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After activist Gina Martin campaigned for 'upskirting' to become illegal in England this year, Ireland looks set to follow suit.

According to the Journal, revenge porn is to be outlawed under new amendments to legislation which are expected to be approved by Cabinet.

Upskirting takes place when a person takes a photograph under the clothes of another without consent being granted. The changes in the legislation will also provide for a separate offence to punish those involved in this image-based crime.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by G I N A M A R T I N (@ginamartinuk) on

When upskirting in the UK was officially criminalised this February, Gina Martin posted;

"18 months ago a man stuck his hand between my legs and took photos of my crotch without my consent. 18 months ago I decided I wasn't going to brush sexual assault off anymore. 18 months ago I discovered it wasn't sexual offence and decided I was going to try and change the law for all of us." 

Now, it's Ireland's turn. The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill, which provides for a six-month prison sentence when a person is convicted, was put forward back in 2017 and is based on a Law Reform Commission report.

The report recommends the outlawing of two kinds of incidents: one which forbids the posting online of explicit images without consent, the other which will prevent secretly filming or photographing people in a sexualised manner without consent, i.e. ‘upskirting’ and ‘down-blousing’.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will seek government approval today to draft amendments to the Bill.

'Revenge porn' laws in Ireland mark us out as regressive and archaic, and Labour leader Brendan Howlin agrees. 

Howlin has previously said one of the aspects of the digital age is the increase in occasions where private images taken while in an intimate relationship are posted online following a break-up.

“They use images gathered during that relationship to harm their former partner by posting intimate, lewd images that were meant for an intimate couple online. It is totally unacceptable,” he said. New Zealand, Australia and now the UK have laws ahead of ours.

The legislative move comes just a few months after gardaí were informed by more than two women that their explicit photographs have been posted online without their consent. 

The forum on Reddit which displayed nude and clothed images of Irish women, called 'Irish Sluts', shared without their consent was later shut down

Harassment offences will now include any form of communication, including digital and online comments about another person.

Social media and technology laws are in dire need of modernising, and existing regulation must be brought up to date regarding activities on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram messenger and Whatsapp.

Image credit: theconversation.com

The existing offence of sending threatening or indecent messages will now expand to include all obscene messages using any form of digital communication.

The specific offence of stalking (in the 1997 Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act) will also be referred to under the new laws.

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel will start drafting the government amendments to the Bill in order for it to advance to Committee Stage in the Dáil soon.

We, for one, are absolutely delighted. It's been a long time coming.

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We hear a lot about people who have been the victims of the trickery of online catfish, lured into online relationships under false pretences.

But what about the people who have their identities stolen by these online phonies?

The people who have their images, and sometimes the details of their entire lives, stolen and re-purposed for use by a potential predator are at risk.

People who have their images stolen online are put in an awkward and also very dangerous situation.

Accounts using their faces could have been used for anything without their knowledge, from tweeting embarrassing or even defamatory things, to luring people into online relationships. 

This happened to one victim, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The model went viral earlier this year, after the catfish who had virtually stalked her for years photoshopped her face onto the body of popular Instagram model Jessica Hunt. 

She began receiving torrents of abuse and ridicule as people assumed she was the one behind the catfish stunt.

The attractive Irish model noticed that her pictures were being stolen for use on dating sites under the false name Amy Roberts years ago, but the problem quickly spread across all social media platforms. 

"The first I was aware of this user was a few of my followers on twitter and Instagram around two years ago sending me pics of various fake profiles on Tinder and Plenty Of Fish using my pics and the name Amy," she told SHEmazing!. 

"At first I didn't think much of it as they weren't the first to do it and they usually move on and use someone else's images after a while."

However, she later realised that this optimism was sadly misplaced. 

A number of months later, she discovered that multiple Snapchat accounts were stealing her stories and re-uploading them to catfish accounts, which she quickly managed to have deleted.

Then came Twitter, where she discovered an account using her images, which was soon shut down by Twitter moderators as well.

However, Instagram was where the real issues began. 

"I was made aware by so many followers of so many Instagram accounts of this Amy person, all of which when I was notified of I got Instagram to take down."

"The user has gotten smarter over the years, blocking me from their fake accounts and keeping their profile private."

"I now put my social media handles on my images to try to prevent them from taking my images but they just remove them from the images and in doing so blur half the image out or blur the whole of my ear which makes the image look odd but it still doesn't stop naive people believing that it is them."

She has even had someone recognise her in real life, thinking that she is the elusive Amy. 

