Sharing images and videos with friends online has become a favourite pastime for many of us, and the rise of image sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat has made it even easier.
It seems as though the more we get used to posting images and videos the less we think about the consequences or social embarrassment that inappropriate posts can cause.
Not only can a particular post be a breach of privacy, but it can also be used as evidence of criminal conduct. And don’t think that deleting images is a sure-fire way of disposing the content either, screenshots and other devices are being used to capture images and videos.
Behaving appropriately within the law also extends online, so it’s important to be aware of some social media pitfalls that could see you have a brush with the law.
- Unlawful behaviour such as assaults, drug use, underage drinking, harassment and public nuisance behaviour captured on social media can be used as evidence of criminal conduct.
- Taking, posting or forwarding sexually explicit material of someone under the age of 18 carries serious criminal consequences, including child pornography charges.
- Even if you film and post sexual conduct online, but are not involved in the activity, you can still be charged.
- Secretly recording someone – i.e. without their consent, is a criminal offence.
Even if the material you post online does not lead to you being charged, but you later find yourself before the court, it is common for police and prosecuting agencies to search online for material which may be used against you when your case is before the court.
During Schoolies celebrations at the end of the year, police used the same technology used to track terrorism and protests at the G20 in Brisbane.
The bottom line is, if you engage in illegal activity and post it online, the police are likely to find out about it. Law enforcement is adapting to the growing presence of technology and social media.
Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a crime should report it to police immediately.