Revenge porn laws may not be capturing the right people

Revenge porn laws may not be capturing the right people

 

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Research has shown that 23% of young Australians have been subjected to image-based abuse.
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Terry Goldsworthy

Australia is moving quickly towards creating laws to deal with the perceived menace of revenge porn. Both the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales have recently introduced specific laws, bringing them into line with Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

But the creation of new offences may not be the panacea it is intended to be. Instead, we should focus our efforts on overcoming investigative challenges and implementing crime prevention strategies in a more practical approach.

What do we mean by revenge porn?

When it first became an issue, “revenge porn” referred to the unauthorised public release of intimate images that arose from a relationship.

However, the term is now used to capture the illegal distribution of intimate images, regardless of the relationship status between offender and victim. It also includes the use of faked nude images. Recent revenge porn offences have featured the anonymous dumping of mass images of multiple victims on the internet.

It has been argued that the act of revenge porn should be considered an extension of sexual assault, given the potential impact on victims. Indeed, the eSafety Commissioner’s office identified that:

… non-consensual sharing of private sexual images can be a form of family violence or sexual abuse.

In 2014, Israel made revenge porn a crime by drafting a new law stipulating that those found guilty of posting such content will be prosecuted as sexual offenders.

However, there are differences between those victimised by physical sexual assault and revenge porn.

ABS data from 2016 show that one in five victims of sexual assault are male. Yet recent Australian research has shown that men and women are equally likely to report being a victim of image-based abuse. The US research showed 3% of male and 5% of female internet users has suffered non-consensual image sharing.

The extent of revenge porn

A search of the Factiva media search engine using the term “revenge porn” shows that in 2012 there were eight stories in the international media. Just three years later, there were 3,176.

 

Search results for the term ‘revenge porn’ using Factiva.
Author/Factiva

 

The rise of revenge porn has been facilitated by our ability to create content and distribute it. This ability has been multiplied by professional facilitators and technology, such as porn sites hosting, which can reach much larger audiences. In 2014, at least 3,000 porn websites around the world featured the revenge genre.

A 2016 study by the US Data and Research Institute showed one in 25 online Americans has been a victim of someone posting, or threatening to post, nearly nude or nude images of them without their permission. In Australia, research has shown 23% of those aged 16 to 45 have been subjected to image-based abuse.

The new laws

Australia now has more states and territories with specific revenge porn laws than those without. Queensland, Tasmania and the NT remain without such laws.

 

Current status of specific and non-specific revenge porn laws in Australian states.
Author

 

This move to specific laws reflects overseas trends. In the US, 38 states (plus Washington DC) have criminal laws against revenge porn, with legislation pending in additional states. The UK, Canada, New Zealand and Japan are just some of the countries to adopt specific revenge porn laws. Many of these laws extend revenge porn from distribution of an intimate image to include the creation of, and threats to distribute, those images.

In 2016, 206 people were prosecuted under UK laws for revenge porn.

Data obtained from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency shows that since the implementation of revenge porn laws in 2015, until July 2017, there have been 415 reports of offences of threatening to or intentionally distributing an intimate image. Some 13% of those cases remain unsolved and 117 people have been charged under those laws.

Are existing laws sufficient?

In Australia, the current Commonwealth law to deal with revenge porn covers using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. It relies on the prosecution showing that the effect of releasing the image is that a reasonable person would regard it as being menacing, harassing or offensive.

Women’s Minister Michaelia Cash has noted:

Under this offence, there have been a number of successful prosecutions for revenge porn.

One example is the Queensland woman who was in a relationship with a married man. The relationship ended and the man returned to his wife, after which he was instructed to destroy intimate images of the victim. The man did not, and his wife posted them on Facebook. The wife was charged under the Commonwealth legislation and convicted.

WA has limited revenge porn laws for domestic relationships, using them as part of family violence restraining orders.

