Bhubaneswar: Odisha has witnessed an unprecedented rise in cybercrime cases in the recent past. The official figures suggest that 16 cybercrime cases were registered under IT Act registered in 2016 which rose to 28 this year (till Oct).
Online harassment, which includes cyber pornography, cyber stalking, cyber defamation, child pornography and creation of a fake Facebook account, has emerged as the newest threat out of all other cybercrimes.
What brought online harassment to light was the conviction of RTI activist Jayant Das for having sent obscene messages to people by creating fake Facebook profile and Mithun Sahoo’s arrest in Puri for uploading picture of activist Linkan Subudhi on a free classifieds website. Recently, there have been numerous cases of sex videos going viral on WhatsApp and Facebook, too.
Sadly, very few cases are reported because most times, people aren’t aware of being harassed online. What we must know is that anyone sending abusive/obscene/explicit messages, stalking, threatening in any manner, creating fake ids, morphing pictures, circulating private messages, circulating obscene pictures/videos, is worthy of punishment under the IT Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code.
Tania Dey, an engineering student in Bhubaneswar, spoke about how a man on Facebook kept sending her explicit messages, “I blocked him. Reported his account on Facebook but the problem is, he will create another account and do the same with someone else. Reaching out to the police is such a tiring task, we often refrain from doing so.
Ratnakar Pati, a professor of English in a college here, said, “I think, the major reason why people are harassed online is, the harasser can stay anonymous. One can always create profiles with fake names. It also makes it difficult to reach these harassers. All I can say is, people need to be careful about what they post online.”
Here are some sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, 2000 that can help you reach out to the police in case of online harassment of any kind:
Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000-: Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.
Section 66E of the IT Act, 2000– Punishment for violation of privacy.
Section 67 (a) of the IT Act, 2000– Punishment for publishing or transmitting materials containing sexually explicit acts, etc. electronically.
Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code- Punishment for criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes.
Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code– Punishment for assaulting or forcing a woman criminally with an intent to outrage her modesty.