The US Navy announced new regulations that make it a punishable offence for sailors and Marines to post nude pictures of service members online without consent.
The new regulations announced on Thursday are a direct result of the March scandal involving male Marines and sailors who posted nude photos of female Marines online.
Engaging in such activity now carries the potential for criminal charges, reported ABC News on Thursday.
“The wrongful distribution or broadcasting of an intimate image is prohibited,” under the new regulations.
“The online posting of intimate photos is considered ‘wrongful’ if done without the consent of the person in the image, and if the intent of the posting is to ‘to realise personal gain’, ‘to humiliate, harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person’,” according to new regulations.
US Navy’s chief spokesperson Rear Admiral Dawn Cutler said the new regulations provide commanders “another tool to maintain good order and discipline by holding sailors and marines accountable for inappropriate conduct in the non-consensual sharing of intimate imagery”.
The military online nude photo sharing scandal came to light in March when it was disclosed that a link to possibly hundreds of explicit photos of female Marines had been posted on the Marines United Facebook page by current or former male Marines.
While that page had 30,000 members, a subsequent review determined that only a small number of individuals were actively involved in sharing nude photos of female Marines.
The scandal led the military services to scour other websites for illicit photos of female service members that may have been posted without their consent.
General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, told a congressional committee that the sharing of explicit photos online is an example of broader cultural problems in the Marine Corps that needed to be addressed.
Neller also made an impassioned plea for potential victims of the photo sharing to step forward to help investigators.
The Marine Corps updated their social media policy to make cyberbullying a punishable offence.