Tag: Data privacy

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

Advertisements

Need for a model prohibitory provision for preventing and punishing Cybercrimes targeting women

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

The festive seasons not only bring joy and happiness, but also brings tinges of tensions, disappointment, frustrations and unnecessary worries especially for women and girls. This is because of the negative use of digital and information technology; women and girls may be photographed inappropriately, touched inappropriately and may be photographed in such conditions, they may be stalked, their data may be unauthorisedly accessed and misused and over all, they may also be targeted for revenge porn. It may generally happen even during non-festive seasons too. But during the festive seasons such off-line and online harassment targeting women may increase more. In my previous research I have observed that this may happen due to two main reasons : lack of strict central laws relating to public place photography and engagement of the police force in crowd management. It may necessarily become almost impossible to protect every woman and girl in the crowds from the perpetrators who may be digitally empowered to violet the privacy.  The second reason plays a major role in motivating the perpetrators to take the harassment of women and girls online so that victims may not be able to understand the impact of victimisation immediately; simultaneously the perpetrators may not only satisfy their sadistic ego by harassing women and girls online, but may also gain unethically by  supplying the voyeur pictures and clippings to adult sites and even to YouTube. By the time  the victims understand and feel the impact of victimisation, their reputation may have been badly damaged due to viral spreading of the images.  
A year back the ministry of women and children rolled out project for portal to complain about online harassment. But this could neither reduce the alarming growth of online victimisation of women. The reason could be ill drafted laws and poor execution of the existing laws. These ill drafted laws may include S.66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) which prescribed punishment for offensive, annoying etc speech, which was later scrapped off in the case of Shreya Singhal vs Union of india & others (however, the Information Technology Act has not been amended so far to either amend or delete this provision from the present version of the Provision); Ss. 354 C and D of the Indian Penal Code which speaks about voyeurism and cyber stalking, S.509 of the Indian Penal Code which speaks about word gesture etc about harming the modesty of women etc.[1]I have also created a model law for penalising revenge porn and had submitted the same to the ministry of women and child affairs.[2]However, no step has been taken on this so far even though revenge porn does exist in the Indian cyber space context as well.
It needs to be noted that the internet has provided a broader platform for expressing views and opinions and women are using it share their opinion on various issues including sexual harassment that may have been meted out to them through Me too movement. But this would definitely have another side of the coin. Many women may prefer to bring up the issue of sexual harassment on public platforms through social media; but the accused persons may neither leave these victims on the cyber space. They may try to counter attack them through trolls, bullies and hired-hackers who may try to vandalise the victims reputations online by infringing the digital privacy of the Me Too fighters. This in other ways may also affect the documentary evidences that the victim/s may have saved in their electronic devices for further court proceedings.
At this juncture It is time that  the existing law must be amended to include provisions for offensive communication and revenge porn. On behalf of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling a  draft model Law  is proposed as below:
Model law for prohibiting Cybercrime against women
Chapter 1 : preliminary
S.1 Extent and purpose:
It extends to the whole of India.
It has been seen that even though Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 has introduced several new provisions for the safety of women, but still there exists lacuna. Further, the Information technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) also failed to prevent crimes against women which include cyber bullying, trolling and revenge porn.
In view of the above, this model law is proposed to bring amendment to (a) the present provisions especially in the Indian penal Code (specifically in Ss. 354 C & D) and insert new provision for prohibiting and punishing revenge porn, (b) amend and introduce new version of S.66A to create preventive law to prevent offensive communication including bullying, trolling, online harassment etc against women and individuals in general, (c) to introduce special provision in the Information technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) to provide confidentiality to the victims.
