Safer Internet Day Celebrations in Ireland
To mark Safer Internet Day 2021 the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee T.D., the Department of Justice and the Irish Safer Internet Centre held a live virtual event launching Ireland’s #BeKindOnline campaign and webinar series.
During her opening address, the Minister for Justice commenced the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act also known as Coco’s Law, in the memory of Nicole Fox. The 21-year-old died by suicide following a prolonged period of online abuse in 2018. She was affectionately known as ‘Coco’, a name that came about because her little cousin couldn’t pronounce ‘Nicole’.
Coco’s Law creates two new offences which criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images:
- the first offence deals with the distribution or publication of intimate images without consent and with intent to cause harm. The penalties applicable can be an unlimited fine and/or 7 years imprisonment
- the second offence deals with the taking, distribution or publication of intimate images without consent even if there is no specific intent to cause harm. This offence will carry a maximum penalty of a €5,000 fine and/or 12 months imprisonment
"This legislation will not only provide an effective tool to bring to justice those who use technology to harm others, but it will also send a clear message that as a society the sharing, or threat to share, an intimate image of another person without their consent is not acceptable in any circumstance." Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee T.D.
The Minister also emphasised her commitment to the enactment of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, which aims to create a new regulator, an Online Safety Commissioner as part of a wider Media Commission, with powers of oversight over the systems that online platforms, including social media services, use to deliver and moderate user-generated content.
She commended the Irish Safer Internet Centre partners: Hotline.ie, Webwise, ISPCC Childline and the National Parent Council Primary for their unwavering commitment to build a safer and better digital world. Following the Minister’s opening addressed, Professor Brian O’Neill hosted a discussion with the Irish Safer Internet Centre partners: Chief Executive of ISPCC Childline, John Church; CEO of the National Parents Council Primary, Áine Lynch; Project Officer of Webwise (PDST Technology in Education), Jane McGarrigle; and Chief Executive of Hotline.ie, Ana Niculescu.
Due to popular demand the recordings of the Irish Safer Internet Centre #BeKindOnline Webinar Series (9, 10 & 11th February), will be made publicly available in the coming week.
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