Tag: cyber crime against women

Gender and Internet : Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for October 20th-31st, 2019

WhatsApp sues Israeli firm accusing of hacking phones of activists. Several women, who were already victims of online violence including rape threats, online misogyny etc, are also affected
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/29/whatsapp-sues-israeli-firm-accusing-it-of-hacking-activists-phones

Katie Hill, the U.S. Representative becomes victim of online exploitation and non consensual porn. Hill’s private images with a staffer get leaked infringing her privacy.
https://news.yahoo.com/kamala-harris-defended-representative-katie-143000147.html

Fake dating site which was victimizing men, was found to be engaging women for alluring men for the site. These women were promised high financial rewards if they could allure men and trick them into depositing money to meet women as proposed through fake profiles.
https://www.yovizag.com/vizag-cybercrime-police-fake-dating-website-case/

Woman crew brings law suits against two US pilots for allegedly committed voyeurism in 2017 by placing hidden camera in the lavatory of the flight. The images were streamed in the cockpit
https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/southwest-airlines-pilots-allegedly-hid-camera-in-toilet-then-streamed-video-to-the-cockpit-2123450?fbclid=IwAR2JU5Y50YIxsCJ8ok4cIUR9ZK6K2631nDHkQgApluUQO3OmYoS63trdcCI

Australian law makers follow UK to use Facial Recognition tool to prevent children from accessing porn contents.
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/10/australia-wants-to-use-face-recognition-for-porn-age-verification/?fbclid=IwAR0vXJk_4h3k8a3E01jJ8repCwM0Gd_HaSkvw-8ogHAV0JAg2bIxqMuXCsY

Porn Hub, one of world’s biggest porn sites is being flooded by voyeur, non consensual porn images of women and girls that are captured using hidden cameras. Site users are using keywords such ‘hidden camera’ to access more voyeur and non consensual porn contents
https://jezebel.com/hidden-camera-clips-popped-up-on-pornhub-and-the-proble-1839414523?utm_medium=sharefromsite&fbclid=IwAR1lGgFZDmginVuP9jIwxWOp4RR8NHp_pmKqiCSuX-wUsOPdrwCuSEskuII

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Gender and Internet: Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for September 16-24, 2019

Man in Derbyshire uploads distributes breast pictures of his neighbor who borrowed the computer to upload the pictures for medical purposes. while returning the computer, she forgot to delete them.Accused shared the pictures because he was allegedly irritated by the victim. The court convicted the accused of revenge porn. Held that the pictures were not captured by the accused for sexual purposes, but were distributed for taking revenge. The court, which took note of the victim’s distress condition, ordered the accused is ordered two months prison sentence, 80 hours of unpaid work and restraining order prohibiting him to connect with the victim.
https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/derby-man-sent-revenge-porn-3280054

Pornhub owner earns money from the revenue generated through advertisements, rejects the claim that they allow revenge porn contents on their websites. But the reality is different. Victims state even police can not help in preventing uploading of revenge porn in such websites and detecting the perpetrators. Website liability is questioned.
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49583420

India raises alert over need for a new legislation to combat cyber crimes against women as several women , including nuns are defamed via social media.
https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/cybercrime-womens-panel-calls-for-stricter-punishment/article29434022.ece

Nigerian man arrested in India for duping women, through impostering profiles of wealthy people
https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/nigerian-man-in-delhi-posed-as-wealthy-foreigner-cheated-women-jailed-2103379

Gender and Internet: Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for August 21-31, 2019

Cyber flashing ( sending unsolicited sexually explicit contents through apps and through emails etc to women and and men) is now being considered as an illegal offence under Texas laws.
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/nation-world/texas-and-bumble-crack-down-on-cyber-flashing/65-fd49bf52-28f2-4d48-8ef7-328df0662eaf

Spanish police arrests man for upskirt photography. He who had been capturing under wears of women commuting in trains by placing spy cam in the backpack and placing the bag on the ground. He uploaded these pictures captured without consent in adult sites and they were watched over million times. A total of 555 women were identifiable in these videos.
https://www.news18.com/news/world/man-arrested-in-spain-for-upskirting-over-500-women-posting-videos-online-2279241.html

Nigerian man who ran a racket for drugging, raping and stealing mobile phones and valuables of women allured through social media, tells the police that he had to do this because he did not have any decent job.
https://www.newtelegraphng.com/2019/08/why-i-lure-ladies-to-hotel-drug-rape-them/

