A Critical Analysis of the Law Commission's Proposed Cyberflashing Offence
The Journal of Criminal Law 2022
14 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2022 Last revised: 28 Sep 2022
Date Written: September 15, 2022
The Law Commission has proposed a new offence of cyberflashing to combat the problem of sending unsolicited images or videos of human genitals to others. It seems that what the Law Commission has in mind is not flashing per se, but cyber-nudity. Its proposal fails to comprehensively evaluate the adequacy of existing law and fails to balance the harm of a criminal conviction against the potential harm of cyberflashing. It shall be argued that the Law Commission seems to have conflated wrong with harm and that its harm claim is supported only by anecdotal evidence. The vast majority of cyberflashing cases, including most Airdropping and Bluetoothing cases, are already covered by existing law, leaving untouched only a handful of one-off Airdropping or Bluetoothing cases where the flasher did not intend to cause distress or anxiety and the victim did not apprehend imminent unlawful force. Thus, it is argued that this very narrowly tailored cyberflashing offence adds very little and that amending existing communication offences or harassment offences would provide more protection to victims as such offences could apply to a wide range of sexually harassing content, not just images or videos of human genitals.
Keywords: Cyberflashing, Communication Offences, Sexual Offences, Harassment, Harm, Wrong
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation