According to recent report by the Security and Defence Agenda, a leading defence and security think-tank in Brussels, and McAfee, India is ranked fifth worldwide, in countries affected by cyber crime.
“Much of the vulnerability is explained by widespread computer illiteracy and easily pirated machines,” pointed out the report titled ‘Cyber Security: The Vexed Question of Global Rules’.
In order to protect and secure yourself, you need to first ask what is cyber crime?
Cyber crime also called Internet crime is crime committed on the Internet, using the Internet and by means of the Internet.
Computer crime is a general term that embraces such crimes as phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, Spam etc.
It is important to know about cyber stalking as well as ways to protect yourself since most of us are still illiterate where cyber laws are concerned. Majority of victims of stalking, be it online or offline, are women, which makes it that much more important to know about our Rights and these laws.
“Although there is no universally accepted definition of cyberstalking, the term is used in this report to refer to the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property. Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim’s immediate family; and still others require only that the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat. While some conduct involving annoying or menacing behavior might fall short of illegal stalking, such behavior may be a prelude to stalking and violence and should be treated seriously.”
How do Stalkers Operate
- Collect all personal information about the victim such as name, family background, Telephone Numbers of residence and work place, daily routine of the victim, address of residence and place of work, date of birth etc. If the stalker is one of the acquaintances of the victim he can easily get this information. If stalker is a stranger to victim, he collects the information from the internet resources such as various profiles, the victim may have filled in while opening the chat or e-mail account or while signing an account with some website.
- The stalker may post this information on any website related to sex-services or dating services, posing as if the victim is posting this information and invite the people to call the victim on her telephone numbers to have sexual services. Stalker even uses very filthy and obscene language to invite the interested persons.
- People of all kind from nook and corner of the World, who come across this information, start calling the victim at her residence and/or work place, asking for sexual services or relationships.
- Some stalkers subscribe the e-mail account of the victim to innumerable pornographic and sex sites, because of which victim starts receiving such kind of unsolicited e-mails.
- Some stalkers keep on sending repeated e-mails asking for various kinds of favors or threaten the victim.
- In online stalking the stalker can make third party to harass the victim.
- Follow their victim from board to board. They “hangout” on the same BB’s as their victim, many times posting notes to the victim, making sure the victim is aware that he/she is being followed. Many times they will “flame” their victim (becoming argumentative, insulting) to get their attention.
- Stalkers will almost always make contact with their victims through email. The letters may be loving, threatening, or sexually explicit. He will many times use multiple names when contacting the victim.
- Contact victim via telephone. If the stalker is able to access the victims telephone, he will many times make calls to the victim to threaten, harass, or intimidate them.
- Track the victim to his/her home.
The Indian Government passed Information Technology Act, 2000 notified on 17th October 2000 following United Nation’s adoption of the Model Law on Electronic Commerce in 1997, which was later amended in 2008 with effect on 27th October 2009. The IT Act 2008 does not address stalking. This issue is therefore dealt under “intrusion on to the privacy of individual.”
Sections, under which cyber stalking and breach of privacy are booked, are as follows:
66–A: 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 makes 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 two three years and with fine.
Section 72: Breach of confidentiality and privacy: Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person who, in pursuant of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made there under, 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.
Section 72A: Punishment for Disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract (Inserted vide ITAA-2008): 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 a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.
These provisions can be read with section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with offences related to Criminal trespass and runs as follows: Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property, or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate, insult or annoy any such person, or with an intent to commit an offence, is said to commit criminal trespass.
Cyber stalking is generally a bailable offense unless it causes severe defamation, sexual crimes, identity theft or terrorism.
Some of the functioning Government reporting agencies in India are :