A new law is soon to be introduced in the UK, and it will make the act known as ‘cyberflashing’ a criminal offence.
Not sure what ‘cyberflashing’ is? Well, the practice typically involves offenders sending an unsolicited sexual image to people via social media or dating apps, but it can also be done over data sharing services such as Bluetooth and Airdrop too, and in some instances, a preview of the photo can appear on a person’s device – which means that even if the transfer is rejected, victims are still forced into seeing the image.
It’s a practice that’s sadly on the rise too, as new research conduced by Professor Jessica Ringrose from 2020 found that 76% of girls aged 12-18 had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men.
This is why government ministers have confirmed their plans to ban the act, which is set to be included in the landmark Online Safety Bill, alongside wide-ranging reforms to keep people safe on the internet.
Under this new law, perpetrators could face up to two years behind bars.
The Government says the new offence will ensure ‘cyberflashing’ is captured clearly by the criminal law, giving the police and Crown Prosecution Service “greater ability to bring more perpetrators to justice”, and it follows similar recent action to criminalise upskirting and breastfeeding voyeurism.
The Government says it is “determined” to protect people, particularly women and girls, from these emerging crimes.
The introduction of the new law means that anyone who sends a photo or film of a person’s genitals, for the purpose of their own sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, alarm or distress may face up to two years in prison.
Speaking on the introduction of the new law, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said: “Protecting women and girls is my top priority which is why we’re keeping sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer, giving domestic abuse victims more time to report assaults and boosting funding for support services to £185 million per year.
“Making cyberflashing a specific crime is the latest step – sending a clear message to perpetrators that they will face jail time.”
“Tech has the power to bring people together and make our lives better, but it can also enable heinous behaviour from those who wish to abuse, harm and harass,” added Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries.
“The forthcoming Online Safety Bill will force tech companies to stop their platforms being used to commit vile acts of cyberflashing.
“We are bringing the full weight on individuals who perpetrate this awful behaviour.”
According to the government, the Online Safety Bill will put more legal responsibility on social media platforms, search engines and other websites or apps which host user-generated content to tackle a range of illegal and harmful content on their services, and the new cyberflashing offence comes after three other new criminal offences were introduced through this Bill, tackling a wide range of “harmful private and public online communication”.
These include sending abusive emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages, as well as ‘pile-on’ harassment – where many people target abuse at an individual such as in website comment sections.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.