Cyber Crime Against Women And Prevention

Sakshi Verma

Cyber Crime against Women and Prevention

Technology has become an important element in almost every aspect of people’s lives. It has been integrated into the educational process over and over again throughout the years and has given newer and better tools for development as well as criminality purpose. Our technology has exceeded our humanity. On such tool, Internet has provided us with a variety of information and communication facilities. Internet is used for good as well as bad purposes.  A new generation of crime has cropped up by the advent of internet and web based i.e. Cyber crime. The internet that we refer today was born in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Cyber crime is a global phenomenon. Being a victim of cyber crime could be most vulnerable experience for women. These can be extremely insulting comments. When we talk about India the society looks down upon the women. Cyber crime has been classified on the basis of nature & purpose of the offence and has been broadly grouped into three categories depending upon the target of the crime.It may be –

  1. against person – The cyber crime against person include crimes like hate messages, stalking, defamation, pornography, etc.
  2. against property- The cyber crime against property include transmission of harmful programmes, computer trespass, vandalism, unauthorised possession of Information.
  3. against government- This category of cyber crime targets the government. This category of Cyber crime is popularly known as “Cyber Terrorism”.

The cyber crime against women falls in the first category of crime i.e. against person. This crime against women can be done by two ways:-

  1. Internet crime- The internet crimes include the group of crimes that make criminal use of Internet infrastructure such as, hacking of information, password, spamming etc.
  2. Web bases crime- It can be website based such as cheating, frauds, pornography etc. Crime through e-mail such as threats, extortion, defamation, etc. use internet related crimes such as sale of pornography material, sale of stolen data, internet relay chat time such as cyber stalking, chat rooms, etc.

Amongst the various cyber crimes committed against women some crimes which specially target women are:

Cyber Stalking Or Bullying

Cyber stalking is also known as internet stalking, e-stalking and online stalking where internet can be used for harassing or threatening someone. This crime is done by electronic communication such as sending e-mails, messaging app, dating app, chat rooms or other online methods. Cyber stalking messages are different from ordinary spam. Cyber stalker targets a specific victim often with threatening messages while a spammer targets many persons with simply annoying messages.

Working to halt online abuse (WHOA) is a volunteer organization to fight online harassment through education of general public, education of law enforcement personnel and empowerment of victims. It was founded by Jayne Hitchcock in 1997. According to WHOA in 2001, 58% of cyber stalkers were men and 32% were women. In 1999, a New Hampshire woman was murdered by a cyber stalker who had threatened her in e-mail messages and posted on her website that he would kill her.

Defamation

Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person according to section 499 of IPC).

Photo Morphing & Cyber Pornography

Morphing is editing the original picture by unauthorized user or fake identity. It was founded that photo morpher used to download women or men photographs by fake users and reposted them by creating fake profiles or on their websites. Cyber criminals steal and morph pictures to threaten women and ask her for sex, money, etc.. Recently last year a man from Zirkpur posted a 30 year women morphed pictures on adult websites. Most of the celebrities go through this.

In cyber pornography women or men morphed pictures are used to make porn videos. Last year a morphed picture of a Goa minister in a pink swim suit went viral on face book leading to filing of FIR against the perpetrator. But this crime is done mostly against women. If such morphed pictures are looked very closely or with magnification we can find irregularity in the picture.

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E-Mail Spoofing

The word “spoof” means “falsify”. This is a very common method of men to email vulgar photographs, comments or videos and ask her for date or asking her charges. For example – hey should I buy you a dress or you prefer cash? A survey of 6,266 incidents of computer crimes and abuse in India during 2001-2002 shows 22% cases on misuse of e-mail.

Phishing

It is an attempt to gain information such as user name, password, sensitive information, etc.

Trolling

It happens when a member of online social community tries to disrupt or offend someone by posting some comments, photo, videos or GIFs etc. Trolls can be done for insult, debate on the post, grammar check, exaggeration, etc.

Laws for Cyber Crimes Against Women

In India, there are no any specific laws for cyber crime against women but there are some sections which deal with it:

Section 509 of Indian Penal Code talks about words, gesture or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman:

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any women, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture of object shall be seen, by such women, or intrudes upon the privacy of such women, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Section 507 of Indian Penal Code talks about Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication:

Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.

