Current Affairs

Cyber Stalking

Cyber Stalking

With Internet usage soaring in India, so is cyber crime, but India’s laws do not appear to be adequate to tackle the surge.

In the three years up to 2013, registered cases of cyber crime were up 350%, from 966 to 4,356, according to statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

“Illegal gains” and “harassment” are the top cyber crime motives. The majority of crimes are registered under “others”; 2,144 cases were registered in this category in 2013.

Those who are arrested under these laws are overwhelmingly young. Data show that the age group of 18-30 accounts for the highest percentage of cyber crime with 1,638 persons arrested in the age bracket out of a total arrests of 3,301 in 2013.

Cyber stalking

Women are far more likely to be victims of stalking than men, as nearly four out of five stalking victims are women, while men are much more likely to be stalkers–87% of the stalkers identified by victims in the study. Finally, during their lifetimes women are twice as likely as men to be victims of stalking by strangers and eight times as likely to be victims of stalking by intimates.

What motivates a cyber stalker 

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Obsession for love
  • Revenge & Hate
  • Ego & Power Trips

How to avoid cyber-stalking

  • Be careful what personal information you share online
  • Create a different email account for registering in social networking sites
  • In your online user profile, use a photo that doesn’t identify you
  • Do an internet search of your name regularly and monitor where you appear online.
  • Make sure that your internet service provider (ISP), cell phone service, instant messenger (called internet relay chat, or IRC in some terms of service) network and other services you use has an acceptable privacy policy that prohibits cyberstalking.
  • Keep a record of your communications with internet system administrators or law enforcement officials if you report the stalker to authorities.

Laws against cyber stalking

Prior to February 2013, there were no laws that directly regulate cyber stalking in India. India’s Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act) was a set of laws to regulate the cyberspace. However, it merely focused on financial crimes and neglected interpersonal criminal behaviours such as cyber stalking.

In 2013, Indian Parliament made amendments to the Indian Penal Code, introducing cyber stalking as a criminal offence.

Stalking has been defined as

“a man who follows or contacts a woman, despite clear indication of disinterest to such contact by the woman, or monitoring of use of internet or electronic communication of a woman.”

A man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment up to three years for the first offence, and shall also be liable to fine and for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to five years and with fine.

Question:

Stalking or being ‘followed’ are problems that many people, especially women, are familiar with. Sometimes these problems can occur over the Internet so what is cyber stalking and what are the laws against it in India?

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