Chapter 2 : Proposed amendments
S.2 Insertion of a new provision on Revenge porn:[3]
The model Revenge porn prohibitory provision :(This can be included in Chapter XVI of the Indian Penal Code as S.354E, which may be inserted after S.354D (stalking)).
1.    Anyone, who in order to satisfy his anger and frustration for a broken relationship, takes revenge  through publishing, transmitting, conveying, publicizing false and sexually provocative portrayal of his/her victim, by misusing the information that he may have known naturally and that he may have stored in his personal computer, or that which may have been conveyed to his electronic device by the victim herself, or may have been stored in the device with the consent of the victim herself; and which may have been done to publicly defame the victim essentially, commits the offence of revenge porn.
2.    Whoever commits the offence of revenge porn, shall be punished in the first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 1 lakh rupees and pay reasonable compensation to the victim for damaging his/her reputation in real life and online. If he be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 5 lakh Rupees and reasonable compensation to the victim.
 Provided that the perpetrator must also be liable to remove the offensive image either original or morphed, irrespective of the fact whether the image was conveyed to him by the victim herself or not, from his own electronic device/s and from the websites and social media profiles where he may have uploaded the same for the purpose of taking revenge.
Provided further, that the investigating officer shall immediately after coming to know of the offence of revenge porn committed by the perpetrator as reported by the victim or anyone on behalf of the victim, contact the concerned website to remove such contents including any text accompanying the image/s which may falsely portray the victim.
Provided further that if the website concerned fails to cooperate with the police on being alerted by the investigating police officer and also if the website concerned fails to remove the content within 36 hours  after being alerted by the victim herself, the said website would not be exempted from third party liability as has been explained under S.79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) and would be liable to pay compensation to the victim for an amount not less than Rs. 5 lakhs and also fine.
Explanation:
In Subsection 1, the words “publishing, transmitting, conveying, publicizing false and  sexually provocative portrayal of his/her victim” shall include  publishing, transmitting, conveying  any image of woman whether nude, semi-nude or normal to anyone individual and/or to any website including social media, with an intention to take revenge on that said woman.
(Rationale behind proposing a new law: Why S.354C IPC would not be able to regulate revenge porn:
1.    S.354C IPC speaks about voyeurism which is inclusive of “private acts” whereby victim’s private body parts may be shown. It does not mention anything about publishing/conveying/morphing etc of pictures of women for taking revenge. The ultimate motive, i.e., taking revenge is absent here.
2. S.354C does not speak about morphed pictures published/conveyed/transferred etc for gratifying revenge. In cases of revenge porn, majority of the offensive images may be morphed. This has neither been covered under S.66E of the Information Technology Act.
3.    Creation of revenge porn may be done with normal, innocent, un-morphed pictures as well. In such case, we need to look into the accompanying text that describes the image. For example, a normal picture of the woman victim may be published with a text describing her as “horny”, “Prostitute”, “my sexy wife during honeymoon”(when in reality, the woman is not married to the perpetrator, or even if married, did not allow publication of such normal photo with such text ).
4.    Revenge porn differs from non-consensual pornography as well. Non-consensual pornography is a larger term which may include revenge porn, voyeurism or even sexual slavery including forcing the woman to be captured naked for some unethical gain. Hence, revenge porn needs a separate definition.)
S.3.  Amendment to the definition of voyeurism under S.354C of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for voyeurism) : In the place of “Any man”, it should  Any one and the amended provision should be  read as follows:
Any one who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanations:   For the purpose of this section, “private act” includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim’s genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
  
