Tag: women’s rights

Gender and Internet : Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for February 17-March 16, 2020

Case against man in Scotland who had alleged to have sent naked videos of himself and contents showcasing sexual acts performed by himself to woman, gets deserted, prosecution comes to an end without the facts being determined and he is allowed to walk free because witnesses for the prosecution failed to depose.
https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/crime/case-deserted-against-hawick-51-year-old-accused-sending-woman-videos-himself-performing-sex-act-1887132

Bangalore court rejects bail petition of Nigerian man who had duped 44 women he met on marriage portal
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengaluru-nigerian-accused-of-cheating-44-women-denied-bail/articleshow/74296918.cms

Man joins Whatsapp group in India, post data mining, gets number of target female victim and allegedly continues to send sexually harassing contents in Hyderabad, India and gets arrested.
https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2020/feb/26/tamil-nadu-man-harasses-woman-in-hyderabad-held-2108542.html

US woman ends relationship with a Dubai based Egyptian, sends strong mail against the later’s online abuses including sending her pornographic images of himself, sexually explicit images and texts via messages : resultant, the woman is charged with slander as per the UAE laws and arrested.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/melissa-mcburnie-arrest-uae-strong-language-explicit-messages-us-national-a9367381.html?fbclid=IwAR3d5kgmNJWK0yGKVaL08O96JuO_RCM_xSkieZZxNgGnvFIz-E5tnFE9y9E

Pornhub, world’s biggest porn site fails several victims of rape, revenge porn and nonconsensual porn in its practice of due diligence. Activists and stakeholders point out that thousands of rape, sexual assault videos are consumed over this platform.
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/09/worlds-biggest-porn-site-under-fire-over-videos-pornhub?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR0llaaHI65m5K9zECr3XYAmRD_ZHzUFyM1YY8WOT6-gAs9JcFWwPlYxFyI

Dating apps are used by men to rob, sexually assault women in real life in the US
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/maryland/masked-men-posing-as-women-on-dating-apps-to-assault-victims/65-32860767-6a58-4220-ad84-bbe8d42d934b

3 women get prison sentences and order for hefty payment for live streaming of child abuse in lieu of money from regional trial court in Lapu Lapu in Philippines.
https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/289203/3-mothers-from-lapu-lapu-city-plead-guilty-to-online-trafficking-charges

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

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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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Why mobile number portability services may prove to be an absolute hypocrisy for women? A dirty dark secret

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

I belong to that generation who have grown up with one landline telephone connection, just to realise that the same can become ‘just a set’ to support home internet connection for some, or a “life support” for senior citizens who love to feel nostalgic by such sets.  I have stayed in three major cities in three parts of India and finally decided to own a telephone number which (much to the surprise of my older generations) started ‘travelling’ with me to keep me connected with the world. Yes, we call it ‘roaming’. But the older generation still loves to call it mobile phone instead of ‘cell phone’ because (as one my grand-aunt once commented), ‘you need to be mobile while using it’. I gradually owned a smart phone and the SIM card changed its ‘place of residence’  from my ‘unsmart’ phone to smart phone . I also witnessed the era when roaming charges got reduced from a (shocking) exorbitant price to a nominal price which we were happy to afford.
Then came the announcement for mobile number portability system.  One of the telecommunication service providers define this in the following words “  Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is the facility for users to switch to any mobile operator in any Licensed Service Area (LSA) of INDIA, while retaining their existing mobile number . Sim card and all services on the mobile connection will change and will be provided by the new operator.”( see http://www.bsnl.in/opencms/bsnl/BSNL/services/mobile/mnp_intro.htm) And how will the customer avail the services for ‘change of port’? The telecommunication regulatory authority of India gives a detailed guidelines regarding this @ http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/measuresto%20protectconsumerinterest/Customer_Guide.pdf.
One of the essential eligibility criteria is owning government authorised local residential information. This can be either the voter’s ID card, or the ADHAR card or the PAN card or the Ration Card which may have the local residential address of the customer. In case the customer has shifted from his own home, the requirements must be satisfied with the Rent Agreement, which may show the names of the genuine tenant ( the customer) and the genuine property owner (the house owner). However, in case the customer has shifted his jurisdiction from one city to another, he may necessarily need to show all papers which prove that he has shifted the jurisdiction.
I was fantasising the idea of availing mobile portability system especially because I shifted from one State to another and I was under the impression that I can still “own” the number  without paying roaming charges since mobile number portability also offers for change of geo-location of service area. In short I greedily wanted to localise my number, which has almost become my identity. I applied for mobile number portability only to realise a rude shocking truth. It is nothing but a hypocrisy especially for women who are not ‘single’.
          When one enters a new State he/she  can not be expected to change his/her government authorised identity proofs within one day unless he/she is a government officer who has been transferred from one post to another (you may still need to wait for getting your new id card); and if the person wants to retain the identity proofs because he/she plans to get back to his/her own home state, then it is only the rent agreement which may support his/her claim for ‘authentic identity’.  Most of the times, the house owners would prefer to rent out their properties in the name of the “Karta” (o, common ! forget about the recent judgment which says even women can also be heads of families. In such situations, Karta always denotes male heads of families) and not the “Katri”(women heads or spouses) in case the so called karta wants to be lenient enough to include his wife’s name. The reason is obvious: our society still can’t accept women as equal to men.  As such, if a woman who may or may not be working (I am excluding women  government servants), and who has travelled with her husband  to another State, wishes to avail the ‘digital magic’ called mobile portability system, she may need to rely upon rent agreement and needs her husband’s signature (and in some cases the physical presence as well) for all the formalities, reducing her existence as a mere presence  of the human body without any identity. Practically, she actually may need to denounce her ‘ownership’ over the digital identity and phone number that would be allotted to the new subscriber, i.e., her husband.  I really wonder, then what is the necessity of workplace identity cards, the biometrics and the (numbness of the) ADHAR number uniqueness if these are not needed  for causes such as mobile portability system?   Are women to be considered as fugitive criminals if their existing new workplace identity cards, unchanged passports or ADHAR cards do not match with the new residential information ? what may be other unique grounds to deny women the right to avail mobile portability system when they are otherwise eligible ? It is unfortunate to note that examples of terrorism or antisocial activities carried on with the cyber aide had lead to create some policies which do not support the concept of gender equality always.  No matter how much loving and supporting the husband may be, the rules will  always be the rules and the service provider  company would always remain ‘unanswerable’ to the wife or the dependant woman (in case she is the mother or daughter or sister of the man) even if she is highly qualified professional.
The dirty dark secret behind the glaring concept of mobile portability system: gender equality and gender empowerment remains an unanswered question as ever.
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),Why mobile number  portability services may prove to be an absolute hypocrisy for women?  A dirty dark secret “published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/   on 02.09.2016