Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    National plan to stop Internet perverts

    10/08/2005 12:00 AM

    The State Government will consider new laws to crack down on people who post unauthorised photographs of children on the Internet.

    Attorney General Jim McGinty said consideration would also be given to laws to prevent people taking and publishing voyeuristic images of others without their consent.

    Mr McGinty said State and Territory Governments had developed a discussion paper calling for uniform laws to protect people, especially children, from perverts and paedophiles who use the Internet for sexual gratification.

    “With the advancements in technology, it is very easy for people to take photographs of unwitting subjects then download and distribute them on websites around the world,” he said.

    The Attorney General said State and Territory Governments would also look at possible mechanisms to remove unauthorised images from the Internet if they breached any of the proposed new laws.

    Mr McGinty said the issue first came to light after unauthorised photographs of Melbourne schoolboys competing at sporting events were posted on a gay website.

    “It is disturbing to hear of instances where photographs of children were taken without their knowledge and posted on pornographic websites,” he said.

    The Attorney General said a crackdown on the inappropriate use of ‘spy’ and mobile phone cameras would also be considered.

    “People are being photographed in places like toilets and change rooms without knowing it,” he said.

    “This voyeuristic pastime extends to ‘upskirting’ where photographs are taken up a woman’s skirt without her knowledge.

    “We need to make sure the law keeps pace with the times to ensure people are not exploited.”

    Mr McGinty said the discussion paper, Unauthorised Photographs on the Internet and Ancillary Privacy Issues, seeks to:
    • identify the issues, including privacy issues, associated with unauthorised publication of photographs on the Internet;
    • discuss the adequacy of existing State and Territory laws in their application to these issues; and
    • identify legislative and non-legislative options to address these issues.
    The Attorney General said the formulation of any new laws would have to consider carefully an individual’s right and expectation for privacy, while maintaining the basic right to freedom of expression.

    Submissions on the discussion paper close on October 14. The paper can be found at http://www.ministers.wa.gov.au/mcginty/

    Attorney Genera'ls office: 9220 5000