Of Cybercrimes And Cyberbullying: All Is Not Lost!

Posted by gargilovestoask in #NoPlace4Hate, Media
January 17, 2018
Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #NoPlace4Hate, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook have joined hands to help make the Internet a safer space for all. Watch this space for powerful stories of how young people are mobilising support and speaking out against online bullying.

With the rising number of social media networks, the world has become a smaller place. These platforms have provided people a place to voice their opinions on a wide range of issues.

With this development in technology, more and more people have come forward, and trending hashtags have become the yardsticks to measure popular opinion. But, with this new-age medium, cyberbullying has emerged. The whole world suffers from this problem.

Cyberbullying engulfs a lot of people with each passing day. However, many of us are oblivious to the fact that the Indian law protects us from this monster through the Information Technology Act, 2000. Hacking, using some else’s password, posting private pictures, blackmailing and sending obscene content can land the offenders in jail.

I have a few stories to share. Many female friends of mine have been harassed repeatedly. One of them was even sent a false image which was used to blackmail her. To escape the situation, she had to deactivate her account.

Another popular practice is bullying people openly for their differences in opinion, or on the basis of sex or religion. This relatively-new phenomenon, which is now widely prevalent, is commonly called internet trolling.

In 2017, when the Ramjas controversy broke out, a young lady called Gurmeher Kaur was trolled for her stand against violence in universities. She had also been bullied for a video that she made in 2016 to endorse friendship between India and Pakistan. She was told that she had disgraced her father, who was a martyr.

One of my friends, who happens to be a Muslim, showed her support for Gurmehar in a Facebook post. Because my friend was a Muslim, she was called a terrorist and an anti-national, besides being told to go back to Pakistan.

There is nothing new in this particular story. This is the story of many Muslims who try to oppose the ‘popular opinion’. This also happens to many people who try to raise their voices for something which doesn’t go hand-in-hand with right-wing Hindutva ideology. Often, they are told to move to Pakistan – as if Pakistan is anything but a home for people who the right wing want to discard.

My brave friend took a screenshot of that post and tagged all her trusted friends to spread the word – to show people how hate was being spread in the guise of nationalism. Although she received a lot of appreciation and support, she was also told that she was playing the ‘victim card’, for being Muslim. But in my opinion, she wasn’t. She was simply raising her voice against the wrongs that were being committed. Indeed, she was simply raising a mirror to these issues.

Cyber Crimes

Data breaching is also one of the aims of major cyber crimes in the world. Data breaching refers to a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorised to do so.

To tackle this problem, one should always be careful of the extent of information he or she shares in their social media account. Any kind of personal information shared online may led to an invasion of your privacy. Data breaches may involve financial information such as credit card or bank details, personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets of corporations or intellectual property. Most data breaches involve overexposed and vulnerable unstructured data – files, documents, and sensitive information.

Recently, the government has shown interest in making the Aadhaar card the only identity card. The government has issued instructions that make it mandatory to link various things like bank accounts, mobile numbers, PAN accounts, etc. The Aadhaar card constitutes a person’s biometric information and is prone to misuse.

However, this issue has been challenged in the the apex court of our country and is under jurisdiction. After all, this policy may make the personal information of an individual vulnerable. According to a recent controversial allegation put forth by The Tribune, by just giving ₹500 to an anonymous seller on WhatsApp, a seller allegedly provided an ID and password to the correspondent and gave her access to a portal where she could access personal details such as names, addresses, postal codes (PIN), photos, phone numbers and email IDs. Isn’t this a case of data breach? Has the establishment turned a blind eye to the flaws in its own institutions?

A 2016 report revealed that in only 30% of the cases of cyber crimes reported throughout the year, charge-sheets were filed. Uttar Pradesh had the greatest number of cyber crime incidents – with 2,639 crimes being reported.

The Ministry of Home affairs is set to launch a web portal where one can report cyber crimes online. It is also very important for us to be brave and raise a voice when necessary. You may be laughed upon, bullied, rattled for your opinions – but it is very important to put them forth. And, in the end, one should always remember that the truth always prevails. So, be brave.