Where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.
S.4. Amendment to S.354D of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for stalking including cyber stalking): In the place of Any man, it should be anyone. The amended version should be read as follows:
1) Anyonewho—
   follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
   monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication,commits the offence of stalking;
 Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—
it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
  
it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
  
in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
 (2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
(Rationale behind broadening the concept of perpetrator for Ss.354 C&D: It has been seen that women may also commit voyeurism and cyber stalking for victimising fellow women.  This amendment may help reduce such sorts of victimisation.)
S.5. Insertion of new provision prohibiting photography of individuals in general without the consent of the individuals concerned (this may be inserted after S.268 of the Indian penal Code as S.268A)
1. Anyone who uses his camera devices in any public place to capture the images of anyone including men, women, children, people belonging to LGBT groups, with a motive to either sexual gratification of the self, or sexual gratification of others, or uses these images for unethical gain, or for ridiculing or causing hatred,  defamation , damage to the reputation of the said persons by way creating, circulating, spreading etc of such images through electronic medium  without the consent of  such men, women, children  or member of LGBT group when the said men, women, children, or member of LGBT group are  not expected to give consent and/or not expected to be alert for not allowing such photography,  and also publishes, transmits, circulates the same through electronic medium shall be punished with an imprisonment  of either description for a term which shall not be less than six months r, but which may extend to one year , and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 20 thousand  rupees and pay reasonable compensation to the victim for damaging his/her reputation in real life and online. If he be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one  year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 50 thousand Rupees and reasonable compensation to the victim.
 Provided that the perpetrator must also be liable to remove the non-consensual offensive image either original or morphed, from his own electronic device/s and from the websites and social media profiles where he may have uploaded the same for the purpose mentioned above.
Provided further, that the investigating officer shall immediately after coming to know of the offence mentioned above committed by the perpetrator as reported by the victim or anyone on behalf of the victim, contact the concerned website to remove such contents including any text accompanying the image/s which may falsely portray the victim.
Provided further that if the website concerned fails to cooperate with the police on being alerted by the investigating police officer and also if the website concerned fails to remove the content within 36 hours  after being alerted by the victim herself, the said website would not be exempted from third party liability as has been explained under S.79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) and would be liable to pay compensation to the victim for an amount not less than Rs. 5 lakhs and also fine.
Explanation:
In Subsection 1, the words “capture images” shall also include  capturing images of accident victims and doing so without offering any help to the victim, any other heinous, serious or petty crimes and doing so without reporting the matter to the police and offering help to the victim, capturing images of  rape or sexual molestation or sexual assault of any women or children, taking self portraits or selfies in the above situations.
Explanation 2: The act of capturing the images of men, women, children and members of the LGBT groups may not be considered as an offence if the same is done for academic and research purposes, provided the person/s capturing such images has prior consent of proper authorities, or for medical research purposes or for the purpose of creating documentary evidences which must be provided to the criminal justice machinery including the courts for further legal actions to punish the wrong doers.
S.6. Amendment to Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008):
Punishment for offensive speech (this can be inserted after S.66 (offences related to the computer) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008). This may also be considered as the amended version of S.66A (punishment for annoying etc speech), which was scrapped off by the Supreme court in Shreya Singhal’s case)
1.      Anyone who sends, posts produces, publishes, creates, circulates or sponsors to be circulates  any offensive speech including any text or cartoon or caricature or image accompanied with text to any woman by way of electronic, digital and information communication, which may damage her reputation, damage the reputation of her family and  children create threat to her, her family and children, damage her reputation to an extent that may affect her job or may affect her reputation in the prospective job, shall be punished with an imprisonment for in the first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 1 lakh rupees and pay reasonable compensation to the victim for damaging his/her reputation in real life and online. If he be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine of not less than 5 lakh Rupees and reasonable compensation to the victim.
 Provided that the perpetrator must also be liable to remove the offensive speech from his own electronic device/s and from the websites and social media profiles where he may have published etc the said speech targeting the woman.
Provided further, that the investigating officer shall immediately after coming to know of the offence of posting, publishing etc of the offensive speech committed by the perpetrator as reported by the victim or anyone on behalf of the victim, contact the concerned website to remove such contents including any text accompanying the image/s which may falsely portray the victim and damage her reputation.
Provided further that if the website concerned fails to cooperate with the police on being alerted by the investigating police officer and also if the website concerned fails to remove the content within 36 hours  after being alerted by the victim herself, the said website would not be exempted from third party liability as has been explained under S.79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) and would be liable to pay compensation to the victim for an amount not less than Rs. 5 lakhs and also fine.
Explanation:
For the purpose of this section, offensive speech targeting women shall include the followings:
1.      Any speech which lowers the moral character of the woman concerned within the meaning of Article 19(2) of the constitution of India.
2.    Any speech which defames the woman concerned in the society as a whole within the meaning of Article 19(2) of the constitution of India as well as Ss.499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Indecent representation of women Prohibition Act.
3.    Any speech which includes Cyber bullying. Cyber bullying  may mean attacking anyone with harsh or rude  words in the cyber space, including publicly available web platforms, social media, private and public  chat rooms, emails, blogs etc, and such harsh or rude words are particularly made to ridicule one’s body shape, gender, gender orientation, physical or mental incapability, race, colour, opinion, educational background, language  etc.
4.    Any speech which includes Cyber trolling. Cyber trolling is  an extreme usage of freedom of speech which is exercised to disrupt the community discussions in social networking sites and which is done to deliberately insult ideologies such as feminism, secularism etc; of the topic starter or the supporters of the topic starter.
5.     Any speech which contains Cyber hate propaganda. Cyber hate propaganda may mean offensive communication between the sender and multiple recipients with intent to spread hatred against a particular individual for her opinion, race, gender etc.
It is expected that if this model Act is considered by the government, the growing rate of cyber crimes against women may be brought down.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2018), ” Need for a model prohibitory provision for preventing and punishing Cybercrimes targeting women”  22ndOctober 2018 , published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com


