JAAL shows the dreadful face of cyber crime, a revenge porn menace


New Delhi, May 4: Revenge Porn which is also called non-consensual pornography, where explicit sexual images of someone are distributed without their knowledge or consent is one of the widest known and done crime on the cyber space. The internet and social media has made harassment and stalking easy, immediate and virtually cost-free. A well known researcher describes the internet as "a force multiplier for abusive behaviour". It greatly increases the benefits of abusive behaviour, offering abusers social validation, reputational boosts and, sometimes in the case of revenge porn, money as extortion or as called ' sextortion', where the victims are also threatened & backmailed to pay in the form of sex.

A study has also found out that 90 per cent of revenge porn victims are women.Victims of online harassment are advised to just 'log off' or 'leave those sites' -- a solution that totally misunderstands the problem and takes for granted that online gendered abuse is just endemic to contemporary digital life. Infact virtual crimes should be treated in the manner of real crimes where behavioural patterns of individuals and social behaviour can be seen in totality. Whether it's for ending a relationship or rejecting unwanted attention online or simply refusing to conform to men's expectations of what they should be, women increasingly face the threat of vicious, crowd-sourced attacks on their privacy, reputation and physical safety. In India, incidents of revenge porn may not make media headlines frequently, but in a country where rape and molestation videos become viral, how safe are women from revenge porn?While revenge porn is just another option criminals have to intimidate and exact 'revenge' on women who have rebuffed them in India, the legal framework and societal conditioning is yet to convince more women to act against such crimes. For starters, there is no law in India specifically directed against revenge porn and its victims. The cyber police has to rely on the Information Technology Act 2000& ITAA ( Sec 67 & 67A) to file FIRs in these cases.
Sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act are against the publishing and circulation of what the act calls 'obscene' or 'lascivious' content. Section 67 states: "If a person publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it." Section 67A extends the law to a person "who publishes or transmits images containing a sexual explicit act or conduct".The first can land a person in jail for up to five years and/or fine the offender upto ₹ 1 lakh. For the second, the jail term is seven years and the penalty is the same. So technically transmission of such videos ( meaning sharing one's own pics) would also put you under legal scanner.
One good thing in cases of revenge porn is the victim doesn't have to be present at the police station to lodge a complaint. Someone else can do it on his/her behalf. It is significant for the victims to come forward in such cases, and report at any of their cyber cells at the nearest police stations and file and FIR which can help them not just removal of the videos through the service providers, but also mete out punishment to the perpetrators.
News24Bureau