To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she made has made of the change in the level of sexually explicit spam during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment she has made of implications of that content on the sexual exploitation of women and girls during the pandemic.
26 March 2021
Direct marketing, which includes spam emails containing sexually explicit content, is regulated by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). The legislation is enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the independent data protection regulator responsible for regulating unsolicited emails. The legislation specifies that organisations must only send emails to individuals who have agreed to receive them, except where there is a clearly defined customer relationship. Where an individual has received sexually explicit spam, they should consider making a report to the ICO for further investigation on their website. The ICO has the powers to impose civil penalties of up to £500,000 in the case of serious contraventions of the PECR and can take other proportionate enforcement action.
Addressing Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a top priority of this Government. We have reopened the Call for Evidence for the upcoming Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy to provide members of the public with a further opportunity to share their views. We are also currently analysing responses received to the Call for Evidence so far, including from the violence against women and girls sector and law enforcement to develop a new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which will be published later this year. This will help us to better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes, and increase our ability to tackle, new and emerging forms of violence against women and girls - such as those perpetrated through digital or online, including revenge porn or sexually explicit spam.