Astronaut alleged to have unauthorisedly accessed back account of her estranged female spouse while on space. Time to rethink about expanding the jurisdiction of internet laws
https://interestingengineering.com/top-nasa-astronaut-accused-of-first-cybercrime-in-space

Two women plead guilty in disseminating, teaching and planning to create mass destructive weapons to create jihad attacks in the US over cyber space
https://saraacarter.com/two-women-from-queens-charged-with-plans-to-make-weapon-of-mass-destruction/

Man gets arrested for extortion for Rs. 12.96 Lakhs, sextortion and impersonation targeting woman in Hyderabad in India
http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2019/aug/27/chennai-man-held-for-cyber-bullying-2024899.html

Pakistan court rejects bail for woman accused of rape video case who would allure women to be raped by her husband. She is accused of filming the rape scenes and blackmailing the victims with the captured contents.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/2043800/1-court-denies-bail-woman-rape-video-case/

3 ways how Artificial Intelligence may make women land in trouble by Dr.Debarati Halder

Image curtsy : Google

Information communication technology and digital communication technology have opened up new vistas for human relationships. The innovative technology with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can now read minds,[1] predict illness,[2] predict crime occurrence,[3] enhance the professional and social network, and help in better analytical understanding of subjects. But it can also leave devastating impacts on human life. It can alter the data (including personal data), harm social reputation and can even instigate victims to take extreme steps like committing suicide.[4] All these may be done by positive and negative usage   of artificial intelligence which plays the base role for empowering Apps which in turn may be used for positive and negative usages.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used by web companies like Facebook for facial recognition of users earlier. AI has also been used for companies (other than web companies) for processing employee data. In short, AI has been used to access private information of individuals either consensually or without consent. Here are three ways as how AI may create an uncomfortable situation for women specifically in India :

  1. Facial Recognition Apps and harassment of women: Remember the time when Facebook suddenly started asking for nude photos individuals for upgrading their own safety system apparently for providing safety mechanisms for subscribers?[5] This project was intended to build up a safety mechanism against revenge porn with the help of Artificial Intelligence. Facebook wanted to empower their subscribers, especially women to report revenge porn. But before that, the company wanted to ensure that the revenge porn content showcased the image that belonged to the victim specifically. The facial recognition app, the skin texture, hair color, biometric recognition technology would be matching both the images (the nude picture of the victim and the revenge porn content created by the perpetrator) and would be identifying the revenge porn content as illegal. But this project received stern objections because there were more possibilities of misuse of nude photos than positive use of the same. Facebook -Cambridge analytica case did prove that nothing is impossible when it comes to preservation of data by body-corporates and data of individuals is always profitable and the security of the  same is vulnerable. But this may not seem to be as dangerous as misuse of Face App may seem to be . FaceApp is basically used to change the face structure of the person whose photograph would be used in this App. It can change the texture of the skin and density of hair including facial hair.  In July, 2019, FaceApp became the center of concern for Indian cyber security stakeholders especially when several celebrities started using FaceApp and started showcasing their changed faces on Instagram.   While FaceApp was basically being used for fun purposes, it may also throw challenges for data safety and security of person concerned. FaceApp helps to change the structure of faces. But we should not forget that the altered facial image can be saved in devices and cloud of different individuals. This altered image may be used for several illegal activities. Predators may unauthorizedly access the social media profiles and change facial images of the victims to create fake profiles; they may also use such images to create a completely new impersonating profile to harass women. Altered facial images of women may also be used for revenge purposes especially when the victim is looking for opportunities in the entertainment or advertisement sector where her appearance may be considered as her biggest asset. Apart from this, FaceApp may be used to attract bullies and trolls to intensify victimization of women.
  2. Bringing back the memory: No one, but the web companies clearly remember what we posted in last summer. Every day social media companies would show what was posted by the user a year back or a couple of years back and would gently remind the user that he/she can share the said post as a memory. How does it happen? The web companies look for algorithm and the highest likes and comments for posts on daily or even hourly basis. When the posts earn more likes and comments, the AI decides to bring it forth. In certain situations, such refreshing of memories might not be ‘wanted’ at all especially when the victim might had a bitter ending of the relationship with persons in the said image or the text in question may no longer evoke good memories, but rather traumatize the victim more. But machine intelligence does not fail the company: it is a matter of consent and choice after all. But consider if the account is unauthorizedly accessed: the hacker may get to know something from the past which the victim may never wanted the hacker to know.
  3. Reminding the user about best low prices : AI runs over the internet like blood vessels carrying oxygen all over the body. When a user decides to compare prices of any product or services, AI helps to share the same almost always on any platform the user would be visiting. It might be extremely embarrassing for any woman if such searches start showing results when she is surfing the social media or even the search engine with a friend or another individual. Nothing is left by the AI from prices of lipsticks, hotels at cheaper rate, flight details to last watched videos on how to conceive. This might also make women face discrimination, office bullying and harassment due to several reasons.