The WA attorney-general, Michael Mischin, argued the Victorian laws were targeting the wrong offenders:

So it’s stupidity, naivety and immaturity rather than criminality and that’s not quite what we’re driving at.

The Victorian Crime Statistics Agency data show that between June 2015 and June 2017, 23% of male offenders were aged between 10-19 years of age. Females made up 13% of offenders.

But not all states are rushing to implement specific laws, given that existing laws are adequate and those being targeted by the laws may not be those intended.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath is still examining whether existing laws needed to be strengthened.

Where to from here?

There is insufficient evidence from the current laws’ success rates to justify a move to specific laws. There has also been a failure to show how these new offences are effective in tackling other deficiencies identified in responses to revenge porn offences.

These issues include ensuring we have effective victim responses to revenge porn, such as strategies to increase ease of reporting and reduce under-reporting.

A lack of specialisation in policing responses has also been identified in various government inquiries. Additional training for police is needed to deal with complex investigations that can involve cross-jurisdictional and transnational issues.

The role of social media platforms will also be crucial to an effective response. We must differentiate between legitimate crime prevention strategies and victim-blaming in what can be a highly emotive area.

The ConversationSo, the upshot is that we need to give existing laws more time to see if they are effective before we implement new ones, and we must ensure any new laws are targeting the intended offenders.

Terry Goldsworthy, Assistant Professor in Criminology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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What you need to know about workers’ compensation

What you need to know about workers’ compensation

Steadfast / Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Illness or injury in the workplace is more common than you might think. No matter what industry you’re in, the safety of your employees is something that can’t be ignored when running a business.

According to Safe Work Australia preliminary data there were 107,355 serious workers’ compensation claims in 2014/15, which equates to 5.9 serious claims per million hours worked. The cost of work-related incidents to the Australian economy was $61.8 billion.

Most of the injuries during this time were musculoskeletal disorders, which led to 90% of serious claims – the most common were traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries (43.8%).

You must protect your business

The onus is on Australian business owners to navigate the complex world of workplace safety, which means understanding workers’ compensation requirements. Workers’ compensation insurance is compulsory for business owners in all states and territories.

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This form of insurance pays employees if they are injured at work or become sick due to their work. The payment can cover their wages if they’re not fit to work, medication expenses and rehabilitation.

Employers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that the workplace is a safe working environment, which extends to events where employers are technically off the clock, such as work Christmas parties.

Uninsured employers may still be able to claim for workers’ compensation benefits for staff in case of injury or illness, so check with your local authority. There’s lots of great information on the Safe Work Australia site.

Each state and territory has independent regulators and administrators in place to run workers’ compensation, so make sure you become familiar with your local authorities. The rules while similar differ between each state and territory.

Ways to manage the risks

Wise employers foster a health and safety culture within the workplace, providing regular communication around safety and injury management to raise awareness among staff.

This process often encourages staff to identify potential injury or illness threats. Rewarding positive contributions to health and safety in the workplace can have a significant impact on the cultural change within an organisation.

Taking immediate action after an incident to minimise effects and make sure people are supported is paramount.

Make sure your workplace has emergency response plans for evacuations and medical response systems in place. Be sure to conduct an investigation to understand how the incident occurred and document everything, including taking photos of where the incident occurred and then take steps to prevent it from happening again.

This is an area of business that’s important to take seriously. Even if you’ve dealt with this area of your business within the last six months, it’s important to revisit safety issues regularly, so make sure you schedule regular audits, and include your staff in the process.

Five steps to managing health and safety in the workplace

Efficiently managing work health and safety risks within a workplace means having a systematic approach, which involves five key elements. These are:

1. Governance: Ensure your workplace has the organisational framework, procedures, policies and processes in place.

2. Prevention: Develop specific hazard policies and procedures for your workplace.

3. Response: If a safety incident takes place, you must take steps to remove the hazard that caused it, and implement changes to stop it from happening again.

