.

The problem of cyberbullying and the misuse of photos has attracted much attention across the country in the past year. In Nova Scotia, the family of Rehtaeh Parsons said she was mocked mercilessly after photos of her being allegedly sexually assaulted made the rounds of her peers. The 17-year-old committed suicide this spring. Police did not initially lay any charges in the case, but in August did charge two teens with creating and distributing child pornography.

In British Columbia, the high profile case of Amanda Todd has been in the headlines over the last year. The Port Coquitlam, B.C., teen took her own life in October 2012. She’d been tormented online for years after an unknown person had convinced her to expose herself on a webcam. That person blackmailed her, spreading the photos online.

Provinces have brought in a patchwork of legislation to combat cyberbullying. But earlier this fall, MacKay promised the federal government would also bring in changes to the Criminal Code. Prime Minister Stephen Harper signalled in the spring that the government would create a cyberbullying law.[/box]


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