These are but some of the many ways as how AI may make women to land in trouble. AI is necessarily connected with data privacy protection policies of web companies. The EU General Data Protection Regulation, 2018 provides that personal data may not be processed without the consent of the owner of the data.[6] But in this case, there can be legal tangles as web companies may  claim that they do not breach the data confidentiality or transfer the data to any other jurisdiction, neither they process the data without proper authorization. Here, multiple stakeholders may be involved which may include the original owner of the content or the picture which may have been processed for the purpose of harassment : the perpetrator, who may have carried out changes on the data using the AI supported Apps, perpetrators who may have unauthorizedly  stored the altered contents, picture or information or may have used the altered information, picture for creating impersonating profile etc. As per Indian legal understanding, altering, modifying etc of contents/ information/ image /images without proper authorization of the original owner of the  information etc may attract penal provisions under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008): these provisions may include Ss 43 (Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system etc, ), 66 (computer related offences, 66C (punishment for identity theft) and 66D (punishment by cheating by personation by using computer resource etc. This may also attract penal provisions for Copy Right violation as well. Further, the web companies may be narrowly be liable for protecting data properly under several provisions including S.43A which speaks about body corporates liability to protect data. But irrespective of existing provisions, web companies may always escape the clutches of law due to due diligence clause and on the question of consent expressly or impliedly provided by the woman victim concerned. In the EU, courts are becoming more and more concerned about policy violations by web companies to fool the users. In India too, the courts must throw light on the web companies responsibility as data repository. Regulations like Data protection Bill, 2018 must be considered with utmost care. These may have the key to solve problems of online victimization of women.

Also, women users need to be extremely cautious about machine intelligence. Awareness must be spread about how the hidden ‘safety valves’ of the web companies (which may actually make the web companies more powerful against claims of lack of due diligence) may be used properly.  

Please note: This blog was first published in
https://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/2019/09/3-ways-how-artificial-intelligence-may.html Please note: This blog was first published in


[1] For example, see Nosta John (2019) A.I. Can Now Read Your Thoughts—And Turn Them Into Words and Images. Published @ https://fortune.com/2019/05/07/artificial-intelligence-mind-reading-technology/ on May 7, 2019

[2] For example, see PTI (2019), These AI tools can predict early death risk due to chronic diseases

Published @//economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/68611835.cms?from=mdr&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst on March 28, 2019

[3] Dearden Lizzi (2017) How technology is allowing police to predict where and when crime will happen. Published @ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-big-data-technology-predict-crime-hotspot-mapping-rusi-report-research-minority-report-a7963706.html?fbclid=IwAR334Z4-1KlkK5Xrt_R6IUaU7K35bANkPLc3RAUhHUeEf-eerZseEJbSofo on October 7, 2017

[4] Halder D., & Jaishankar, K (2016.) Cyber crimes against women in India.

New Delhi: SAGE Publications. ISBN: 9789385985775

[5] See for example Solon Olivia (2017) Facebook asks users for nude photos in project to combat ‘revenge porn’. Published in https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/07/facebook-revenge-porn-nude-photos  on November 7, 2017

[6] For more, see S.7 of the EU GDPR . URL: https://gdpr-info.eu/art-7-gdpr/ Accessed on 17-08-2019

Gender and internet : Cyber law magazine for women News update 1st -20th August, 2019

Israeli Man who harassed underage girls and young women by impersonating as gynecologist, swimming coach etc on internet to groom them only to do sextortion later, tries to escape clutches of law by faking mental illness. Psychological tests prove that he was doing online harassment in a very organised manner. Prosecutors asked the court to put him in custody unless proper legal recourse is decided. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-indicted-for-sexual-abuse-of-45-underage-girls/

Man targets women staff and female HR officials with lewd messages in India, gets arrested http://www.millenniumpost.in/delhi/man-booked-for-sending-obscene-texts-367832

Law fails to deter conman : Man dupes many women on Facebook promising marriage http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2019/aug/07/man-held-for-cheating-women-on-social-media-2015312.html

