There seems to be a major fuss in the world of the interweb at the moment about the possibility of “sexy texting” leading to a 10 year jail term in Scotland.
Part of the new Sexual Offences (Scotland) bill covers new communication media, and rightly so – but this is causing a kerfuffle among those who dont appear to have read it and are offended by the possiblity of a limitation of free speech, citing “flirting by text message” as a dangerous pastime.
For those who have actually read the bill (and most of the people commenting dont appear to have…), it states;
“For the purposes of this section, a communication or activity is sexual in any case if a reasonable person would, in all the circumstances of the case, consider it to be sexual”
Fun flirting between consenting adults isnt an issue here – its a matter of recognising that situations have arisen where harrassment has taken place via email/text and needs to be recognised and victims protected. The explanatory notes to the bill also make it clear that “the offence is only committed where the victim did not consent to the activity and the perpetator had no reasonable belief that the victim consented”.
The bill and its explanatory notes can be downloaded on the scottish parliament website here.
If you send a random email or text which can be reasonably regarded as being sexual in its content, without the recipient’s permission – if they feel harrassed/threatened or humiliated by that, they have a right to do something about it. If you are sending content to those who you know would be offended by it, or to deliberately cause further distress to those who are already distressed by your actions, or dont know/dont care because you havent bothered to do the courtesy of asking them – its your own fault.
I’m not sure I know what the fuss is about – surely protecting people from the abuse of communications is a good thing?