Updated: Thursday, 13th August 2020 @ 11:08am

Banning of 'revenge porn' in proposed privacy bill will protect people online, claims Manchester Lib Dem MP

Banning of 'revenge porn' in proposed privacy bill will protect people online, claims Manchester Lib Dem MP

| By George Bellshaw

'Revenge porn' will be outlawed and people's online privacy will be better protected under a proposed 'bill of rights' being backed by Withington MP John Leech.

The proposed bill features under plans included in the Liberal Democrat's pre-manifesto at a time when several celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence, have seen their privacy jeopardised by hackers.

The Lib Dems are keen to establish the principle that personal data belongs by default to the individual to whom it refers – and where reasonable, individual citizens can decide who else has access to their data.

John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said: “I support these balanced proposals. They will allow a free, fair, and open society where civil liberties are safeguarded as well as ensuring we protect our country.

“I am particularly happy to see, for the first time, the outlawing of ‘revenge porn’. The digital bill of rights we are proposing will protect our fundamental liberties online.

“They mean that the people of Manchester will be protected from unwarranted state surveillance, while still maintaining the ability for our security services to deal with serious threats.”

The pre-manifesto will be voted on at the Liberal Democrat’s Autumn Conference on Saturday October 4, and would establish rights for British residents in the digital environment.

However, anti-surveillance groups, such as No CCTV, have raised concerns as to whether law-making is the right approach.

Charles Farrier, the co-founder of No CCTV, raised his concerns regarding the details of how the bill would work.

Mr Farrier said: “We’re broadly in favour of the idea behind the bill but not of the bill.

“No one is going to be against stamping out revenge porn, but the problem is how do you do it and how do you do it without trampling on other rights in the process?

“The worry for us is when you look at the rhetoric they’re coming out with about how we need to protect people’s liberties but at the same time keep a strong state and allow state surveillance.

“Our concern is always fundamentally about the intrusions by the state.”

Mr Farrier raised further issues regarding the bill such as its difficulty to implement and suggested that educating the public, rather than making bills, would produce better results.

He added: “We need to educate the public and show the next generation coming through how to use this tool of the internet better and more responsibly.

“Trying to legislate better behaviour is very difficult and probably not going to work.”

The Lib Dems, however, are adamant that offenders need to be punished and that the protection of people’s privacy is of the utmost importance.

Mr Leech added: “Protecting people’s privacy is an essential part of building the society we want to live in, and when people violate that, there have to be proportionate powers available to hold those responsible to account.”

A recent poll run by MM showed that over half of all Mancunians are thought to have indecent images on their computer that they fear could be hacked.

High profile celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have seen private nude photos spread around the web after Apple’s iCloud system was hacked.

Apple have played down security fears but it has proved a timely reminder that people should be careful with what they store on the internet regardless of whether the Lib Dem’s bill is passed or not.

Further plans on the ‘digital bill of rights’ include banning mass collection of data from British residents by the police and security services.

This is to ensure the authorities can only access personal data where an individual is suspected of engaging in illegal activity.

In addition to this, they would establish a ‘right to be forgotten’ which empowers individuals to ask for content they themselves have generated to be removed, but does not permit the censoring of web searches.

Image courtesy of ministerio tic colombia, with thanks