Representational Image

The senate adopted on its first reading a bill that would make passing or disclosing an image or video of another “identifiable” person in the “nude” or “engaging in sexual conduct” without those people’s consent a crime, a violation of privacy under 17 PNC Section 4413.

The bill would also make “Cyber-bullying” a crime under Title 17, Chapter 44, of the Palau National Code.

The legislative findings of the bill states that high speed broadband have “altered our everyday lives”but as with “any new way of life, the powerful tools of the internet can be used for harm.”

The bill emphasized that by criminalizing the unconsented release of pornographic material, it does not mean that it supports “consented release” of such materials either.

It states that it addresses the lack of consent of such materials which “magnifies the crime from one against our society at large and its essential morals to a specific action harming a specific individual whose life is ruined after the release of undignified content.”

The bill calls the person who releases such unconsented material as a “sexual predator”.  The “releaser of this material as more than just a purveyor of filth –he or she would now be a sexual predator”, states the bill findings.

Furthermore, the bill calls for the “sexual predators who would willfully release this material – shall be jailed and fined to such an extent that this behavior will be deterred.”

Moreover, the bill would make “cyber-bullying” a crime, a misdemeanor.

Cyber-bullying is defined in the bill as “using electronic communication devise to …intimidate or torment a person” such as using a fake profile, pose as a person in a chat room, pose as that person in an electronic mail message or instant message, post or encourage others to post on the internet “private, personal or sexual information pertaining to a person without that person’s consent or “following a minor online” amongst others.

The bill extensively defines acts using all forms of internet communication to intimidate, torment, threaten or hurt a person as cyber-bullying.

The bill was introduced by senators Jerrlyn Uduch Sengebau Senior, Regis Akitaya, Elias Camsek Chin, Rukebai Inabo, and Mason Whipps.  (By L.N. Reklai)