C Y B E R S A A T H I

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REVENGE PORN IS AN OFFENCE

Instance 1: Boy proposes to girl; girl refuses; boy gets upset and decides to take revenge – after all he has easy access to girl’s photos and videos. Boy makes a fake email id of the girl and uses it to upload her personal contact details online as if she is soliciting;

Boy and girl meet and start dating; girl breaks up with boy; boy threatens to upload pictures and videos they both took on their phones by consent and forces girl to continue the relationship. In some instances, it could have worse consequences of threatening the girl to dispense sexual favours to others or be blackmailed into paying money.

Instance 2: Roles could be reversed and it could be that the boy breaks up and the girl threatens him with pictures and videos they took together.

Instance 3: Married couples decide to get adventurous and take amorous photos and videos and if they break up, these videos become strong weapons. One spouse starts threatening the other with exposure online or through other digital modes.

If you are a victim of Revenge Porn, the law indeed provides punishments against such blackmail and extortion.

Revenge Porn is a slow poison offence, which, otherwise law-abiding persons and in many instances children and youngsters indulge in. Armed with mobile phones, everyone seems to forget that recording of private moments and threatening using them is definitely an offence. Such crimes are mostly driven by passion and misguided belief in entitlement.

Remember – Consent for taking photos or videos is NOT consent for sharing them online or through other digital meansSuch sharing is punishable irrespective of whether the victim agreed to the taking of pictures or recording of videos.

What remedies does law provide?

Offences do not have specific terminology as will be used colloquially. That does not mean there are no remedies. It is incorrect to think you have no remedies. Law indeed provides punishments against such blackmail and extortion.

Depending on the facts of the case, you may invoke sections of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) and / or under Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended) (“IT Act”). For instance, you may invoke IPC offences of Voyeurism (S.354 IPC) and / or extortion (Section 383 / 384 IPC). You could also file a Criminal complaint based on offences of identity theft (S. 66C IT Act); violation of privacy (S.66E IT Act); If the threats involve circulation of obscene or sexually explicit content Sections 67 / 67A of IT Act may also be invoked. If such revenge porn content pertains to children, the same would amount to offences under The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and cases may be filed under the same too. These are only indicative and depending on the type or form of commission of the offence and the stage of such commission, various criminal provisions may be invoked. Content that may have been saved in multiple devices can be tracked and more importantly upload of identified content can be blocked. All of this will be feasible only if you take the help of law enforcement.

Hence don’t hesitate to file complaints – you can do this online on cybercrime.gov.in  and offences against women and children can be filed anonymously also. Seek justice and ensure that criminals do not harm you or others. Be A Cyber Saathi!

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