Thus, before writing any sexual statements to another individual, Scots will be expected to obtain their permission. A simple call will suffice with an inquiry “whether you would mind if I sent you an indecent line or two.”
The law appears wildly ambiguous and vague. It would be struck down on that ground in the states, but Scots may have a better understanding of what is indecent. The law reportedly will take effect this year according to the article below.
A commission report for England and Wales addresses this category of crime. It notes that the previous common law rule made it a crime to perform “any indecent activity in such a place or way that more than one member of the public may witness and be disgusted by it.” That is an astonishingly low standard that could encompass protected speech and art. In his time, Van Gogh would have been dead meat in the United Kingdom. The commission sought to reduce prosecutions by emphasizing a scienter or intent requirement to eliminate inadvertent or negligent acts. This does not do nearly enough, however, to address the impact on what should be considered protected speech, in my view.