Tag: morphing

Gender and Internet : Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for January 7th-19th, 2020

Canadian court awards sentence for payment of compensation for reputation damage by woman who allegedly destroyed ex boyfriend’s reputation by posting about the latter on Instagram allegedly describing him as alcoholic cheater and containing sexually transmitted disease.

Thousands of women’s images are illegally shared from their Tinder accounts possibly for major online sexual assaults and catphishing.

Scottish police buys new devices exclusively for data mining for the purpose of crime investigation

BTech student from India sends friends request to woman only to collect personal photographs from her social media website and morphed the same for creating nude images. Accused arrested when mother of the victim complained to the police for sharing profiles containing nude images of the victim.

The Facebook way of saving “face” : The profile picture guard by Facebook


Long back in 2005 when I was newly introduced to a very popular social media “orkut”, I proudly showed off my profile with my own picture  which was clicked during a family wedding. Internet communication technology was new to India and we women were regularly being targeted because of the easy availability of our presence. This was largely due to lack of security in the social media as well as internet. We did not have two step verification for Gmail; Yahoo chat messenger, which was extremely popular during those days, almost made everyone’s personal information that were uploaded for the website, available to anyone who wanted access the user. It was during that period that I learnt about cloning of profiles which were made to harass individuals, especially women. The profiles may not be hacked, may neither be directly accessed by way of sending friends’ request; but the profile pictures may be downloaded and a new profile may be created with the available profile picture and profile information. Way back in 2006-7 I already had several women victims who contacted me for help and guidance. Almost all of them had common problem : harassment by way of creation of fake avatars. I have been part of the feminist movement which vehemently protested making women as ‘sex object’ on internet. Indeed women are made as ‘sex objects’ and they are regularly targeted by  misogynists, perverts and online traffickers who may selectively pick up women and girls by seeing their profiles, profile pictures and shadowing their online activities.
Let me go back to my own experiences where I received the first harassing comment (which was not stalking, neither resulted due to hacking) which was plainly nothing but ‘bullying’. My first profile picture in Orkut received a remark which mocked at my supposedly ‘over made-up   face’ and ‘blood red lipstick’. I knew this was just the beginning and if reciprocated, the bully may be extremely provoked to reply back. But this was not the first and last incident. I have received various negative comments, I have had my own period of being victim of a female stalker who monitored me and did send defamatory mails about me to my husband and again I had noticed several attempts to open Facebook accounts with my name and email ids. The later was detected and prevented by me because I never neglect the security messages sent by websites in my mails.
In my research I have seen that often the police and lawyers refuse to help the women victims and start the blame game. This is because they may not be aware of the mechanism to help and counsel the victims. In my opinion, websites must also be made responsible for third party victimization of women especially when the genuine reports of violation fail to move the websites.   However, the websites concerned, may constantly develop safety policy guidelines for users to make the users take self prevention mechanisms. I have been part of Facebook women safety program for quite some times now.  I continue to demand for more liability on the part of the websites especially for women and this time my concern was safety of profile pictures of women.  I was extremely happy to see the developments in the security and policies of Facebook which was introduced in India on 22ndJune, 2017: ‘The profile picture guard’. Every woman must avail this opportunity to safeguard their profile picture since this is the most chosen target of all the images that may be uploaded by a user. The step by step guide to how to use this ‘guard’ is explained by Facebook team @ https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/06/giving-people-more-control-over-their-facebook-profile-picture/
However, I understand that it is not the women only, but children are also extremely vulnerable targets of sexual predators. Men are neither excluded. All users must use this facility and it may definitely help to reduce ‘image stealing’ for various malicious purposes including morphing, hacking and creation of fake avatars. But we need to understand that is not the ultimate answer to prevent revenge porn cases. While image of an individual may be saved because Facebook may detect the particular stolen image easily after receiving the report, there is a still remains a lacuna for other photographs which are in the personal albums. We must also note that the website will not suomotu take action for the cloned or stolen images. The victim must report the profile and the concerned profile picture along with the “shielded picture” as evidence.