[1] My observations on these laws can be found in my book. (Cyber Crimes against Women in India. New Delhi: SAGE Publishing. ISBN: 978-9385985775, https://in.sagepub.com/en-in/sas/cyber-crimes-against-women-in-india/book253900  (co-authored with Professor K.Jaishankar.
[2]See the model law @Halder.D(2017) Criminalizing Revenge Porn From The Privacy Aspects: The Model Revenge Porn Prohibitory Provision. Available @
[3]This was published in supra@2

Smart cities may not always be Safe cities: Recalling Bangalore incidence

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

On December 20, 2016 I was attending a round table conference  on Smart City, Safe City in Delhi. After the Delhi gang rape case in 2012, every one addressed Delhi as an unsafe city. New apps emerged which would help women in distress to send SOS to their relatives and friends and alert the police. The police force of all metro cities also vowed to ensure safety for women in public places. Not much success though! There were several incidences of rape including gang rape which again and again made us realised that there is a difference between promising and doing. What disturbed me more was sudden increase of rape videos on internet. Rapists and their aides physically violate women and capture the moments to enjoy it later! Or should I say to earn unethical profits out of this? Yes! They earn a good fortune by distributing such videos to various ‘ports’ from where such videos float to many other ports, devices and jurisdictions. I would not have believed that local petty shops earn revenue by selling such videos to young adults and matured teens until one day I came across a news report on this. Presently it is not only the violent rape videos or voyeur honeymoon videos alone which is being consumed by porn addicts; the list has included videos on public place molestation and  kissing and fondling of young lovers at dark places. The Bangalore molestation incident on the 31st December 2016 night  is also floating in the internet now. Indeed, it has been seen not only by those who wanted to know the reality, but also by porn addicts because this is nothing but a ‘sex video’ or ‘sex clip’ for many. The images show forcefully touching, fondling and trying to kiss women.
Question is who clicks these? Who disseminates these? While I do not deny that many people in the crowd who would have noticed these incidences may have taken pictures of such molestation because we severely lack a proper public place photographing law; I must say these molestation videos have become viral because of the poor surveillance on the work of the surveillance camera as well. On the one hand we thank the media to bring this news in the forefront. But on the other hand, I can’t stop thinking about extreme violation of privacy. What for the surveillance cameras are installed in public places? It is because the police (the so-called 24 hour help lines) could be made aware then and there of what is happening and how it is happening in the public places. Shockingly enough the police took charge after the media highlighted the issue. What more can be gathered from this is, the person who may be monitoring the images captured by the surveillance cameras may wanted to alert the media first and not the police. May be the person in charge would have alerted both the stakeholders, but the failure of the police to take charge of the issue first has not only  violated the right of the victims to speedy justice, but has also revealed a crude joke: privacy of the  sexual assault victims can neither be guaranteed.
          28thJanuary is celebrated as Data Protection day in many countries including India. On this day 27 years ago Council of Europe opened the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data for signature by the State parties. India is yet to adopt this convention. India neither has any focused Privacy protection law, even though the provisions relating to protection of privacy are scattered in different legislation.  Ironically the concept of smart city has motivated the creation if several apps and digital policing. But the Bangalore incident again proved that nothing really works ‘smartly’ until stricter implementations of the traditional laws are made.
Stay safe, act safe.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2017), “ Smart cities may not always be Safe cities: Recalling Bangalore incidence”  29thjanuary, 2017, published in http://cybervictims.blogspot.in/

