Author: Law Reform Commission
Publisher: Law Reform Commission
Geographic Coverage: Ireland
Type of Resource: Report
Vulnerable groups: Children, Young People
Developed with children and young people? Yes
Type of participation: Consultations With Children
Availability: Open Access
Keywords: Child, Young People, Communication, Internet, Law
This Report forms part of the Commission’s Fourth Programme of Law Reform. It arises against the reality that we live in a truly interconnected digital and online world. This has brought enormous positive benefits, because it has facilitated a new form of online and digital consumer society and also allowed us to participate on a national and international level in civic society and in public discourse generally. This has greatly expanded the capacity to enjoy freedom of expression and of opinions in this jurisdiction and in comparable States.
This freedom has, however, also brought some negative aspects, including a tendency for some online and digital users to engage in communications that cause significant harm to others and can breach the right to privacy. Examples include the intentional victimshaming of individuals sometimes referred to as “revenge porn”, intimidating and threatening online messages directed at private persons and public figures and a new of voyeurism, sometimes referred to as “upskirting” and “down blousing”. In addition, there have also been many instances of online and digital harassment and stalking, which also mirror to some extent the pre-digital versions of these harmful behaviours.
This project and Report has identified that the existing criminal law already addresses some of the harmful communications described. Not surprisingly, however, it has also identified some gaps that require reform, notably where new forms of communication have been used in harmful ways that could not have been anticipated previously. The Report therefore proposes that the existing criminal law, together with the proposals intended to deal with the new forms of harmful communications, could usefully be consolidated into a single piece of legislation