How do India’s cyber laws fare in Matters of Cyber Bullying

AUTHORED BY:

Sanjana Mishra, NMIMS School of Law

Anila Krishna, Pendekanti Law College

Savi Phutela, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

EDITED BY:

Smaraki Nayak, Amity Law School, Noida


CYBER-BULLYING - THE MATTER OF CONCERN

Cybercrimes and Cyber-Bullying are part of the same thread of Advancement of Technology and Electronic Development. As the Technology is increasing, Cybercrimes, Cyberattacks, Cyber-Bullying are increasing as well. Therefore, Cyber laws were created to secure the users from fraudulent activities and dishonest behaviour of the criminal committing cybercrimes. Crimes related to cyber cell with regard to Information Technology Act, 2000 includes Hacking, Phishing, Electronic Theft, Cybersquatting, Breach of Confidentiality Etc. Other than this Cyber-bullying is being most concerned matter recently. Due to increase in usage of Internet, Social Media, Online courses and teachings etc. one needs to be aware of the consequences and be aware of the Criminals.

Internet is arguably one of the most efficient and helpful resources available to us. From instantly looking up for information, to meeting our entertainment needs, to being a one-stop-shop for millions of things, we have a lot to thank for when it comes to the web. However, at the same time, and very unfortunately, the internet is also extremely dangerous. Every internet user should and must know how to be safe. internet safety tips and tricks are spread out all over the web and criminals accused of crimes can make quite tricky for others to be tracked.

On the other hand, Cyber-bullying is on spike as the usage of Internet is increasing. Cyber-bullying refers to bullying which takes place online and covers a wide range of behaviour intended to harass or ridicule the victim online. For instance, online trolls, morphing of images, abusive messages and revenge porn are forms of Cyber-Bullying. Cyber-bullying differs from bullying which takes place in the offline context because perpetrators of Cyber-Bullying are often anonymous and can harass their victims without the risk of identification in many cases. Cyber-Bullying includes:

· spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media

· sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms

· impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.

METHODS OF CYBER-BULLYING

1. SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media tool provides platform to content creators and quick approach to the public. Many people are connected with each other through video calls and direct messaging. This platform if gives heights to the public through advancement of technology, the same is the risk to the privacy of individual is there. This give rise to Cybercrimes.

Delhi police arrested Instagram admin in ‘BOIS LOCKER ROOM’ case reportedly created to share photos of minor girl and exchange lewd comments. On 5th may the members of the group were being questioned by cybercrime cell. They violated the Right to Privacy and were involved in serious cybercrime.[1]

2. GAMING: Gaming has become essential part of one’s entertainment source. Neglecting the consequences many people provide the application with their personal information and the cybercriminals get the chance to manipulate the gamer and commit various crimes like cyberbullying and spreading personal information without being tracked.

HC file PIL to ban PUBG which is a video gaming application as the game promotes violence, aggression and cyberbullying.[2]

3. SEARCH ENGINES: Whenever one needs to find information about something, web provides us with thousands of solutions with various websites. Cybercriminals are hidden behind some of these search engines to get the private information and use their skills to approach various stations and commit cybercrimes.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

In a country like India where we are going through a digital revolution and number of people with accessibility to internet is increasing day by day, the phenomenon of cyber-bullying, trolling and online crimes are also on rise. The inadvertent rise in online form of harassment through commenting, trolling publishing videos and photo of a person without their consent, posting fake information about someone which may or may not incite hate against a person are becoming a hassle to deal with. The culprit usually hides behind a screen and mostly the cyber-bullying goes unreported. There are no specific law dealing with Cyber-bullying but rather certain laws can be extended to this crime as well are as follows:

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT – There exist no specific provisions pertaining to cyberbullying but various provisions can be used in this regard: -

Section 66A – Sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Sec.66C – Identity Theft

Sec.66D – Cheating by personation by using the computer resource

Sec.66E – Violation of privacy

Sec.67B – Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in any sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form

Sec.72 – Breach of confidentiality and privacy

INDIAN PENAL CODE also has certain section which may be extended to cyberbullying

Sec.503 – Sending threatening messages through email (covered under criminal intimidation)

Sec.509 – Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

Sec.499 – Sending defamatory messages through email (as covered under defamation)

Sec .500 – Email Abuse (as covered under defamation)

The extension of these IPC section to the digital arena shows how courts are recognizing the vices in the digital media and how it is equally powerful for perpetrators to commit a crime

AWARENESS

Various awareness campaigns are organized by the Cyber cell authorities to aware public at large. Some of the important questions are discussed by UNICEF to aware people about Cyber-Bullying and Cybercrimes.[6]

v Are you being bullied online?

There is always difference between joking and bullying.

UNICEF: All friends joke around with each other, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if someone is just having fun or trying to hurt you, especially online. Sometimes they’ll laugh it off with a “just kidding,” or “don’t take it so seriously.” But if you feel hurt or think others are laughing at you instead of with you, then the joke has gone too far. If it continues even after you’ve asked the person to stop and you are still feeling upset about it, then this could be bullying. And when the bullying takes place online, it can result in unwanted attention from a wide range of people including strangers. If you are not happy about it, you should not have to stand for it.

Call it what you will – if you feel bad and it doesn’t stop, then it’s worth getting help. Stopping cyberbullying is not just about calling out bullies, it’s also about recognizing that everyone deserves respect – online and in real life.

v What are the effects of cyberbullying?

UNICEF: When bullying happens online it can feel as if you’re being attacked everywhere, even inside your own home. It can seem like there’s no escape. The effects can last a long time and affect a person in many ways:

• Mentally — feeling upset, embarrassed, stupid, even angry

• Emotionally — feeling ashamed or losing interest in the things you love

• Physically — tired (loss of sleep), or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches and headaches.

v Why is reporting important?

UNICEF: If you think you’re being bullied, the first step is to seek help from someone you trust such as your parents, a close family member or another trusted adult. In your school you can reach out to a counsellor, the sports coach or your favourite teacher. If you are in immediate danger, then you should contact the police or emergency services in your country.

Anyone can become the victim of Cyber-Bullying. For bullying to stop, it needs to be identified and reporting is the key.

v How do I prevent my personal information from being used to manipulate or humiliate me on social media?

UNICEF: Think twice before posting or sharing anything online – it may stay online forever and could be used to harm you later. Don’t give out personal details such as your address, telephone number or the name of your school.

There are various tools which are available on social media handles for community support:

· Mute -removing an account's Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account.

· Block - restricting specific accounts from contacting you, seeing your Tweets, and following you.

· Report - filing a report about abusive behaviour.

REFERENCES AND CITATIONS:

o ICLG book of Cybersecurity laws and Regulations by GV Anand, Tejas and Shahana

o Economic Times

o [1]https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/bois-locker-room-letter-petition-before-sc-seeks-criminal-action-156262

o [2]https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/pil-ban-on-pubg-bombay-hc-centre-maharashtra-govts-response-142966

o [3]https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/zoom-violates-right-to-privacy-letter-petition-to-cji-seeks-ban-on-video-conferencing-app-read-petition-155406

o [4] https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/centre-blocks-50-chinese-mobile-apps-including-tik-tok-citing-security-concerns-159109

o [5]Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India- Rules and Regulations for safety use of Applications {meity.gov.in}

o [6] The Information Technology Act, 2000. ACT NO. 21 OF 2000 [9th June, 2000].

o [7] The Indian Penal Code 1860

o [8]https://www.unicef.org/end-violence/how-to-stop-cyberbullying

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