What to do when nudes leak on the internet: The legal course of action

The act of leaking nudes has become a typical occurrence in today’s world. Only a few occur unintentionally, and most of those that do occur are usually as revenge porn. The act of distributing intimate photos or videos of someone without their consent in order to cause them anguish is known as revenge porn.

Also read: Here is how to remove leaked nudes on the internet

When someone’s nudes leak, it not only creates shame but also leaves victims miserable and sometimes punished for reasons beyond their control. Most of the laws in African countries centre their effort towards arresting the victims like in Uganda under the Anti-Pornography Act 2014.

Seeing as leaking of nudes occurs with the intent to shame the victims, the laws should work to protect the victims from such acts happening again in the future. More energy should be put into creating controls on the internet that don’t allow the circulation of such content.

When such scenarios occur, victims frequently do not know where to go if they need to report. And, most importantly, how to defend themselves. Various efforts have been made to teach people how to act and protect themselves in various situations.

Different digital literacy efforts ensure victims know how to act when such situations happen and how they can protect themselves. The digital safetea game created by Pollicy in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Uganda and Paradigm initiative is a perfect way for women to learn different measures they can take during different harassment situations. The game provides a realistic feel as people choose characters and play the game based on real-life situations.

Read more: Digital safetea: A fun new way to learn about online safety

Google which has a strong policy against non-consensual sharing of intimate or explicit images and videos also offers the opportunity to request for content like leaked nudes to be taken down. It offers help by allowing the affected party or parties to request that the content be removed from Google search results. You can find the details here in full.

What the law says about situations when nudes leak

Before we delve into the course of action one should take when they face cyber harassment, let us get an understanding of the law in regards to cyber harassment. Non-consensual sharing of nudes falls under the Computer Misuse Act as Cyber Harassment.

Under the law, cyber harassment means the use of a computer (this includes phones) to do any of these:

  • Make a request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent
  • Threatening to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person
  • Knowingly permitting any electronic communication device to be used for any of the above purposes

A person who commits cyber harassment is liable, if convicted, to a fine of up to UGX 1,440,000 or imprisonment for up to 3 years or both.

Cyberstalking is a crime committed by someone who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly uses electronic communication to harass and threaten someone or someone’s relations such that they fear for their safety.

A person found guilty of cyberstalking is liable to a fine of up to UGX 2,400,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both.

If you have been a victim of abuse over social media or other electronic communications channels, (SMS, Phone, Facebook, Twitter, all those),

  1. Firstly, do not engage them. Most times these stalkers enjoy the frustration they are creating from their abuses.
  2. Secondly, keep a record of all the communications they make. In order to bring a case against such perpetrators, you should have as much evidence of their actions as possible.
  3. Lastly, please go to the police and report them for their actions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are in a different country and suffering harassment from someone in Uganda. Under the law, as long as the person is in Uganda at the time they harassed you even if they are not Ugandan, they will be held liable for their actions.

Read more: A brief report on online child sexual abuse in Uganda

Read more: The NITA-U cybersecurity campaign unveils website with tips to avoid cyber attacks

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