4. Managing hazards: An effective risk and hazard management methodology will allow you to identify hazards that pose a risk to your workers and resolve them before they cause injury or illness.

5. Recovery: Where a worker has been injured, the employer has responsibilities to put in place a rehabilitation management system for workplace injury or illness.

Source: Comcare.gov.au

Article found HERE at SmartCompany.com.au

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Four things Aussie entrepreneurs wish they’d known before hiring their first employee

Four things Aussie entrepreneurs wish they’d known before hiring their first employee

Emma Koehn / Friday, September 22, 2017

Karen Justice from Just for Pets holding her dogJust for Pets chief executive Karen Justice. Source: Supplied

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Those words are attributed to Bill Gates, and while Microsoft doesn’t seem to have encountered too many issues attracting top talent over the years, earlier stage businesses may well be more sceptical of his idea.

Hiring staff, especially for the first time, can be a daunting and emotional process: you typically want to avoid lazy workers and instead find the people you can trust with putting your hard work and ideas into action.

Then there’s the less exciting aspects of the process, from establishing workplace policies to creating a bulletproof recruitment process. If you’ve discovered you actually needed to hire someone yesterday, how do you make sure you’re ready to select the best candidate?

We asked startup and company founders to weigh in on what they wished they’d known before hiring their first employees.

You can’t train natural talent 

The idea of other people wanting to join your venture is exciting, says founder of Bedhead Hats Richelle Ellis, but that shouldn’t cloud your judgment when deciding whether someone is truly a suitable fit.

“Initially, I was so happy anyone would want to work for me that I settled for less-than-perfect mix of skills or experience for the role offered,” she explains.

Ellis says over the years she has found a worker can be trained in specific skills, but as a business owner, you won’t be able to grow natural talent if a candidate was never the right fit in the first place.

“The question I now ask myself when hiring is, ‘Will they do the task/s better than I currently can?’. The answer has to be yes,” she says.

When Ellis now fills a role at her baby and child sun hat business, the top questions are about what that person will add to the team, and how they will pull their own weight.

“If a hire proves not to have the natural talent for the role, it’s best for all parties to part ways and move forward,” she says.

Ask the right questions

Blisscare Health co-founder Igor Statkevitch says he has interviewed hundreds of candidates while building the aged care business. Over time, he’s has learned it’s important to go beyond the job description if you want to find people who will serve you long term.

“If I were to do it again, I would create a different set of questions to the candidates,” he says of his early days of searching for candidates.

Rather than asking interview questions that focused on hard skills, Statkevitch says it’s also important to talk to people so you can find out whether staff will be “ready for a battle to watch each others’ backs, people for a journey with integrity and humility, and people who are not afraid to go extra mile”.

Founder of online beauty retailer Adore Beauty Kate Morris agrees that finding staff to fit your values is the most important thing.

“I wish I’d known the importance of hiring for cultural fit, rather than skills or experience,” she tells SmartCompany.

“Once we got to about 25 employees, we realised it was going to be difficult to continue to be the sort of company we wanted to be without identifying and reinforcing the cultural values that were important to us.”

You should be taking the time to decide what values your staff should adhere to before you start building your team, Morris says.

Set the parameters first

“When I employed my first employee as a company owner, it was nothing like my past experiences, because I had nothing set in place,” says Karen Justice, chief executive of pet care buying group Just for Pets.

There’s a temptation to hit the ground running when you hire your first employees, but the problem with not setting up staff policies and limits first is there will be plenty of work to do later on, says Justice.

“The problem with creating rules and regulations as you go is that you identify an issue with a staff member — for example, using their mobile phone in work hours — then you have to create a policy to deal with the issue,” she says.

“Then you try and enforce it after the problem has existed for some time, and that is so hard.”

If she had her time again, Justice says when hiring for the first time at Just for Pets she would have been armed with a policy for “everything you can think of” before she started to see candidates.