Messaging apps being misused to impersonate and send lewd messages to women in India https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/aurangabad-women-approach-police-after-getting-lewd-messages

Dubai police warns beach-goers regarding taking pictures of women without their consent : jail term or hefty fines await law breakers https://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/snap-with-caution-dubai-police-issue-new-warning-to-beachgoers-1.894327

Bitcoin sextortion scamming cases reaches record high https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/08/bitcoin-sextortion-scammers-stole-1-2-million-in-bitcoin-last-year/

Female researcher of Makerere University becomes the first person to be convicted under the Computer Misuse Act for offensive communication targeting President Yoweri Museveniof Uganda after she expressed her dissatisfaction when she was acquitted of charges for offensive communication. Apparently, Nyanzi, the researcher has been protesting against abuse of presidential power. https://observer.ug/news/headlines/61520-stella-nyanzi-found-guilty-of-cyber-harassment

Gender and Internet: Cyber law magazine for women news update for May 20- 26th, 2019

Women PUBG players are heavily targeted by sexist bullies and gamers
https://thelogicalindian.com/my-story/women-pubg-players-india/?fbclid=IwAR0yawT9fNvRM5LBXTEKLisEBuwju-MNGshqZDcgBIMBWNCyn_KuB2ygkhU

Cyber sex trafficking victimises several women and girls in South East Asia inlcuding China, Korea etc
https://www.businessinsider.in/thousands-of-north-korean-women-are-being-forced-into-sexual-slavery-in-china-rights-group-says/articleshow/69427275.cms

PORN as key words may attract searchers to hackers in UK
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9122972/uk-porn-block-hackers-warning/

Gender and Internet: Web-magazine for cyber law for women news update for cyber crimes and laws for women for May 1-5th, 2019

Woman trying to shame other woman for wearing short dress, gets shamed due to viral video in Gurgaon, India.
https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/video-of-woman-saying-girls-wearing-short-dresses-should-be-raped-sums-up-indias-victim-blaming-culture-2123663.html

Teacher accused of lewd conversation with girl students in Harlem, USA
https://nypost.com/2019/05/02/harlem-teacher-accused-of-lewd-conversations-with-18-students/?fbclid=IwAR3hKc6hO02N0VsYb5KVvvgSBLrTgKMaAMbtb7aHtpbAYSqaRBbVM7EUwK0

Dating on social media platforms turn nightmares for women irrespective of exiting laws in India
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/cyber-stalkers-blackmail-shame-prey-after-social-media-love-sours/articleshow/69192021.cms

Weekly news update April 23-30, 2019

April 23-30

Four men arrested for wife swapping after woman files complaint in Kerala
https://www.newsnation.in/crime-news/kerala-wife-swapping-four-men-arrested-woman-files-complaint-fir-sexual-activities-sharechat-kayamkulam-article-222412.html

‘Digital Strip Searches’ for rape victims raise privacy issues in United Kingdom
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/04/29/police-ask-rape-victims-to-hand-over-phones–are-these-digital-strip-searches-necessary/#40f96668460a

Singapore’s voyeurism problem and cyber crimes against women
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-voyeurism-problem-spy-cam-sex-harassment-monica-baey-11487244

Computer: Basic legal understanding

BY : Dr.Debarati Halder, LL.B., M.L., Ph.D(Law)(NLSIU, Bangalore)

During the Board Exams in 2019, several exam centers across the country including Gujarat, found unique “cheating” ways by student examinees: many had smart watches which was used to download the answers. They had apparently accessed the answers by simply tapping on the watches which revealed the answers; some had gone to the wash rooms and clicked pictures of the question papers to send circulate it to their aides who would instantly send them the answers via communication apps.[1]

We can see here two types of “computers” : a smart watch which would not only show time and date, but also can store images/contents and display the same through its screen; a general mobile phone which can take pictures, store the images, circulate information, receive signals and information and display the same to the user. As such, the meaning of the word “computer” has been  expanded to include many things which previously were not considered as a “computer”.

