Feeds

Flirty texting could land Scots in jail for 10 years

Go too far and you're nicked

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Scots face up to 10 years in jail for sending text messages or emails with sexual content. Scotland's just-published Sexual Offences Bill contains stiff penalties for any sexual messages whose intent is to humiliate the recipient.

The Bill is a radical revision of sex crime law in Scotland and broadly follows last December's recommendations of the Law Commission of Scotland. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill described it as a "once in a generation" opportunity to create a clear legal framework for sex crimes.

The Bill, though, could result in the jailing of people who send text and picture messages with sexual content for up to 10 years. The Bill opens the door to convictions for people whose flirting is ill-judged or goes too far.

The Bill creates a new offence of communicating indecently.

The offence will be committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification or to humiliate, distress or alarm the receiver.

Causing a person to see or hear an indecent communication is also an offence. It can be committed by reading "a passage in a book or magazine" or by communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity or by communicating in sign language.

It will be up to prosecutors and courts to decide which communications are serious enough to warrant the heavy jail terms, but ill-advised flirting or joke messages could come under those definitions and expose senders to the long jail terms.

The Bill also bans the sending of images of a person or an "imaginary person" engaging in sexual activity without the receiver's permission. Again if the court finds that the message was designed to give the sender sexual gratification or humiliate, distress or alarm the recipient then the sender could be jailed for up to 10 years.

That person could be found guilty of another new offence, that of coercing a person into looking at an image of a sexual activity.

The Scottish Law Commission's Colin Tyre told The Scotsman newspaper that the new offences were designed to address a growing problem.

"We wanted to make sure all forms of communication were covered by a single law. Sending offensive e-mails in the workplace has become more common, as have text messages," he said.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.