This article is written by Samridhi Sachdeva pursuing BBA LLB from Gitarattan International Business School, GGSIPU. This article tries to explain about one of the major cyber crimes, i.e. cyber stalking, types of cyberstalking and how to avoid being one of the victims. It also lists some laws that give protection from cyber stalking.
Technology, nowadays, is being updated on a regular basis. From taking help from Google to getting jobs online, technology has developed in many ways. It allows one to open up in front of people and share their emotions and keep their opinions in front of others. It has given us all the advantages to get more aware, educated and confident about everything going on around the world.
But, when you talk about the advantages of one thing, there come the disadvantages attached to it. The technology in today’s world lets people know about each other’s lifestyle, hobbies and much other personal information. And many people, whether known to us or not misuse this and try to threaten or bully us through social media platforms, emails or any websites etc. Such things are known as “cyber crimes” and the Information Technology Act, 2000 and The Indian Penal Code describes these cyber crimes and their punishment.
One of the most committed cyber crimes is “cyber stalking”. In this, the person or the stalker uses any of the electronic means to harass, stalk or threaten the victim to take revenge from the victim, to control the victim or just because of the anger issues. Further, the article provides a clear view of cyber stalking.
Cyber stalking, is a crime that is done using the online platform to stalk, harass or threaten the victim in order to get control over the victim, take revenge or for some financial gains as well. It is a continuous process and it often leads to or is accompanied by offline stalking.
And cyber bullying or cyber trolling is very different from cyber stalking. Cyber trolling and cyber bullying are often taken as jokes or normally. As the celebrities or the semi-celebrities create their social media platforms, they are ready for the negative comments too. But cyber stalking is a repeated process, and the stalker harasses or threatens the victim, in a very negative manner and on a regular basis tries to hack their system or passwords for catfishing.
Catfishing- It is a part of cyber crimes. When a person tries to pose as someone else and create a different profile with those photos and orders something online or copy the existing profiles of the users for all this purpose, then that is known as catfishing.
- False accusation/victimisation: The stalkers usually put false accusations and play the victim role to commit this crime and harass the original victim for the reasons of money basically.
- Attempts to gather information about the victim: The stalker tries to take information about the victim through online resources.
- Encouraging others to harass or threaten the victim: The stalkers even try to involve the third person by forcing them to harass the main victim.
- Monitoring their online activities and attempting to trace their IP address: The stalkers generally, through some sites or social media monitor the victim’s online activities and try to obtain their IP address to look after what all the victim is doing online.
- Hacking the data and equipment: The stalkers use different techniques and try to hack the victim’s computer, laptop etc. and get all the data to threaten the victim.
- Orders goods and services: The stalkers after hacking the data and email passwords of the victim, orders some goods and services and delivers to the victim’s address only. This goods and services most of the time include pornographic material only.
- Defamation: The stalker defames or spoils the image and reputation of the victim by posting negative and false content online.
Types of Cyber Stalking
- Stalking by Stranger: There is no particular definition of a stalker. A stalker may share a former or present relationship but most of the time it is done by a stranger who does not know the victim that much but has only known him through an online portal.
- Intimate partners: The stalker is sometimes your own partner with whom you share an intimate and romantic relationship. It is a type of domestic violence only. The partners may threat or harass the other partner by sending them threatening emails or using their emails. The stalkers do this to get control over their partner.
- Celebrities and public persons: The celebrities and public persons become the victim of cyberstalking too soon. The stalkers do this for being in the public eye and getting fame. The stalkers are usually the fans of the celebrities and may make up fake stories about the celebrities and take the risk of cyber stalking just for fame.
- Corporate Cyber Stalking: Some individuals or a group of them threatens or harass an organisation or vice versa. This is done for financial gains and controls.
Laws related to Cyber Stalking
As the stalkers have no particular identity, they have anonymous identities online, so it is sometimes difficult to catch the stalker. Also, the victims should not post any personal information on a public platform. Or else it will be very easy for the stalkers to get control over or defame the victim. The laws on cyber crimes are given under the Indian Penal Code and IT Act, 2000 in India. The laws related to cyber stalking are as follows-
- Section 354D, Indian Penal Code: This section deals with stalking and clause(2) of this section talks about cyber stalking. Anyone who commits the crime of cyber stalking fulfilling the conditions under this section shall be punished with an imprisonment of 3 years at first stage and imprisonment of five years at the second stage.
- Section 354A, Indian Penal Code: This section provides that if someone comments something fake or negative about the victim, then the person shall be punished with an imprisonment of one year and fine.
- Section 354C,.Indian Penal Code: This section provides punishment for voyeurism, when a man posts fake and defaming things about a woman. Cyber stalking is a crime that includes voyeurism too.
- Section 66E, IT Act: The guilty person may publish images that can violate the privacy of the victim and is liable to be punished with the punishment of imprisonment for a term of 3 years and with fine of 2 lakhs to 10 lakhs.
- Section 67, IT Act: This section particularly deals with cyber crimes and their punishment.
Cyber stalking has laws related to it, which can save the image and reputation of the victims. When the man is harassing or threatening a woman, then the woman can go and report to the National Commission for Women (NCW). Otherwise, they can complain in court. And to avoid stalking, the people should try to keep a low profile online, and maintain their digital hygiene, don’t share your IP address or passwords with anyone and avoid sharing your personal information. If you don’t want to take this to court, then the first step you can do is to block and report the accounts of the stalker.
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