Computer is an inherent part of our lives now. It has not only made our lives easy, it has also created many security risks as well. While many may agree with the first part of the above mentioned statement, they may not agree with the second part of the statement : the main reason behind this is, many may not know the basic definition of computer as per legal terms. Popularly, the term computer has many simple definitions; for example, according to Cambridge dictionary, computer is an electronic machine that is used for storing, organizing, and finding words, numbers, and pictures, for doing calculations, and for controlling other machines.[2] Again, whenever anyone searches the meaning of computer on Google, one of the first definition that appears is computer is  “an electronic device which is capable of receiving information (data) in a particular form and of performing a sequence of operations in accordance with a predetermined but variable set of procedural instructions (program) to produce a result in the form of information or signals”.[3]

 The definitions would show the common understanding about computer. Hence it may be explained as follows:

  • It is an electronic device.
  • It can receive, store and process certain data or information
  • It may be operating under the command of certain person
  • It needs to have procedural instructions for operation
  • It can control other machines
  • It can be connected with devices
  • It may necessarily have input and output devices

Computer therefore may mean any electronic  device which may perform several functions of receiving information, storing, processing etc of data and performing some other functions  including operating other machines which may get connected with the main computer through electro-magnetic  mechanisms. Seeing from modern perspectives, computer may necessarily mean an electronic magnetic device which may be connected with internet.

Presently, computer is being considered as one of mechanism to perform crimes online as well as offline.  But computer as a machine may never be considered as a “perpetrator “because this is infact “used” to commit crimes. It is therefore necessary to understand how the term has been defined by laws:

The 2001 EU Convention on Cyber Crimes, also known as Budapest convention, defines “computer system” as follows:

  • Any device or a group of interconnected or related devices,
  • one or more of which, pursuant to a program,
  • Performs automatic processing of data.

What we get from it is, computer system means

Now let us see how the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) defines it:

S.2(i)  of the Information Technology Act , 2000(amended in 2008) defines the term “Computer” .  it says  “Computer” means any electronic, magnetic, optical or other high-speed  data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and  memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical  impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer  software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the  computer in a computer system or computer network

Hence, this definition explains the term from 4 main aspects:

  • Nature : any electronic, magnetic, optical or other high-speed  data processing device or system
  • What does it perform :  performs logical, arithmetic, and  memory functions
  • How does it perform the task :  by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical  impulses,
  • What else can it do: and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer  software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the  computer in a computer system or computer network.

As such, it may be seen that there are several devices which may be termed as “computer”, including:

  • A simple mobile phone which is not a smart phone, but can store data like phone numbers, SMSs, images etc.
  • Smart phones
  • Smart digital cameras
  • Ipads, laptops, desktops, pen drives, smart TVs , Smart toys etc.
  • Any other electronic gadget which has the facilities of input, output, processing, storage, computer  software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the  computer in a computer system or computer network

All of these can be used for committing cybercrimes including monetary crimes, crimes against women and children, crimes involving infringing privacy, cyber stalking and even cyber terrorism.

Hence, be careful while buying and activating all electronic gadgets, buying second hand gadgets and also while using such gadgets. Misuse of such gadgets for ulterior purposes may attract imprisonment which may be as high as life imprisonment in certain cases.

Stay safe, be safe !

Note: Please do not violate the copyright of this blog. If you wish to use it for your assignment/ writeup/ research etc, please refer  it as Halder Debarati (2019) Computer: Basic legal understanding. Published in Gender and Internet @ https://internetlegalstudies.com on 11-03-2019


[1] See for more @https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/board-exam-2019-students-caught-with-smart-watch-and-mobile/articleshow/68338515.cms Accessed on 10.03.2019

[2] See https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/computer. Accessed on 02-01.2019

[3] Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enIN822IN822&biw=1366&bih=608&q=Dictionary#dobs=computer  on 02.01.2019

Women’s Day, 2019 : Views of a #webwonderwoman

webwonderpic

Picture Curtsy: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/centre-honours-30-web-wonder-women-for-driving-reforms-via-social-media-2003833?fbclid=IwAR0h6TDvuaPHOP_mFZuq2Z3Tbk8szdy–8inqBOiBqhd4bVpo7rTudLeY1s

 