Section 499 of Indian Penal Code talks about defamation:

Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.

Section 500 of Indian Penal Code talks about punishment for defamation:-

Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both.

Section 354 of Indian Penal Code talks about punishment for stalking including cyber stalking:-

(1) Any man-

(a) Who follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or

(b) Monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking.

Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—

it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 354 C of Indian Penal Code talks about voyeurism:

Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image1 shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

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Section 67 of Information &Technology Act, 2000 talks about publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form:

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Section 66 of Information & Technology Act, 2000 talks about hacking with computer system

(1) Whoever with the intent of cause or knowing that is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hacking.

(2) Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.

66A: Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,—

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

66B:  Punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device. -Whoever dishonestly received or retains any stolen computer resource or communication device knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen computer resource or communication device, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to rupees one lakh or with both.

66C:  Punishment for identity theft -Whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine with may extend to rupees one lakh.

66D:  Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource. -Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.

66E:  Punishment for violation of privacy- Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 72 of Information & Technology Act, 2000 talks about Breach of confidentiality and privacy

Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, if any person who, in pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

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72A: Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract. -Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person including an intermediary who, while providing services under the terms of lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.

Case Study

In United States v. Machado the defendant had sent a threatening e-mail to Asian students at University of California at Irvine based on race. The defendant contended that the e-mail was send without intention of threat. But the court didn’t accept his contention and held him liable for violating federal hate crime laws.

In D.P. Choudhary v. Manjulata, the plaintiff-respondent, Manjulata, about 17 years of age, belonged to a distinguished educated family of Jodhpur. She was a student of B.A. There was publication of a news item in a local daily, Dainik Navjyoti, dated 18.12.77 that last night at 11 p.m. Manjulata had run away with a boy named Kamlesh, after she went out of her house on the pretext of attending night classes in her college. The news was untrue and was published negligently with utter irresponsibility. She was shocked & ridiculed by persons who knew her & her marriage prospects were adversely affected thereby. It was held that all defamatory words are actionable per se and in such a case general damages will be presumed. She was held entitled to an award of Rs. 10,000, by way of general damages.

In RituKohli case a perfectly married life of Ritukohli, New Delhi turned upside down, when she started receiving a number of emails from an unknown source. Initially she ignored the mails (mukut 2012). Stalker used obscene and obnoxious language, and posted her residence, telephone number and personal details on various websites inviting people to chat with her on the phone. As a result she started receiving numerous obscene calls at odd hours from everywhere, to which she got alarmed. The cyber stalker later got arrested by the Delhi police and was booked under section 509 of IPC for outraging the modesty of a woman and also under IT act of 2000. The case highlighted here is the first case of cyber stalking to be reported in India. 

In Riya Gautam case an aspiring air-hostess Riya Gautam was stabbed seven times by a youth named Adil who had been stalking her for a year and a half. He killed her because she turned down his marriage proposal. Gautam, a resident of Ram Nagar colony in Seemapuri, used to be friends with adil, a cab driver with whom she travelled to school. Eventually she came to know about his criminal background and started distancing herself from him. Gautam’s family had registered a complaint against Adil due to which he had to flee from Delhi. But on 6th July, he returned to kill her.

Conclusion

The issue of cyber crime targeted against women is on high. However, new initiatives has been taken by many organizations; such as Working to halt abuse(WHOA) has came up to deal with it, many NGOs are also coming up to deal with this. CCPWC i.e. Cyber crime prevention against women and children has been started in March 2018. The main objective of this scheme is to have an effective mechanism to handle cyber crime against women and children. Also there is Cyber Awareness Programme (CAP) whose mission is to spread awareness among women and children who are facing cyber crimes. Since, many steps has taken to fight against this violence so a positive result is expected.

Suggestion

The aim of this research is to aware women to fight against the perpetrator. The initiatives taken by organizations have helped many women with need. But this is not enough until and unless there is a specific law that can deal with cyber crimes. There are only some sections that deal with this. There is an urgent need for an implementation of laws against cyber laws.