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Last week, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) promoted the initiative “Stop it by not sharing,” encouraging the public to use the free Priority Channel web form to report the unlawful dissemination of sexual or violent content and request its removal.

Practices like sexting are becoming more common and have evidenced the risks of posting sexual or violent images, videos and audio online without the consent of those involved. Authorities are most concerned about young people. Recent studies show that one in seven (14.8%) minors have sent sensitive material and one in four (27.4%) have received it.

The AEPD’s figures for 2020 show this trend increasing. The AEPD has received 358 requests for removal of sexual or online content through the Priority Channel, processing almost 50 cases under the expedited procedure and requiring immediate removal from service providers in 29 of them.

The removal of the illegal content reported through the Priority Channel is effective in 86% of cases. If the site manager is in Spain, the removal is usually completed within 72 hours.

This initiative falls under the Digital Pact for the protection of individuals (“Digital Pact”), a project seeking to improve data protection and a more responsible use of new technologies. Over 210 entities have joined the Digital Pact, committing to promote the Priority Channel among their users, clients and employees.

As a result, Mar España, Director of the AEPD, has requested the Ministry of Justice to include the forwarding of sexting images and audio as an offence in article 197(7) of the Criminal Code.

In her Senate appearance, the AEPD Director highlighted that the AEPD lacks sufficient resources. She noted that the AEPD receives almost the same resources as in 2008, although many of the platforms where this unlawful sharing occurs did not exist then.

Authors: Josu Andoni Eguiluz y Jorge Monclús

This post is also available in: Español



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