If you know what the rules are before people have a chance to start establishing new behaviours, then it’s only a matter of enforcing the rules when problems come up, which is “so much easier”, Justice says.

You’re hiring your staff’s problems and perspectives, too

Tash Tan, co-founder of virtual reality agency S1T2, hired staff for the first time having only just graduated university himself.

Reflecting on his hiring processes, he believes businesses should remember there will be times that personal issues will come into the workplace, no matter who you’ve hired or how.

“Your staff and colleagues are humans, and the problems they bring to the workplace are part of being a person,” he says.

“What we perceive as a lack of productivity or disruption is more often than not a manifestation of a personal problem or state of mind.”

Chief executive of Girl Geek Academy, Sarah Moran, says startup founders also need to be prepared that their staff will bring “baggage” with them from their former roles.

“You need to retrain people from their last workplace; everyone brings cultural baggage. You need to be clear about the tone and culture you want to establish in your new operation,” she says.

Building an early stage business is “tough for founders and employees”, Moran says. She recommends founders focus on seeing their staff’s past experience and perspectives as valuable, even if your end game is creating a new and innovative environment.

“You also need to recognise that the past experience and perspective of your team members is highly valuable in offering you a fresh angle and a diverse perspective,” she says.

Tan says ultimately, a great employer will also help their staff find solutions to their problems too.

“Empathy is in a lot of ways the key to success,” he says.

Original article found HERE at SmartCompany.com.au

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Protect your business from fraud

Protect your business from fraud

Caltex / Friday, August 4, 2017

With yet another devastating cyber attack making headlines recently, managing security is top-of-mind for many business owners – and it’s not just about computer security.

With the Australian Cyber Security Centre reporting that there were 14,804 cyber security incidents affecting Australian businesses between July 2015 and June 2016, the security of all business services and the protection of sensitive information should be paramount for all SME owners in order to reduce the risk of cyber crime and fraudulent activities.

Here we talk to a cyber security and privacy expert about the importance of business security and ways you can keep all your sensitive information secure.

Michael McKinnon, an expert at leading Australian cyber security consulting practice Sense of Security, says while controlling access to business information is key, there’s also the need to classify that data.

“Businesses need to identify and understand what critical information they’re holding – they need to think laterally about how and why that data might appeal to an attacker – and take appropriate measures to treat all data according to the risk that holding it represents,” he says.

“And protecting confidential information doesn’t just mean keeping it private; there’s also the need in business to ensure the data cannot be tampered with by unauthorised parties.

“In terms of practical steps that businesses need to address, managing staff credentials is important as well as having password policies in place that govern how complex passwords need to be and how often they may need to be changed.”

He says awareness is central to avoiding the risk of fraud.

“Businesses need to be aware of any financial processes where obvious fraud can occur such as supplier payment systems, expense claims, payroll, discount vouchers, coupons and refund payments,” he says.

“More complex and less obvious examples can involve modifying stock levels in a database, or writing inventory off as damaged, but then selling it to second-hand buyers.

“Any assets that the business is in possession of that isn’t part of an asset register but that could be cashed-in quickly are at risk.”

Restricting access can reduce risk

Ensuring that only relevant staff members are approved to access company credit cards and accounts, fuels cards for the refuelling of fleet vehicles and internal databases, can reduce the risk of fraudulent activities.

Some fuel cards offer extra security in additional features that can track fuel usage and have a vehicle-specific PIN. They can also offer dedicated customer service for stolen cards.

Find out how Caltex StarCard can help protect your business from fraud.

McKinnon says keeping antivirus software up to date on office and employee computers, laptops and mobile devices should be part of a broader strategy.

“Using antivirus software can be helpful at detecting malicious software and apps, but it forms only one part of what should be a much larger strategy for protection,” he says.

“Keeping all office and employee computers and mobile devices up to date with the latest security updates, and running the latest operating system versions that have been patched against known vulnerabilities is critical.