Hacking is no fun

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

This December we got to see a bout of hacking attacks on renowned politicians, journalists, business magnets in India. Apparently their purpose was to reveal corrupted people who are disrupting good governance in India. Almost all the news media channels ran stories on who these hackers are, why the targeting specific people are and what may be their next target etc.  Very recently I got to meet  a group of people who hack for various reasons. While most of us are concerned about our own digital data security, it is interesting to know why our accounts in social media or email may get hacked.  There is a difference between unauthorised access of financial data, social media profiles, emails and digital data that may be stored in our own devices. They may be interconnected. But definitely their motives may be different. In my recently published monograph “Cyber crime against women in India’ (https://in.sagepub.com/en-in/sas/cyber-crimes-against-women-in-india/book253900) I showed that  revenge porn may be a result of unauthorised access of social media profiles as well as digital albums for revenge to destroy the reputation. Similarly there are hackers who may access  financial data for illegal monetary gain.
However, there is a group of people who hack for fun. This ‘voyeuristic pleasure’ is exercised especially when the hacker/s may want to establish how an organisation or particular individuals may poorly maintain their  cyber security . I do often get to hear from senior citizens and women that their social media accounts or emails or Whatsapp profiles have been hacked.  An in-depth research may reveal that hackers may have done this for fun. To me, it relates to those pre internet  days when youngsters took pleasure in peeping into well guarded private diaries maintained by young girls and boys or individuals who loved to treasure their secrets. But hacking is no fun especially when the information thus gathered can be used for various detrimental causes including extortion and sextortion. Especially Women may feel extremely traumatised when such hackers for fun target them. The reason is, if a woman’s digital data is unauthorisedly accessed, it may misused and damage to her reputation may compel her to take extreme steps like suicide due to fear of social taboo. What I strongly condemn is teaching school children about hacking with the tag line that hacking is for fun. It is like giving a loaded gun to children to experiment it and learn it for fun. It is indeed a fact that ethical hackers are used for many positive reasons and internet companies may pay them a hefty amount too. But, teaching hacking to children must be done with utmost concern. We definitely do not need Frankensteins . It must be understood that any individual who may not understand the responsibilities attached with power may definitely misuse the power.  We need to understand that our Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) has recognised unauthorised access to digital data, tampering of the data etc as penal offences and the provisions are wide enough to cover offenders of all age. Further, our Indian Penal Code also recognises cyber stalking and voyeurism as an offence which may necessarily involve hacking. Any child psychology expert or educator may understand that children tend to experiment (often with disastrous first few results) for a better understanding of the subject. Hacking is such a tool which may at the outset show the child how to gain illegal profit by using it if he/she is not told about the risks that may be caused to others as well as to his target victims.  
This Christmas let all take a vow that our knowledge must be used for positive purposes and not for victimising others. We must remember that if we use our knowledge and expertise to check the weakness of others, that must be done in a prescribed way and not to humiliate the later.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2016), “Hacking is no fun
25th December 2016, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/