“However, Snapchat advises users to avoid sending messages which they would not want to be saved or shared.” The minister, whose brief covers “culture and digital economy”, also said that as well as breaching copyright, anyone who passed on images of a particularly sexual nature without consent could face an additional prison sentence.
“The disclosure of private sexual photographs or films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with intent to cause that individual distress, is an offence under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015,” he said.
Because of the time-limited nature of its messages, Snapchat is often used to share explicit photographs.
“Those convicted could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.” Copyright infringement itself is punishable by 10 years in prison and/or an “unlimited” fine, though this is restricted to six months in prioson and a £50,000 fine in magistrates’ courts.
Mr Vaizey, a Conservative, had been asked by DUP MP Jim Shannon what steps the Government was taking to ensure that Snapchat images were not “made public without the consent of the image owner”.
Cybersex trafficking of children is a growing and devastating form of modern-day slavery.
Paedophiles and predators are able to search online and pay to sexually abuse children anywhere in the world from the comfort of their own home.