In a late afternoon in the last week of February, 2019 I received a message from Ministry of Women & Child Affairs, Government of India congratulating me for winning the #webwonderwomen award in the category of Legal/policy . #Webwonderwomen is an initiative of Ministry of women & Child, BreakThrough India, an NGO which works for women and girls and Twitter to honor 30 women  from diverse fields who had used Twitter positively for spreading awareness, reaching out to people in need and above all, advocating for women empowerment. Among the 30 women were women activists, lawyers, journalists, sanitation & public health activists, food blogger & nutritionist, film maker, activist promoting breast-feeding, women government officials and myself, who works for victims, especially women victims of cyber crimes.  There were different heartwarming  as well as heart breaking stories told by award winners ; they shared stories of  failures and success, happiness and pain, the feeling of being ridiculed by others because of their support to other women. No wonder, I have also gone through the same while executing my wish to help victims of cyber crimes: I have been cyber  bullied, stalked, trolled and threatened by men and women for my work . I have been asked ridiculous questions regarding my “attachment” with the virtual world. Finally with this award, I could prove that being on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or on internet as a whole for more than the time allotted for general women by their families and societies is not that bad. I have an “unlimited” (in regard to time)  access to net and my husband respects my time on net.  I am fortunate to make this space. I have seen many women who are not allowed to be on net for more than a limited period by their families especially men folk, who may be enjoying (consuming) avatars of other women when their women enter the ‘restricted time period’ for net surfing on a daily basis.

This women’s day is special because as #webwonderwomen awardee I have become a proud ambassador of the Ministry of women and children affairs like my fellow award winners. This is also special because on the very day when I received the award, I saw nothing changed when it comes to cyber crimes against women. While going through the newspaper that very morning, I noticed two news items which  made me think how womens day becomes meaningless for several thousands of women victims of cyber crimes : one was regarding a gang rape survivor who came across the clipping of her own rape scene and dared to walk into the police station to report not only about the physical rape, but also about the virtual consumption of her physical assault by many. The second was about duping of a woman in a renowned matrimonial site . None of these incidents is new for me. However, I salute the rape survivor who took the matter to the police. She must have undergone severe secondary victimization and traumatization by now just like the other victim that I mentioned above. We do not know what would happen to them later: how far the police and prosecution  may help  them ? with a limited legal awareness and fear of  societal taboo, many victims like these two have to withdraw their cases and disappear.

Women’s day is necessarily  related to The Convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), which was adopted by the UN general Assembly in 1979 and which defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”  The scope of this definition has automatically expanded to include gender discrimination, misogyny and abuse of women’s rights online.  I was more interested in the award ceremony because of Twitter as its  partner.  Social media like Twitter, Faceook , Instagram, YouTube etc are used for women empowerment. But they are notorious platforms for victimization of women. This year’s theme for International women’s day is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” , which signifies women empowerment in the field of technology and innovative work by women and men alike for gender equality and betterment of  situation of women across the globe. This won’t fructify unless web companies take the responsibility of  providing safety against gross abuse of women. As women activists, many of us know that there more takers of CEDAW; but how many States are actually ensuring proper implementation of laws especially for women victims of cybercrimes is a question that needs to be researched. There is no uniform law to recognize several cyber offences against women. Majority of countries have no laws for prevention of cyber bullying, stalking, impersonation  of women, online sexual offences  targeting women.  Sexting and revenge porn still fall in the grey line in majority of the countries. It is still considered a taboo for women to watch porn ; women who are caught watching porn/porn contents  are severely moral policed by the society . But on the other hand, when men watch porn including revenge porn and nonconsensual porn, it is still considered as normal because unless the websites flag them as illegal , men (and in certain cases women and  children too) may not be prevented even by the courts because apparently the victims would not have moved the police and / or the courts for taking action to take down the offensive contents .   Majority of these victims may be completely unware of the fact that they have been made subjects of  online consumption as ‘sex items’. Consider the case of  socio-economically poor  women who may be trafficked and their videos of having sexual activities may be floating for many years without making them understand how they are being ‘consumed’ by millions.[1]

“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” would be possible only when the society including the government stakeholders  as a whole come together to take a holistic step towards preventing cyber victimization of women and creating safe place for women and girls online and in real life.

Wish you all, a very happy WOMEN’S DAY . Lets “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.

 

[1] See for example Halder D., & Jaishankar, K. (2014). Online Victimization of Andaman Jarawa Tribal Women: An Analysis of the Human Safari YouTube Videos (2012) and its Effects. British Journal of Criminology, 54(4), 673-688. (Impact factor 1.556). DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azu026.

 

Please Note: This blog was first posted @   “Halder D. (2019), ” Women’s Day, 2019 : Views of a #webwonderwoman”  8th March, 2019 ,@https://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/2019/03/womens-day-2019-views-of-webwonderwoman.html?spref=fb&fbclid=IwAR1-zH4VuTEEisNLYWogvHvMDOfWDduzkGWvlRl05_CzfopCRtF9OJ3tLTc

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