The VICE Guide to Right Now

Singapore Just Banned Revenge Porn and Cyber Flashing

This is part of a major overhaul of the country’s penal code, which has also banned child sex dolls and criminalised marital rape.
SJ
Mumbai, IN
May 8, 2019, 1:50pm
Singapore bans cyber flashing and revenge porn

In a move that is almost a prerequisite in a post #MeToo world, Singapore has just outlawed revenge porn and cyber flashing in a crackdown against online offences.

Banning cyber flashing—which is basically sending unsolicited pictures of your private parts even when no one asked you to “send nudes”—and revenge porn—which refers to ex-partners literally putting you in a compromising position by posting private pictures or videos of your sexcapades without your permission—has been a long time coming. While such online crimes have been called out in major sexual harassment scandals during #MeToo, the ease of access that the internet grants makes controlling their spread difficult at a global level. With a major overhaul of its penal code, Singapore is taking steps to change this.

Singapore’s parliament passed a bill on Monday that made distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images a crime. Those who disseminate revenge porn are now punishable by up to five years in jail, along with a fine and caning, while cyber flashing will now be punishable with prison time up to a year and a fine.

"There has been prevalence of this," said K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, in Parliament. "Persons intentionally send unsolicited pictures of their genitalia over social media or via messaging platforms. That will be criminalized. Penalties for that offense will be enhanced where the victim is below 14 years old."

Singapore's nearly 150-year-old penal code was last fully reviewed in 2007. The other changes to the law include outlawing marital rape, banning child sex dolls, and decriminalising suicide. In a bid to further tighten controls on the internet, the Parliament is currently debating a sweeping new proposed law designed to crack down on "fake news," which could see social media companies hit with big fines if they don't comply with censorship orders. However, what exactly makes for “a false statement of fact” is yet to be defined.

Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.