“In the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak, for example, the devices mostly affected were Windows 7 computers that had not been updated in the preceding two months. ‘Patch management’ – the process that businesses should be employing to manage how they’re updating their computers – should be treated as a default requirement of every IT department.”

Keep it safe

The Federal Government’s Stay Smart Online initiative offers the following checklist to assist in business security and fraud prevention.

* Create cryptic passwords to ensure the online safety of your business.

* Regularly back up all your business information including accounting files, invoicing and quoting systems, letters and emails, information and resources, and even your website files.

* Stay vigilant and up to date with news on the latest scams and threats.

* Know who has access to your business information and make sure employees have their own logins and passwords. By limiting access on a need-to-know basis, you reduce the risk of an ‘insider’ accidentally or maliciously releasing confidential information.

* Ensure you have anti-virus software that is automatically updated, and don’t trust wi-fi networks you don’t control.

* When it comes to mobile phones, keep them locked when not in use in case of loss or theft. Also try to limit the business information stored on them, including email.

Original article found HERE at SmartCompany.com.au

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Queensland Police shut down three more “fake trader” barbecue websites

Queensland Police shut down three more “fake trader” barbecue websites: How to keep customers’ trust amid scam concerns

Emma Koehn / Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Queensland’s financial and cyber crimes group has shut down three more “fake trader” websites advertising barbecues and fitness equipment, three months after two Latvian nationals were arrested for their alleged roles in setting up a range of similar sites.

Australians continue to be caught out by websites advertising sales on large outdoor items like barbecues and complaints have been made to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) from shoppers who had been scammed sites promising the delivery of goods, according to Fairfax.

On Tuesday Queensland Police confirmed it had shut down three shopping websites it has identified as fake: www.barbecuecity.com.au, www.gardenoutdoorsales.com.au, and www.topmarineoutboard.com.au.

Investigations into the area of fake trader sites continue after two Latvian nationals were arrested by Queensland Police in June, after allegedly defrauding customers of $250,000 through fake shopping websites.

Fairfax reports the police do not believe the same pair are directly behind the new websites, but are considering links between the newly closed websites and so-called “fake trader” sites that have previously been uncovered.

The three sites closed this month asked for payment details from shoppers but did not deliver the advertised goods, say Queensland Police.

“Anyone who wanted to purchase these items were asked to provide credit card details and also offered a further discount if payment was made via direct bank to bank transfers. Customers who paid the money never received the equipment,”  Detective Acting Inspector Brad Hallett said in a statement.

Police advise any shoppers who believe they may have been affected by a similar scam to contact ACORN directly, and recommend only using trusted websites and those that provide buyer protection when making purchases online.

SmartCompany contacted ACORN and Queensland Police for further comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

Brand trust is key

When the issue of fake trader sites was raised by police earlier this year, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said there was “no doubt” such websites are costing small businesses money.

SMEs can be affected by these sites in a number of ways, she said, from being caught out by scammers themselves, to the effect of shoppers being reluctant to trust online shopping sites more generally.

“For a small business legitimately trading online, you don’t want any reduction in the confidence consumers have with online traders,” she said.

Director of InsideOut PR Nicole Reaney says stories like this present a significant challenge to new online sellers, because establishing brand trust can be difficult if a business enters the online market with no existing reputation.

Smaller operators can overcome these concerns by using a couple of approaches, she says.

The first is to jump on any negative news around online shopping and warn your networks that this occurs.

“Legitimate brands can embed a trusted position by communicating this consumer concern to its existing customers and encouraging them to be careful and share this information,” she says.

The second approach is to make sure there’s an opportunity for customers to connect with a real person through your business page, so customers can feel assured they are dealing with a legitimate person.

Checking in with your shoppers will ensure they feel connected throughout the process, Reaney says.

“A simple voice on the other end of the phone is enough to put minds at rest and alleviate any concerns.”
Original article found HERE at SmartCompany.com.au
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