PRIVATE DATA, PRIVACY IN THE INTERNET ERA, BLACKMAILING, AND REVENGE PORN

Introduction

Privacy is an important aspect of one's life, especially when it comes to the protection of personal information which is present on social media and other virtual platforms. Illegal extraction of one's data by way of hacking, either by government or by private agency violates the individual's personal right to privacy. India has recently introduced a data protection bill that will overcome the effect of data stealing.



Definition

"Private data" means any personal information or details regarding financial or sensitive information such as debit cards, credit cards, and passwords. " Privacy in the internet era" means the protection of personal data that is available on digital platforms. The term " Blackmailing" is when a person threatens another person to leak or publish any personal and sensitive information. When a person distributes sexually explicit images or videos of another person on any of the public platforms without their consent is called "Revenge Porn".


Private data and public data

Public data can be used by a large group of people for any informative data which can be useful to the public but private data includes the individual's details like their own ideas, residential details, beliefs, thoughts, and most importantly financial details like bank accounts, debit, and credit card details. This information must not be accessible to the public hence it is projected and encrypted.

Private data must be secured in this era of the internet because it is essential not to disclose private details to everyone. Rapid growth of

The Internet in this era makes it difficult to secure private data hence the misuse of information related to crimes is increasing. Nowadays internet access is easily available. Laws have been made and amended times to overcome the crimes of hacking.



Privacy in the internet era

We are in an information age and any information is just one click away. Over the last decade, there is an increase in the amount of data that is generated through the various usages of applications.

In the pandemic, many people started using the internet. Nowadays people have easy access to the internet which leads to increasing cybercrime rates.

The right to privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen of India. It is an intrinsic part of article 12 of the Indian constitution that protects the life and liberty of citizens and as a part of freedom guaranteed by part III of the Indian constitution.


Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India

This case was led by the nine-judge bench on 24th August 2017 giving a verdict affirming that the constitution of India guarantees to every citizen of India a fundamental right to privacy.



Blackmailing

Blackmailing is a method of coercion to a person or a group of people threatening to disclose or release substantively true or false information unless their requirements or specific demands are met. The information is usually harmful and can only be shared with relatives or associates rather than with the general public. It could include threatening the victim or a close person to the victim, it can be in a form of mental, physical, and emotional harm to the victim.

Most of the time, Blackmailing is done for personal benefit, it can be in the form of power, money, and property.

India has experienced an increase in cases of cybercrime which is effectively blackmailing for sexual advantage. Sextortion usually involves a blackmailer who has the victim's photos and films.



Law to prevent blackmailing

•Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, deals with blackmailing which is a crime. whoever threatened another person with an injury to the person, reputation and property is punishable under section 503.

•Section 384 deals with extortion which is punishable with imprisonment for 3 years with or a fine or both.

•section 292 of IPC deals with the person who has published or threatened to disclose any intimate or compromising pictures through any electronic media.

•section 354c of IPC deals with if a photo of a lady is taken obscenely and distributed without her knowledge.

•section 66E of IT Act, 2000 deals with the violation of privacy.

•Section 67 of the IT Act 2000 deals with transmitting obscene electronic material.

•section 67B of IT Act 2000 deals with child pornography.

• section 67A of the IT Act deals with electronic material containing sexually explicit acts.



Revenge porn

Revenge porn is the distribution of intimate pictures or compromising images without their consent. Most of the time material is made by the intimate partner in a relationship, with the consent or knowledge of the subject, or may have been made without knowledge. The subject may have experienced sexual violence while recording the material. The term revenge porn refers to the uploading of sexually explicit material on digital platforms to humiliate a subject. When the relationship turns hostile, either of the former partners uses the recorded material to threaten and blackmail the person by letting pictures and videos out in public or with family and friends. Even in standard pornography, two consenting adults are required to participate, but in revenge porn it is consensual.

