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The Bingle Dispute - A Timely Reminder for Sexting Teenagers

The suggestion that footballer Brendan Fevola has captured and shared a nude image of model Lara Bingle has gained massive media attention. However, the alleged set of facts is not uncommon. Sexting – the electronic communication of non-professional images or videos portraying one or more persons in a state of nudity or otherwise in a sexual manner – is a common teenage phenomenon according to studies both in Australia and overseas.

“The problem is that it is unclear how the law regulates this type of activities. This uncertainty is unhealthy for both victims and alleged offenders” says Dr Dan Svantesson, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Bond University.

“Where people communicate nude images, whether it is of themselves or of someone else, several areas of law may be relevant, including defamation, privacy, breach of confidence and even copyright.”

“Even more seriously, if the person in the picture is underage, the sender may be exposed to prosecution for child pornography offenses.”

“Sometimes, the victim and the offender is the same person. In the US, there have been several cases where teenage girls have been accused of involvement in child pornography when sending nude pictures of themselves to their boyfriends. As it stands, it seems the same thing could happen in Australia.”

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