Feds eye sexting, cyber violence strategy

Marc Serré says the committee recently made the recommendation to government because crimes involving the non-consensual sharing of images are becoming more common.

As sexting and non-consensual sharing of images becomes more common, committee recommends nationwide strategy

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré says it's not easy writing up legislation for cyber laws when most social media sites are located outside of the country. (webwise.ca)

A new federal education strategy may be released in the coming weeks to tackle sexting and cyberviolence.

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré is part of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women that made the recommendation because crimes involving the non-consensual sharing of images are becoming more common.

"It's something that we need to do better as a federal government to play a leadership role across the country to support provinces as they deal with this issue," Serré said. "At this point, there is no federal strategy."

Cyberbullying not easy to legislate, MP says

In December, a report from Statistics Canada said almost one in every five young Canadians — about 1.1 million people — has been a victim of cyberbullying or cyberstalking.

Recently, a Sudbury woman came across a Facebook group describing alleged Instagram direct messages called "Poon Platoon" that apparently shared hundreds of pictures of women received all over Sudbury, including nudes and links to their social media profiles.

Serré said one of the biggest challenges when it comes to creating legislation in this area is working with social media companies. Most, he said, aren't based in Canada.

"Twitter came to our committee, but Facebook didn't," Serré said. "We tried to have them come in, but it didn't work. It's something that we have some enforcement [over], but we're trying to see ways to have the social media companies [become] more responsive to dealing with these issues."

Serré acknowledged that while Facebook didn't address the committee directly, it submitted a report outlining the company's safety and public education efforts. 

Serre added his committee is also exploring whether the Criminal Code should explicitly include cyberviolence and online harassment.

Serré expects a federal strategy to be released sometime over the next few weeks.

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