According to the National Crime records bureau data, between the years 2012 to 2014, cases of revenge porn increased by a 104% spike.

Cybercrime report of 2010, only 35% of victimized women recorded their cases, and 18% of women were not even aware that they have become a victim of revenge porn.



Prevention

Private data:

To prevent theft of private data, change passwords regularly. Your passwords are like a key to your locker. Avoid sharing passwords with others. Avoid using the same password for different accounts like emails, investments, and net banking. Do not save login credentials on personal devices. When devices are given for maintenance, the information, and private data can be stolen. Never disclose your details to anyone. Avoid unsafe ATMs, try to use ATMs which are either inside of the bank or guards protect the premises.


Blackmailing:

To prevent blackmailing, a person should not post any personal information on digital platforms, which is easily available. Never share your passwords with anyone. Never respond to negative posts. Block any user that sends you sexual content on social media sites.



• Section 507 IPC for Criminal Intimidation

• Section 66 E of the IT Act for Violation of Privacy

• Section 67 of the IT Act for Transmitting Obscene Material on digital platform

• Section 67 A of IT Act in case of sexually explicit material or Section 67B of IT Act in case of explicit material related to Child/ren

• Section 503 IPC for Blackmailing

• Section 383 IPC for Extortion and Section 384 IPC for punishment under Extortion

• Section 292 A for Cyber Blackmailing

• Section 354 A for stalking women

• Section 499 IPC for Defamation

• Section 509 IPC for insulting the modesty of women



Revenge porn:

By far the best way to prevent revenge porn is not to share intimate images with anyone or avoid recording private moments, this will prevent revenge porn and blackmailing.

Awareness programs by schools, colleges, and parents to educate the children about the risk of sexting.

According to the verdict of the state of West Bengal v. Animesh box. This case was given a landmark judgment on revenge porn in March 2018 by the session court of talk, west Bengal. The 23 years old was in a relationship with the 20 years old victim. On the promise of marriage, he obtained private and intimate pictures of the victim. When the victim broke off the marriage, the accused uploaded the material on a porn site and blackmailed her into getting back into the relationship. The court sentenced a man to 5 years of imprisonment with a fine of Rs.9000. The accused was charged under sections 354A, 354C, 354, and 509 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Further, he was charged under sections 66E, 66C, 67, and 67A of the information technology Act.

The court ordered for the 20 years old victim to be treated as a rape survivor and ordered to provide appropriate compensation.



Conclusion

To ensure that everyone can register a complaint against theft of private data, blackmailing and revenge porn, the system must be formal and confidential to ensure that occurrence is investigated with promised secrecy. Most important legal institutions and NGOs must be established for victims as well as psychological support for victims to come up and hold abusers accountable. Everyone who is a victim must come forward to make complaints. They should be aware of their rights. Government must take initiatives to prevent cybercrimes through campaigns, posters, and awareness among people. Government must protect the reputation and privacy of the victim.

The victim of cybercrime can register their complaint on www.cybercrime.gov.in

A victim can register an F.I.R at the nearest police station.



A victim can approach the police commissioner if they are unable to register it with the police station. A woman victim can complain to the national commission for women. Cyber cells specifically deal with cybercrime victims.

Society must encourage the victims to come forward to NGOs and the government can take measures to create an environment that encourages the victim to share his plight and not succumb to the demand of the blackmailers.


References

1.https://lawtimesjournal.in/privacy-in-internet-era#:~:text=Privacy%20is%20an%20important%20aspect,personal%20rights%20of%20the%20individual.

2.https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-7868-privacy-in-internet-era-focusing-on-data-staling-blackmailing-and-fraud.html

3.https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/blog.ipleaders.in/what-can-i-do-if-someone-is-blackmailing-me-online/%3famp=1

4.https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/blog.ipleaders.in/victim-revenge-porn/%3famp=1


This article is written by Anjali Ravindra More of NEW LAW COLLEGE, MUMBAI.

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