In todays world technology plays a key role in everyone’s life. More than half of the population are in a habit of using computers and internet and other devices which are most commonly used are social media sites (Facebook), chat rooms, skype, WhatsApp, Dating sites etc. At one side of the coin the digitalization has enhanced the system of India in all terms such as economy, education, governance etc., but at second it brought cyber-crimes also in India at large number. Children which are too inquisitive about the world of internet joins in without any information about the ill effects and harms which can be done to them over internet. Now-a-days, perpetrators are gradually misusing Cyber platforms for harassing women and children in cyber spaces and abuse women and children for voyeuristic pleasures in India. Women and children are mostly targeted for cyber stalking, harassment, extortion, blackmail, etc.
The Women often trust perpetrators or abuser and share their personal information which results numerous cybercrimes. Many times, perpetrators get a chance to harass, abuse, blackmail etc. the woman and children more because they are unaware about the procedure of filing a complaint. Massive awareness needs to be created among women and children regarding the safe use of Mobile Phones, Computers and the Internet. From last few decades cyber crimes rates are hiked up as the number of users have joined the cyber spaces.
Women and children are victimized at higher rate in cyber spaces as compared to men. Predator consider it easy to harass a child or woman as they are easy target sending obscene e-mails, stalking women and children by using chat rooms, websites etc. A large number of those women and children are not aware about the steps taken if they have been a victim of cyber crime. The high rates of crimes in cyber spaces show how negligent one can be while using internet especially young age children how care less about the consequences of their actions.
There are many types of cyber crimes that can be committed and women and children can be victims of such crimes, Some of them are mentioned below.
• Cyber stalking – cyber stalking is when someone use internet or other electronic devices to harass an individual or a group of people. It is the most common type of cyber crime . According to a report 4 out 5 cases of cyber stalking are against women this shows that they are more prone to danger. When some one harass you or torment you or threatens you online by keeping an eye on you he is committed cyber stalking. Examples include covertly following a person’s online activities, sending threats, and/or constantly subjecting the victim to unsolicited messages, emails etc. As per past incidents and surveys, cyber stalkers usually target women in the age group of 16 to 35. The motives behind cyberstalking range from romantic obsessions and ego, to sexual harassment and revenge.
• Cyber pornography- The act of using cyber space to create, display, distribute, import or publish pornography or obscene material especially depicting women and children. It is the most dangerous threat to women and children in the cyber world. This includes adult websites as well magazines produced/published/printed using computers. Women are increasingly using social networking platforms to publish and share personal images. This has only fueled the incidents of cyber pornography involving women. It is a cakewalk now for crooks to download their images and/or videos and misuse them to produce adult content. Cyber pornography can leave indelible psychological and emotional scars on women and can tarnish their images forever.
• Cyber defamation– publishing defamatory information about someone using electronic media is cyber defamation. Perpetrators usually post defamatory matter about the victim by hacking his/her social media account or under the disguise of the victim’s fake profile. The fake profile contains all relevant information about the victim that makes it appear like a genuine one! Once again, most cyber defamation victims are women and inflicting mental trauma and agony are the main motives.
• Doxxing– A term not much heard of, doxxing is fast emerging as one of the most sinister cyber crimes against women. Doxxing is the act of sharing personal information or documents online without the owner’s consent. Often due to sheer ignorance, women end up becoming the victims of doxxing when miscreants share their personal information such as name, address, phone numbers, spouse/children’s names, and email IDs while they are completely oblivious to it! The information is further misused for prolonged harassment, prank calls, and even death threats!
• Morphing– it is a crime when the predator edit the original picture and misuse it for unethical purposes. They download pictures from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
All these crimes prevailing in the cyber space harassing women and children are major issues in cyber world. Some laws to prevent and punish these cybercrimes are made though India does not have any specific law for cybercrimes but these laws comes under information technology act 2020.
• Section 66A- sending offensive messages through communication services which harasses an individual sending deceiving emails are covered under this section. The punishment for the same is three years of imprisonment or fine.
• Section 66E – Privacy violation publishing or transmission of private area of any person without his or her consent. Punishment for the same is 3 years of imprisonment or 2 lakhs rupees fine or both.
• Section 67 – It deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.
• Section 72: It gives punishment for breaching privacy and confidentiality.
Like these there are many other laws which deals with different kinds of cyber crimes. IPC also contains laws related to cybercrimes to maintain cyber security.
It’s high time to take necessary actions to suppress cyber crimes in the digital world. Women and children are need to be saved from these vicious crimes. Every one has a role to play be it government or citizens. There is an need to spread awareness among every section of society so they can understand the situation and when the need comes they face it with courage especially women and children who are more prone to such danger. The police and the government, both have their parts to play, but these cyber-crimes will downcast only when legal steps are accompanied with woman awareness to bring a shift in the mentality of the society at large. we can fight cyber crime by being aware of the things we use over internet and by taking every possible precautions which we can take. Together we can conquer this evil and could provide a safe cyber space for women and children.