Author: PRANJALI PANDYA
College: NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, VISKHAPATNAM
After the hit of the COVID – 19 pandemic, home is the new work place. Everything now – a – days is done through use of technology which in turn has lead to increase in the use of internet, net banking and other online transactions. This is turn no doubt have made life easy and have led to reduction of cost, changed the sophisticated economic affairs to easier, speedy, efficient and time saving method of transactions.
Various hackers have found ways to interfere with the internet accounts and have been successful in gaining unauthorized access to the user`s computer system and stole credential information.
UNDERSTANDING OF CYBER CRIME
Any kind of illegal activity with the use of computer system as its primary means of commission refers to Cybercrime. The offence is committed against an individual or group of individual or a company with the intention to harm the goodwill of the victim or cause any kind of mental or physical harm either directly or indirectly, with the use of Internet.
v Cyber Stalking: Cyber Stalking basically is behaviour wherein an individual willfully and repeatedly engages in a knowing course of harassing conduct directed at another person which reasonably and seriously alarms, or terrorizes the person. Cyber Stalking is one of the most known crimes today, since social media is the medium used. It involves person`s movements across the Internet by posting messages or threatening on the bulletin board of the victim or by constantly messaging or mailing the victim. Cyber Staling usually occurs with women, who are stalked by men.
One of the major draw of the Indian law is that this crime is not particularly being dealt with, whereas, Section 72 of the Information Technology Act states that the perpetrator of such an offense can be booked remotely for any kind of breach of confidentiality and privacy. The accused may also be booked under Section 441 of the Penal Code for the offense of criminal trespass and Section 509 of the code for outraging the modesty of the women.
Cyber defamation: This is another form of Cyber crime which is common against women in the net. This occurs when defamation and libel takes place with the help of computers and or the Internet. Any form of posting of obscene, defamatory and annoying context about the victim would lead to an offence of cyber defamation.
Morphing: This refers to the editing of the original photograph so as to make it look completely different. Often criminally minded elements of the cyber world download pictures of girls from websites such as any kind of social networking site and then morph it with another picture in compromising position so as to represent that those women were indulging in such acts. Often the next step after this is to blackmail those women victim through the threat of releasing the morphed pictures and diminishing the dignity in the society.
E – Mail Spoofing: This is the term used to describe any kind of fraudulent e-mail activity in which the sender address and other parts of the e-mail header are altered to appear as though the e-mail originated from another source. The method is used by criminal to extract any form of personal information and private pictures from unsuspecting women, these images and then use the same to harass and blackmail them.
INCREASE IN CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN
The nationwide lockdown has shown a huge amount of increase in the number of complaints on cyber crime by women, particularly sextortion during the COVID – 19 induced lockdown with “caged criminal” targeting the victim through online.
The National Commission for Women have also received many complaints on the same subject matter by women.
A WAY FORWARD
Today, such tremendous increase of crime against women is a matter of concern, hence the legislature needs to make stricter regulation for crime. Awareness over cyber culture and its draw backs also needs to be improved amongst people. Individuals need to be made aware of their rights and fraudulent websites which steal personal information. One must guard their e-mail address and must also have strong passwords. Such offences must be made non – bailable in nature. A comprehensive data protection regime must be incorporated.
Internet today is the new opium of masses in India and across the world. The increase in the number of internet users day by day has lead to huge traffic in the virtual world. The chances of falling prey to cyber crime loom large all the while, particularly in the case of women who are seen as soft targets by the cyber criminal. The types of online crime against women have increased. Hence, after the increase in the report of the cases against women, cyber crime must not be taken lightly; there is a huge need of stricter penal reforms.