Its nonetheless a big step in the history of cyber security for women and I congratulate Facebook for taking this initiative. But again, ……… accidents do happen and we need to be stronger to recover.
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), “The Facebook way of saving “face” : The profile picture guard by Facebook”  23rd June, 2017, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com

No relief for women from stalking and morphing


Not very long ago, India happily rejoiced the birth of first ever cyber stalking law and anti- voyeurism which was finally re framed to look after only women. The law is a part of anti-sexual crimes provisions that were introduced through Verma Committee report after the brutal gang rape in Delhi last December. But could law really help to stop atrocities against women especially when the harassment is carried out through digital media?  Women victims often compliant of mobile phone harassment. This includes repeated calls, SMSs, blank calls, threatening calls and even sending lewd MMSs. Women celebs are the worst targeted victims. Trolls, fans, men claiming to be exs…..the list is exhausting, but ask the women celebs and they will positively agree that people belonging to these categories do disturb them not only through various social networking sites, but also via mobile phones. Some daring women did face it bravely. The recent one in the list is Mona of jassi jaisi koi nahi who refused to take the MMS leak incidence lightly.Hopefully the perpetrator would be nabbed and the link would be deactivated soon. But it did have a damaging effect already. She is portrayed the way which she is not actually. Mona represents those women who are regularly targeted for defamation in the wider platform called World Wide Web. I researched on this and found out that in India, this is the easiest way to stop a prospective marriage alliance or a job portfolio for a woman ( I had presented paper on this in Sweden Criminology Symposium in 2012. The excerpts of my findings are compiled by  Johanna Hagstedt, in “ Risk behaviours increase exposure to cyber crime” (October 5, 2012) Available @ http://www.criminologysymposium.com/symposium/event-information/2012/archive/news/2012-10-05-risk-behaviours-increase-exposure-to-cyber-crime.html).  Unfortunately not many women prefer to be as brave as Mona and her predecessors for reporting the crime. The reason is largely fear of exposure of privacy. We do get to see so many news reports about rape and acid attack. Defamation through this channel is no less severe. No woman wants to be a virtual prostitute who would be ‘enjoyed’ by millions. It can turn women victim suicidal too; the recent example is the suicide of Rehtah Parsons of Nova Scotia.
          But dont think that this is the only form of victimisation that haunts the women the most. Bangalore Mirror on April 8, 2013 carried out a brief news which spoke about stalking of Jaya Bachchan, the effervescent actor of yesteryears and present day Rajya Sabha MP . The report claimed that Mrs. Bachchan received continuous calls from a Dubai based number. The man claimed to be an ardent fan of Mrs. Bachchan. Now note that this news came up after the much fussed about “anti-rape Bill” (which also included anti-stalking law) was introduced in India and the police and criminal justice machinery was promising to take strict action if the crime falls under any of the categories that this new provision recognises.  The report however claimed that Jaya Bachchan probably could not get instant justice as the investigation revealed that the call was made from out of India and the local police could not offer much help(Bangalore Mirror, 8th April). Jaya Bachchan again represents that sect of women victims who are turned down by the local police due to poor infrastructure and lack of understanding.  The police need not have looked at the new provision which still awaits to be functional; but we do have S.66A of the Information Technology Act, which many eminent lawyers  pointed out, has a potential to be used as an anti –stalking law and which has extra-territorial effect by virtue of the I.T. Act provisions.  In some of my media interviews I did support the existence of S.66A especially for causes of women .I still support it. But it  is being misused for wrong reasons.  Look at the irony; no one understood the value of a good law which has been misused and now termed as “draconian law”.However, I hope by now the case is solved and justice has been done.
Indeed, women need patience for better understanding of the whole scenario by police and criminal justice machinery. But the waiting time is painful, disgraceful and dangerous. Let us hope that the waiting period gets over soon. My salute to you brave women who had endured such humiliation but still carrying on with life.
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. (2013), “No relief for women from stalking and morphing” 15th April ,2013, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/