Amid growing proliferation of the internet and increasing use of online platforms in day-to-day life, the number of cyber crime cases have increased over the years in India. Over 93,000 of them were reported between 2017 and 2019, Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Parliament in the just concluded monsoon session.
According to the data published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the cybercrime cases registered in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were 21796, 27248 and 44546 respectively, the ministry said in a written reply.
Cyber crime is a criminal activity that involves the use of one or more computer and a network. A target could be an individual, an organisation or a government. Financial fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal trade, online stalking, data theft, subversion and espionage are a few examples of cyber crime.
Crimes such as revenge porn and slut shaming also increased on social media platforms. Some, rather occasional controversies are subsumed over a period. However many problems remain and justice delivery mechanisms appear to be very complex and inaccessible to women and the marginalised when it comes to cyber crimes.
Apart from simplifying means for justice delivery, there is a need to spread awareness as well as training law enforcement agencies and improve cyber forensic facilities including properly educating them on gender sensitisation. These steps would surely help to prevent such cases and expedite investigation.
There are several laws to prevent such crimes. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) has provisions regarding cheating by personation (section 66D), violation of privacy (section 66E), publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form (section 67), publishing or transmitting material containing sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form (section 67A), publishing or transmitting material depicting children in the sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form (section 67B), etc.
Rule 3 (2) (b) of Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 provides for an obligation for Intermediaries (Social media platforms) to inform users of computer resources not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous defamatory, obscene, pornographic, pedophilic, libelous, and invasive of another’s privacy.
The government is primarily responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of crimes through law enforcement machinery. Government must ensure prompt action as per provisions of law against the criminals misusing the social media and regularly post horribly misogynistic comments including rape threats to women on social media.