People who take a screenshot with their mobile phone may face up to 2-years in prison under strict laws in the UK.
Users caught screen-grabbing pictures on popular apps such as Snapchat, without the original owners consent, could be sued and face jail time, according to The Independent.
British copyright law makes it illegal for anybody to copy an image and make it publicly available without explicit consent from the original owner.
In addition, those caught saving and sharing ‘raunchy’ snaps could be looking at a much more serious crime. Those convicted of violating Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 — which deems it an offence to disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress — could face up to two years behind bars.
According to a Channel 4 News investigation, Generation Sex, the sharing of explicit pictures has become normal teenage behaviour in the U.K. “I get asked for naked pictures…at least two or three times a week,” one 15-year-old girl said.
Jon Brown of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the investigation uncovered a “very regular and normal” consumption of hardcore adult pornography by 13-16 year olds.
He said the sharing of explicit sexual imagery via photos and video clips is now extremely normal, adding, “I think it’s important to recognise what was previously regarded as unusual, concerning, or sensationalist, now has in fact become the norm.”
While the U.K. government’s crackdown may be a step forward in punishing those guilty of sharing other people’s messages without their consent, what about those that go undetected among the billions shared each day? As a cautionary measure, it would be wise for users to think twice before sending images they wouldn’t want everyone to see.