"I've had DMs from minor celebs trying to talk to me like they know me because this catfish Amy sent them a DM with my image in it and had chats with them pretending to be me."

"I have even had one talk to me in a club like they knew me and called me Amy because they had been fooled by the catfish, they were pretty sheepish once I explained they were duped."

While these ordeals are creepy enough, the worst moment came when the catfish tried to flirt with a famous Youtuber, who posted the messages from the catfish but naming the real woman as the culprit, leading to her being mocked and shamed online. 

"I asked the user to remove it or tell me the account it came from but unfortunately my humiliation was their gain. That image still goes around the internet today with me getting abuse for it while the catfish gets away with their actions," she said. 

This incident was soon followed by the viral snap of her face photoshopped onto online personality Jessica Hunt's body. 

"Each morning when I check social media now it makes me feel sick to find out whether or not I'll be the victim of yet another viral post. I refuse to quit social media because not only do they win but people will never be able to find the original source of the images."

Not only has Amy made a mockery of the girl she pretends to be online, but other people are impacted by the situation, as the Amy persona lures people into false relationships.

"One girl told me how she met 'Amy' on an online lesbian chat room and had fallen for her and was going to move across the world for her only for her to find my account and feel betrayed."

"I've also heard from people who have given this Amy person money only to find out that they are fake. I hate to think that someone could use my image and identity to treat others so horribly and also to think that if they saw me on the street that they would assume that I did this to them and took their money."

"I have no idea to this day who they are, why they are stalking me or what their motives are with their actions on social media," she said. 

"They clearly know I get a lot of abuse for what they do so I personally think it's gone from catfishing to them enjoying setting me up for trouble then deleting their account and watching it all fall onto me. The worst part is that I can't control their actions or what they say online all while pretending to be me."

"I hope one day this Amy person gets bored and moves onto someone else but I feel that this hell they put me through will never end, " she finished. 

While this story may be extreme, it is not an isolated incident. 

For every online catfish out there using someone's photos and identity, there is a victim who is being put at risk through the actions of the catfish. 

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Chloe Moretz has been granted a restraining order against an individual who claims the actress is his wife.

Terry Daniel Quick is required to stay at least 100 yards away from the 20-year-old actress after it was confirmed he had been stalking the star, both in person and online.

In legal documents obtained by TMZ, authorities heard that Quick had followed the actress and her boyfriend, Brooklyn Beckham, into a concert in November and had also presented himself at Chloe's home that same month.

When apprehended by police, Quick, who regularly posts updates regarding his stalking behaviour online, told authorities that he was engaged to the Kickass star.

"Quick's online posts, harassment and stalking has become seriously alarming, annoying and harassing," read the legal document pertaining to Chloe's case.

In addition to avoiding Chloe, Quick is forbidden from having contact with her mother and brother.

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Instagram upgraded its search function last year to make it easier for us to find people we know, but now the social media giant is about to embark on a new feature which will make stalking, erm, we mean searching, even more handier.

Until now, if you wanted to see who follows you, you'd have to go into your followers on your profile and then scroll through until you found the person you're looking for, which we all know can takes aaages.

But with IG's new update, all you have to do is put their name into the search bar and the new results panel will tell you straight away if someone is following you or not. Simple!

But, Mashable is reporting a even better twist that will make searching even easier. 

It can also highlight users who have recently shared a new photo which means you'll be able to see if your crush follows you and know exactly when they post new Insta's, which, as we all know, is really important.

The new search is currently being testing on a few lucky iOS users, so hopefully within the year we'll all have it.

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SHEmazing! TV is here to deliver your round-up of all the Showbiz News.

Today’s highlights include:

  • A Twilight star has the serious hots for Jennifer Lawrence
  • Which Hollywood couple are back together
  • Kourtney Kardashian’s past comes back to haunt her
  • Elevator video is still causing problems for Beyonce and Jay-Z
  • Ed Sheeran admits to actively stalking

Niamh Geaney reports.

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SHEmazing! TV is here to deliver your round-up of all the Showbiz News.

Today’s highlights include:

  • Miss Indiana USA has amassed a huge world following after stepping out in her bikini
  • Another transsexual model has come out reporting that J.Lo’s ex Casper Smart cheated on her
  • Daniel Radcliffe confirms rumours of romance with co-star
  • Hugh Jackman surprises audience at the Tony Awards
  • An actress has suffered a shock attack at her home

Niamh Geaney reports.

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