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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Cyber Crime Against Women

Introduction:

Cyber Crime is a crime in which digital technologies, communication technologies, the internet is used in the commission of offenses.[1] The area where the internet is used is known as cyberspace. Cyberspace is a broad term as it includes internet, electronic devices like mobile phones, computers, data storage devices, ATMs, etc. The laws dealing in this area are called cyber laws. No act or regulation of India defines the term Cyber Crime. 

The Oxford dictionary defines it as the “crime that is committed using the internet, for example, by stealing somebody’s personal or bank details or by infecting their computer with a virus.[2] Few common examples of Cyber Crime are child pornography, online transaction fraud, cyberstalking, etc. In India, the Information Technology Act, 2000 is dealing with such types of offenses. Cybercrime is divided into four categories[3]:

1. Against person: Cyberstalking, impersonation, breach of privacy, defamation, harassment, hacking, fraud, cheating, etc.
2. Against property: Copyright, stealing information and data, computer vandalism, computer trespassing, siphoning of funds from financial institutions, etc.
3. Against society: Child pornography, child trafficking, online gambling, forgery, financial crimes, etc.
4. Against government: Hacking of government websites, cyber terrorism, cyber extortion, etc.

Cybercrime against women:

1. Cyberstalking: 

The term stalking means to consistently follow a particular person over a period of time, such activity might also involve threatening behavior or harassment, identity theft, or any other form of repeated offensive behavior.[4] It is a crime where there is an involvement of two people. The stalker is the person committing the crime and the victim is the one getting stalked. The targets of such crimes are mostly women and children. It can be explained as an act to follow a person’s movement across the internet through various methods like emails, phone calls, chat-rooms on various platforms, etc. The intention behind such activity may be an obsession for love, hate, revenge, harassment, etc. The acts dealing with such offenses are the Information Technology Act, 2000(Section 72, 67, 67A), and the Indian Penal Code, 1860(Section 354D, 499).

2. Cyber pornography: 

It is a global problem that involves publishing, distributing, or designing pornography by using cyberspace. The easy availability of the internet has helped people view pornographic content online. The IT Act prohibits the production and distribution of pornography, making the spreading of pornographic content on any electronic means an offense. Such content is difficult to delete the content from every device as it gets spread widely. Victims of such offenses suffer for a lifetime of re-victimization as the content will be on the internet forever. In many cases, the offenders blackmail the victim by threatening to post such content again. The acts dealing with such types of offenses are the Information Technology Act, 2000(Section 67, 67A, 67B), The Indian Penal Code,1860 (Section 292, 293), Indecent Representation of Women’s Act, 1986, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (Section 13, 14, 15).

3. Cyberbullying:

 This is a type of bullying where the victim is bullied albeit electronic means. It can include threats, sexual remarks, spreading rumors, etc. The term bullying means a form of harassment where the superior influence is used to intimidate a person to do something which he wouldn’t do otherwise. The victim goes through a lot of emotional damage as it leads to anxiety, stress, insecurities, etc.

4. Cyber defamation: 

It occurs when a person defames another using any form of electronic mode. The publication of such a statement is a requisite for such an offense. It means publishing a false statement about an individual in cyberspace which causes injury to the person’s reputation. The Indian Penal Code (Section 499, 500, 469) deals which such cases. The Information Technology Act, 2000 dealt with such offenses but after the case of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India[5] section 66A was quashed by the Supreme Court.

5. Online harassment: 

It can involve sexual harassment which is unwanted contact of a personal nature or other act based on unwanted contact or an act based on sex affecting the dignity of men and women at work. [6] The acts which can constitute of online harassment are public actions or threats, false accusations of defamatory nature, sexual remarks, humiliate a person to gang up against him, etc.[7] It can be done by the way of emails too. The offender regularly sends offensive emails; it can be committed easily by creating fake emails. The acts dealing with such offenses are the Indian Penal Code,1860 (Section 354A, 292A, 499), and Information Technology Act.

6. Sextortion: 

It occurs when someone threatens to distribute private and sensitive material using any form of an electronic device if the victim does not provide images of sexual nature, any sexual favors, or money. It is a form of blackmail. Such offenses can be done by a known person or even strangers in some cases. The National Commission for Women (NCW) has recorded a rise in such complaints and the number has doubled during the lockdown.

7. Morphing:

 Photo morphing is when a user edits an original picture and later uploads them. It’s usually morphed in a way that the original picture is hard to recognize. This crime is used to blackmail the victim and even destroy the image of the person. The offender downloads the images from various social media platforms which are later edited and made in a sexually explicit image. The acts dealing with such offense are the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 292), and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 67).

Prevention:

There are some steps that can be taken to prevent such offenses online. The Internet allows connecting with people from all around the world. Some individuals will try to gain your trust to acquire some personal information or photographs etc. Therefore, a simple trick is to be cautious of the possible outcomes of your actions online and not give any chance for the commission of an offense to such individuals. Another step that can be taken to avoid such circumstances is to check the settings of the social media accounts. Few platforms give access to change these settings so that the personal information is not visible to strangers. Two-factor authentication and good passwords can also prevent a few of these offenses.
The evidence of harassment, stalking should be kept by saving messages, printouts, and screenshots as such pieces of evidence can be hidden simply. It can also be prevented by not sharing personal information in online public spaces or with strangers. If such a crime takes place, the same can be reported to the nearest police station or help can be taken from any online help agency.

Conclusion:

Technology is considered a precedence, but these crimes create an existing menace. The increase in the use of the internet has given people a lot of space to commit wrongful acts. The communication has been made easier due to the increase in accessibility of the internet. However, such convenience comes with a catch. The effortless exchange of information and data over the internet has brought an increase in such cases against women. Many cases are not even reported due to the social stigma attached to it. The data of NCW show that the lockdown has resulted in the increase of cybercrime cases against women.

[1]https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/175612/9/09_chapter1.pdf
[2]https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/cybercrime
[3 http://thecyberius.com/blog/an-introduction-to-cyber-laws/
[4]http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1048-cyber-stalking-in-india.html
[5]Shreya Singhal v. Union of India , (2013) 12 S.C.C. 73.
[6]http:www.mindspring.com~techomomharassed
[7]https://blog.ipleaders.in/cyber-stalking/

The blog is authored by Yukta Kamra, student of UPES, Dehradun. 

8 thoughts on “Cyber Crime Against Women”

  1. Well written Yukta!

    I have one question though. How do you think we can solve the problem, or start solving the problem? Is this part of your research as well which you're currently working on?

    I ask because I didn't find that in the blog, so I thought maybe this is ongoing research and you may update the blog further.

    Peace!
    once again, Nice work done!

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