With the advancement of technology the lives of people has become easier. The information and communication technology has bridged the communication gap. The Internet has revolutionised our lives in many ways. From getting the information to changing and expanding the business approach, from connecting with people to saving our time internet has definitely benefitted our lives by making it convenient and effortless. But as rightly said that every coin has two sides Internet too on one hand making our lives uncomplicated and trouble free it has open the gates for many crimes as well. It has presented opportunities for crimes through various upgraded and sophisticated technological tools. In a recent report Indians have lost approx 18 billion U.S dollars due to cyber crime in 2017, and this fact is not surprising as with the usage of 400 million people India has the second- largest Internet population in the world. According to another report approx 2000 cyber crimes cases are reported in India related to sexual harassment and approx 700 cases related to cyber bullying in 6 months which is giving a hint that women are becoming soft targets of the Cyber Crimes.
Women and children are the people who are mostly targeted to be the victims of the cyber crime. And a number of cases that are being reported daily are a proof that women and children are victimised drastically in the cyber space.
Cyber Crimes are increasing at an alarming rate in India thereby creating anguishes and apprehensions in the mind of people especially females. There are majority of cyber crimes that are happening and out of which there are various crimes that only women are becoming victims of, some of these are :
Cyber stalking is a type of cyber crime in which the person tries to get the information of the person he/she is interested in, through their social profiles with the help of online medium. Women are the major preys of cyber stalking. The online interaction provides for anonymity thereby reducing the chances of knowing the anonymity of the stalker. Therefore he can be anyone, sitting in a completely different city, country, neighbour and even your relative. This is the reason why cyber stalking is more common than physical stalking. The stalker usually follows a person’s movement online, tries to get as much as personal details of that person by being an imposter or trickster, Bombards the victim with emails or texts, in turn causing victim emotional and mental distress.
Cyber defamation (also known as cyber smearing) is when a person writes something libellous for some other person in social media platform. It includes both libel and defamation. Person either posts some defamatory information or comment about the other person or circulates such things in the victim’s friend circle or group. It can be termed as the infringement of another person’s right to have a good name intentionally.
Morphing is one of the most common Cyber Crimes. It is intentional obscene modification in a picture of a person. The criminal generally edits the picture to misuse it. The person indulged in morphing usually downloads the picture from social media websites and either uploads the anonymously on sites or uses the picture to get them registered.
Cyber pornography means publishing, distributing and or designing the pornography with the usage of cyber space. There are various Acts and laws made in this regard by the government and child pornography is clearly banned too but internet is a vast world and the things which people can’t to legally have found the way of doing illegally.
Phishing is termed as an attempt o get access to someone’s private information such as- email and password of any social site.
Laws related to Cyber Crimes
Considering the earnestness and gravity of the situation many laws are made in this regard in IPC 1860 and IT Act 2000. The provisions in IPC are-
- Section 354 D of IPC describes stalking in any form weather physical or through online means as a criminal offence. The case under section 499 of IPC can also be filed by the victim that talks about defamation. However stalking for some purposes is allowed up to a certain extent for the purpose of detecting and preventing a crime. However the state entrust a particular person for such acts.
- Section 354A provides punishment for sexual harassment with 3 years of imprisonment and/or fine, whereas Section 354C talks about voyeurism which is defined as capturing and disseminating the image of a woman engaged in her private act without her consent. 3 years of conviction for the first time and 7 years of conviction for the second time along with fine is mentioned in the section.
- Section 503 talks about criminal intimidation and defines it as threats made to any person with injury to her reputation, either in order to cause alarm to her, or to make her change her course of action regarding anything she would otherwise do/not do. For both section 503 and 499 the imprisonment is of 2 years and/ or fine.
- Section 509 safeguards the person from any verbal abuses due to his/her gender. Whereas Section 507 provides punishments for the acts of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication which may extend to 2 years.
- Section 228a of IPC punishes a person for vindictive posting the images and videos of rape victims.
The provisions of IT Act 2000 are-
- Section 67 deals with the publication or transmission of obscene material in electronic form. In 2008 child pornography and retentions of records by intermediaries were included in the section.
- Section 66A provides punishment for sending offensive messages through any means of communication for causing indignation and annoyance, or sending emails to deceive or mislead the person commonly known as email spoofing. The person doing such acts can be punished for 3 years.
- Section 66B prescribes punishment for fraudulently receiving the stolen computer’s resource or device which is imprisonment up to 3 years and fine for 3 lakhs or both
- Section 66C deals with identity theft which is using some other person’s information such as electronic signatures and passwords.
- Section 66 D- cheating by personation using any computer’s resource or communication device. The punishment for this offence may extend for up to 3 years and fine which may extend up to 1 lakh.
- Section 66E and F talks about breaching the privacy by publishing or posting any private picture of any person through online means and Cyber terrorism thereby threatening the integrity and unity of the person (also nation) respectively.
- Section 72 stipulates punishment for breach of privacy and confidentiality and section 72A deals disclosure of personal information of any person in a lawful contract.
The traffic in the cyber world is increasing day by day and so the chances of becoming its prey. Women are a soft target or more vulnerable to men at some points. The crimes rates are increasing day by day and daily a woman either gets trolled, got stalked, or gets harassed in online platform. Government has made certain laws to combat the crimes but these laws are needed to be constantly evaluated. The other important thing is that women on their part need to be vigilant. They should be cautious while uploading anything on social media, they should be conscientious while adding anyone on social platforms or giving their number. By taking certain precaution not only women but also men will be saved from such practices. We should all be more hideous and painstaking while using internet. The more we spend online without knowing the perils of this world the more vulnerable we will become. We should remember – “Cyber Security is much more than a matter of IT”.
“The views of the authors are personal“