“Online stalking -An offence ”
by Pallabi Paul:-
As the invention of new technologies are comming,the use of internet is increasing and India is considered to have reached the top as one of the country where internet users are more,similarly harassment of the women in cyber world are also rapidly growing leading to create unsafe environments for women.A survey conducted by the feminist relating to harassment of women which shows that 50% of the women population in major cities of India have faced online harassment .What is more striking is that instance of online stalking against men are on surge.
Online Harrasment also encompasses sexual harassment as defined under Sec 2(n).of Sexual Harrasment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,Prohibition and Rednessal Act 2013 .
Online stalking includes :-
-Public action or threat,
-Personally targeting the victims of crime.
-Publish material so as to defame a person
-False accusation of defamatory nature.
Hacking or vandalizing sites of victim
-Ridicule or to harras a person in order to gang up against him or her
Definition of Online stalking or cyber stalking ~
Cyber Stalking is defined as a criminal activity or an unlawful activity ,where person uses internet or computer system or mobile phone and any other electronic communication device to stalk another person .
The offenders make use of social media,chat room ,instant messaging or any other online media to
harrass people.The perpetrators are involved in the destruction of data or equipments ,solicitation of minors for sexual purpose ,threats or any other form of offensive behavior committed repeatedly.
Penalty for online stalking or stalking under different law like Indian Penal Code 1860 as well as Information Technology Act 2000
Under Sec 354 of Indian Penal Code which was lastly amended by Criminal Amendment Act 2013 defined stalking as an offence which includes when a person follows the movement of other person or monitors his activity in order to harrass him or in order to interact with him despite the repeated rejection of the person concerned to contact him or abuses the victims or monitors him by using internet ,email or any other electronic communication or watches or spies a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence ,or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person ,or interferes with the mental peace of the person ,commits the offence of stalking.
Sec 72 of IT Act 2008 is used to deal with the offence of stalking which is read as follows
Any person who in pursuant of any of the powers conferred under this Act ,rules regulation made thereunder ,has secured access to any electronic record,book,document,information,correspondence ,information,document or other material
Sec 67 prohibits and punished with imprisonment extending up to three years and fine for the first conviction and to five years and fine for the second conviction the publication,transmission and causing of transmission and causing of transmission of obscene content .
Sec 67A has culled out a special category called material containing sexually explicit act .The publication,transmission and causing of transmission and causing of such transmission of such material is punishable with imprisonment extending up to five years and fine for the first conviction and and seven year imprisonment and fine for second conviction .
Sec 82 Without the consent of the person concerned .
Information Technology Act provides that notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code 1973,the Act provides procedure to lodge a complaint in case any kind of Cyber Stalking or offences committed to the Police not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police,or any other officers of Central Government or any other officers of State Government authorized by the Central Government in the behalf may enter any public place and search and arrest the person who is directly or indirectly related to the place ,without warrant of Court and has cognizance whom they suspected and reasonable doubt that he has committed an offence
Cyber crimes can be reported in any city of the state irrespective of the place where it is committed.
Cyber cells– Cyber cells are considered as the redressal mechanism where any offence occurs in cyber world can be reported and subsequently they go for enquiries of the matter .It is established to provide remedy to the victims of Cybercrime .These cells functions as the Criminal Investigation Department of the offence of cyber world ,where the crimes are committed by means of inter4 ,I’m the computer system or computer network .People can also go for filing F.I.R in the Police Station of the locality ,where there is no cyber cell in the locality ,as well as can file complaint to judicial magistrate or metropolitan judicial magistrate or the commissioner in case the Police Officer or the Officer in charge f the Police Station refused to lodge FIR against the accused of Cyber offences irrespective of the jurisdiction.
Online Grievance Redressal – With the increase in cyber crime against women lead to such a situation that National Commission for Women as well as State Commission for Women receives the complaint by the Women related to stalking .The Commission takes up the matter with the Police and expedited the investigation .In case of serious offence ,they set up an enquiry committee to take up the matter and probe into it ,conduct spot enquiry,take evidence,examine witnesses summon accused,and police record for further investigation.
The Commissions received the complaint through online form and it plays an important role in this matter
Report to the website -Most of the social media websites where the users makes their account provide the mechanism of reporting .The website are obliged under IT intermediary Guidelines rules 2011 to act within 36 hours of disabled information relating to the illegal content .The intermediary shall have to preserve such information and associated records for at least ninety days for investigation purpose.The effected person can bring to the knowledge of the intermediary relating to the offending content which is hosted,stored and or published on his computer system in writing or through mail with electronic signatures.
Report to CERT – The Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 has designated the Computer Emergency Response team (CERT ) as the national nodal agency for tackling the issue occurring in tow with computer secret threats.They issue guidelines on the procedure ,preventing,reporting ,response to cyber incidents among other functions.
As the other crimes against women are increasing similarly cyber stalking is a serious offence increasing rapidly day by day ,
Every individual of the country has right to privacy under Art 21 of Indian Constitution,stalking or cyber stalking is an offence which violates the right as guaranteed under Indian Constitution.
How to avoid cyber stalking ?
In order to prevent ourselves from cyber stalking it is better to take preventive measures rather than to get cure or to suffer by getting harrased .This guidelines will enable people to enjoy all the benefits of communication device with remaining completely safe.
Update your software -Updating the software is required for protecting not only from cyber stalking but also from other various cyber offences and is considered crucial when it comes to preventing information leaks.This are specifically important for mobile where many important data and information are stored ,even many contact numbers are stored ,and track the location of victim.There are numerous cases where cyber stalking begins when attacker pays someone to hack the phone or email and collects the information which they spread or disclose it for harnessing the victims.
Keep the profile low -Another way to keeping low online profile though it is difficult but better ,we should avoid posting the personal information like address ,email id or phone number and think carefully before updating about the present real time information such as where we are .In some cases its completely impossible to avoid revealing personal information connecting with people whom we don’t know for example on dating websites.For this reason its better to stick with popular websites and do some research about a suiter before revealing personal information or meeting someone in person or report any activity which we feel uncomfortable to sites administrator
Avoid disclosing sensitive information -Surprising people are disclosing their personal information besides in the social media websites in order to get coupon ,filling up questionnaire in such situations we are taking risk by getting controlled by someone hand of our personal data and possibly making cyber stalking more accessible.
Hide the IP address -There are many applications and services which discloses the IP address to the person with whom we are communicating whether known or unknown ,this provides an opportunity to the cyber stalker to initiate from the IP addresses only of the victims and they use the IP address to find the credit data or the physical location .To hide the IP address a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is there which can be used by the users which can protect the users from leaking the personal information and can replace the physical location of the user to the others .