Tag Archives: privacy

Revenge Porn –It has never been o.k and now there is a law against it!

While the term “revenge porn” is not the term used in the bill (Criminal Code (Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Amendment Bill 2018), the message is clear. Harmful behaviour is no longer tolerated.  Queensland has taken a stand against the increase of non-consensual sharing of intimate images.

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has advised “The government recognises that the non-consensual sharing of intimate images covers a broad range of conduct, relationships, motivations and modes of distribution,”

The bill to change the law was introduced in or about 2018. On 13 February 2019, the changes to the Queensland Criminal Code were passed through parliament and made into law. 

A brief summary of such an important law includes that (circumstance dependent);

  • People who share sexual or intimate images or videos of another person without their consent could now spend up to three years’ in jail in Queensland; and
  • Please who threat to distribute intimate or prohibited images or recordings is also a misdemeanour with a maximum of 3 years prison;

The new law includes that;

  • consent means – consent freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to give the consent.
  • Intimate image, of a person, means – a moving or still image that depicts;
  • the person engaged in an intimate sexual activity that is not ordinarily done in public; or
  • the person’s genital or anal region, when it is bare or covered only by underwear; or
  • if the person is female or a transgender or intersex person who identifies as female—the person’s bare breasts; and
  • includes an image that has been altered (digitally) to appear to show any of the things mentioned above, even if the thing has been digitally obscured if the person is depicted in a sexual way.
  • prohibited visual recording, of a person, means;
  • a visual recording of the person, in a private place or engaging in a private act, made in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy; or
  • a visual recording of the person’s genital or anal region, when it is bare or covered only by underwear, made in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy in relation to that region.

Distribute the images and pay the price

It is now clear. Section 223 of the Queensland Criminal Code provides that it is an offence to distribute intimate images of a person without the person’s consent in a way that would reasonably cause the person distress.

It is irrelevant whether the person distributing the images intended to cause distress or actually caused distress.

Rectification order

If a court finds a person guilty of these offences, it can order that the images or recordings be removed, deleted or destroyed within a stated timeframe. If the offender fails to comply with the order, they can be found guilty of a further offence.  Such offence is punishable  by a term of imprisonment up to two (2) years.

This will be an increasing area of law so watch this space.  This law has been passed in Queensland, which means the jurisdiction of the law is in Queensland.  For matters outside Queensland, Commonwealth Law may apply.

If you have been subject to inappropriate images and video’s being sent via text, email, social media or the internet.  We highly recommend and also implore you to contact your local Police Station in addition to your State and the Federal Safety Commissioner. 

If you are concerned about actions against you, legal advice should be obtained about your specific circumstances, in addition to contacting the Government entities. You can also seek counselling and advice from Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (if you are under 25), or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The information in the Tropical Lawyer articles are provided as guidance only and legal advice should be sought specific to your circumstances and the application of the law to your circumstances.

What if Taylor Swift and Kanye West lived in Queensland. Could they legally record their conversation?

Telephone conversations and recording devices

These days I often hear and see on social media discussions regarding the recording of conversations.  More recently the alleged telephone conversation between Kanye West and Taylor Swift went viral. The first thing I thought of when I heard about this was, really? that’s the news? this was quickly followed by, “you can’t do that in Queensland.”

The federal legislation provides that it is illegal to record a telephone call with a device physically attached to the phone (mobile or landline) except where authorised  in specific circumstances (generally these are related to warrants etc).  (Telecommunications (interception) Act 1979 (Cth)).

Queensland law is not as strict as some of the other states and territories when it comes to the recording of other conversations.  In brief, Queensland law states;

  • You can legally record a telephone conversation with an external device provided you are a person who is a party to the conversation;
  • You can legally record a face to face conversation if you are a party to the conversation;
  • It is illegal to record a conversation (whether by telephone or face to face) if you are not a party to that conversation.  (Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld))

However, if you are recording conversations, with a view to use them as evidence, then you should obtain legal advice as the law differs on the admissibility of recordings in the different types of legal actions.  If you do lawfully record a conversation then you should also be aware that the publication or communication of that private conversation is prohibited in all jurisdictions.

So, if this alleged incident involving Kanye and Taylor occurred in Queensland;

  • The device recording the alleged conversation could not be attached to a phone being used by Kanye or Taylor;
  • The device recording the alleged conversation must have been recorded by either Kanye or Taylor not a third person (this si because only Kanye and Taylor are a “party” to the conversation) ; and
  • Both Kanye and Taylor would be prohibited from publication or communication of the recording (i.e they cannot release the recording  to the media (or anyone else)).

However, before you run off and start recording conversations you are a part of, you should consider the purpose of a recording and if you legally can record the conversation.  If it is for evidence, then you should seek legal advice about your circumstances for seeking the recording, the manner of the recording, the admissibility of the recording and the impact (good or bad) the recording could have on your case, as despite contrary belief, not all recordings are looked upon favourably by a Court.

For further general information relating to current laws about recording telephone conversations, see the Australian Information Commission https://www.oaic.gov.au/about-us/ and the Queensland Information Commissioner  https://www.oic.qld.gov.au/

Please also remember that these articles are providing brief general information and should not be construed as legal advice.  Should you have a legal question or situation you should engage the services of a lawyer to provide you with advice on the current law specific to your circumstances.