Combating Cyber Crimes against Women

Aman Ahmad, Student of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia

Cyber Crime is a global phenomenon and with the advent of technology, cyber crime against women is on the high and it has been posing as a major threat to the reputation of a women. India is among the very few countries to enact the IT Act, 2000 to combat cyber crimes that are on the rise but issues regarding cyber crimes against women are still untouched by this act. The act has termed certain offences such as hacking and publishing of obscene materials on the net as punishable offences but the act lacks to mention specific offences against women which in turn has left a loophole in the legislation. There are various cyber crimes that happen against women, some of them are:

  1. Cyber Stalking.
  2. Cyber Pornography.
  3. Cyber Defamation.
  4. Harassment via e-mails.
  5. Morphing.

Cyber Stalking

It is one of the most talked about cyber crimes in the net world. Cyber stalking involves following a person’s movements across the Internet by posting messages (sometimes threatening) on the bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering the chat-rooms frequented by the victim, constantly bombarding the victim with emails etc. Cyber Stalking usually occurs with women, who are stalked by men, or children who are stalked by adult predators or paedophile. It is believed that Over 75% of the victims of cyber stalking are females.

Cyber Pornography

It is another great threat to the females throughout the world. Internet has provided a medium for the facilitation of crimes like pornography. Cyber porn as it is popularly called is widespread. Almost 50% of the web sites exhibit pornographic material on the Internet today. There have been quite a few cases relating to Cyber pornography in the country.

Cyber Defamation

It is a common crime that is being committed against women. It occurs when defamation takes place with the help of internet.

Harassment via e-mails

This concept is similar to harassment via letters and includes threatening, blackmailing, bullying and even cheating via e-mail.

Morphing

It is editing the original picture by unauthorised user or fake identity. It was identified that a female’s pictures are downloaded by fake users and again re-posted or uploaded on different websites by creating fake profiles after editing them. This amounts to the violation of I.T. Act, 2000 and attracts sec. 43 & 66 of thesaid Act. The violator can also be booked under the Indian Penal Code. Internet is filled with morphed photos of celebrities.

Even though Chapter XI of the IT Act, 2000 mentions various offences such as tampering with computer source documents (S. 65), Hacking with computer system (S. 66), Publishing of information which is in electronic form (S. 67), Breach of confidentiality and privacy (S. 72), etc. It does not mention any crimes specifically as against women.

The elementary problem which is associated with cyber crimes is the problem of jurisdiction because with the growing arms of cyberspace the territorial boundaries seem to vanish thus the concept of territorial jurisdiction will have to pave way for a new mechanism to solve the cyber crimes.

The women on the other hand are being discouraged due to various reasons, the most important being lack of strength to talk to the family about such problems. Majority of the women are facing harassment on the net because of the loopholes in the IT Act, 2000, lack of awareness and the problem implementation of laws. The women do not come out and speak about the problem they are facing to their families because they think that the families will not support them. This in turn boosts the confidence of the person harassing the women. The Act does not mention certain typical cyber crimes such as cyber stalking, morphing and email spoofing as offences. This creates another problem.

Women will have to know their rights and will have to come out so as to protect themselves from the predators who try and take advantage of the new age technology.

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