Ignore the daily onslaught of harassing and violent threats you receive online. Every other day, ladies receive that instruction from their family members. However, these constant reminders constitute a threat to women’s professional opportunities, psychological abilities, and online freedom. Cybercrimes against women are a relatively recent notion in India. It should be recalled that when India first entered the information and technology field, the necessity for urgent protection of electronic commerce and related communications—rather than of cyber-specializing communications—was felt. The Model Law on Electronic Commerce, which the United Nations General Assembly enacted by resolution in 1997 was a major inspiration for the authors of the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000. The Act ended up being an incomplete piece of legislation because it included cyberattacks on people that were not commercial, in addition to electronic commerce.
Cyber Crime Against Women in India
Cybercrime is a widespread issue. With the development of technology, cybercrime and the exploitation of women are on the rise and pose a serious threat to an individual’s overall security. Even though India is one of the select few nations to have passed the IT Act, of 2000 to combat cybercrimes, women’s issues are still unaddressed by this Act. According to the aforementioned Act, some offenses such as hacking, posting pornographic content online and data tampering is criminal. This Act broadly addresses economic and commercial offenses, as is evident from the Preamble of the IT Act. It will be abundantly obvious from the case laws described later on that the majority of cybercrime against women reported to the police fall under the purview of Section 67 of the Information Technology Act of 2000 (publishing or transmitting obscene content in electronic form).
Various forms of cybercrime targeted Women
The following crimes can be mentioned as specifically targeting women among the many cybercrimes performed against people and society at large:-
- Email harassment is not a novel concept: – It is quite comparable to letter-based harassment. Blackmailing, threatening, intimidating, and even email-based cheating are all forms of harassment. Although electronic harassment is similar to verbal abuse, it becomes problematic when it is uploaded under a false mail identity.
Cyber Stalking: – Cyberstalking refers to following someone’s internet activities. This includes going into chat rooms the victim frequently frequents, putting messages—sometimes frightening ones—on message boards, they usually visit, bombarding the victim with emails, etc. Typically, women who are stalked by men or children who are being sought by pedophiles or other adult predators suffer from cyberstalking. Usually new to the internet and naïve in concerns of netiquette and online safety, the victim of a cyber stalker is not a computer whiz. Typically, women, children, those who are weak or unstable emotionally, etc., are their main targets.
- Cyber Pornography: – Cyberporn is the second issue that worries female internet users. Pornographic websites printed materials produced using computers, and the Internet all fall under this category (to download and transmit pornographic pictures, photos, writings, etc.). The dissemination of crimes like pornography has become simpler because of the internet. As it is known, internet porn is frequently encountered. The majority of websites on the Internet currently feature pornographic material. Hard drives, floppy discs, and CD-ROMs are examples of new media that make it simpler and less expensive to replicate pornographic content. The new technology goes further than merely extending the existing file formats, such as text, images, and graphics.
- Cyber Defamation: – Cybertort, which includes libel and slander, is another frequent online crime against women. This happens when libel is spread online or through the use of computers. For instance, someone might post defamatory information about another person on a website or send that person’s friends defamatory emails.
- Morphing: – Editing an image by morphing involves using a false identity or an illegal user. Female photographs are downloaded by fictitious users, edited, and then reposted or shared on other websites using fictitious profiles. This constitutes a breach of Sections 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act of 2000.
- E-mail Spoofing: – A fraudulent email that uses a different identity is one illustration. It proves that the origin of something’s fundamental nature is different from the origin of the thing itself. The most common way that guys approach women is by emailing them soiled images of themselves, complementing their looks, and either asking them out on a date or how much their “services” cost. Many of them send sexual chat messages, emails, and SMS messages in addition to morphing photos that feature the victim’s face on another, generally nude, body. On another occasion, a couple entered a chat room on the internet and decided to disrobe in front of a webcam.
Provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 Relating to Cybercrime and Offences against Women in India
Even though Chapter XI of the IT Act addresses offenses like altering computer source documents, hacking computer systems, disseminating pornographic content online, breaking security restrictions, violating confidentiality and privacy, and publishing for malicious purposes, the IT Act of 2000 still needs to be amended. Jurisdiction, evidence loss, a dearth of a cyber army, and technologically savvy judges are among the core problems with cybercrimes. The judiciary plays a crucial role in modifying legislation to reflect current developments.
One such action that deserves appreciation is the P.I.L., which the Kerala High Court recognized through email. With the growing influence of cyberspace, the idea of geographical jurisdiction as envisioned by Sections 16 of the C.P.C. and 2 of the I.P.C. must make way for new approaches to conflict resolution. Additionally, popular cybercrimes like e-mail spoofing, morphing, and cyberstalking are not listed as offenses in the IT Act of 2000.
Loopholes in the present legislation
The Information Technology Act of 2000, which is now in effect, is ineffective in protecting women online and preventing cybercrimes against them in India. However, the revised version satisfactorily removes several issues. The “offense” portion of the current law, the Information Technology Act (Amended) in 2008, has been expanded to cover several major wrongdoings such as criminal and punitive. For instance, Section 66A introduces a novel clause called “Punishment for sending offensive messages via communication service, etc.” for the first time. If seen broadly, this section also defends against cyberbullying, cyberdefamation, and cyber fame. The section’s language is gender-neutral. But in light of the situation, this section helps in preventing online eve-teasing. Under section 66 C, this novel act also deals with identity theft. This section can be incredibly effective in punishing those who engage in nefarious behavior on social networking sites, chat rooms, and online marriage forums. Three clauses address child pornography, sexually explicit material, and obscenity. Some may argue that these restrictions are only safety nets to defend against and protect online immorality.
Case Laws on Cybercrime against Women in India
- L. Prakash v Superintendent:- In this instance, an orthopedic surgeon is accused of forcing women to engage in sexual activity on camera, posting the videos, and then selling them as adult entertainment products all over the world.
He was charged with breaking Sections 67, 506, and 367 percent of the IPC of the Information Technology Act of 2000. (Which dealt with obscene publication on the internet)? He was given a life sentence and a fine of rupees 1, 25,000 under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act of 1956.
- The State of Tamil Nadu v Suhas Katti: – This case concerns the publishing of an offensive, hurtful, and bothersome comment about a divorced woman in a Yahoo chat group. Through a fake email account, he set up in the victim’s name, the accused forwarded emails to the victim demanding information. The lady received a bothersome phone call as a result of these ads. Police arrested the suspect as a result of the complaint. He was interested in marrying the victim and was a well-known family acquaintance. She got divorced after getting married to someone else, and the accused started getting in touch with her again.
Given that more people around the world are using computers and the internet, where it is simple to access any information quickly and easily using the internet, which serves as the medium for enormous amounts of information and a large base of communications globally, certain precautionary measures should be taken by netizens while using the internet to help combat this serious threat of cybercrime. Indian women who use the internet are still hesitant to immediately report online crimes or harassment. The way a cybercriminal operates and what drives it.
Author(s) Name: Ms. Soram Agrawal (Devi Ahilya Vishva Vidhyalaya Indore)
 Information Technology Act, 2000, s 67
 Information Technology Act, 2000, ss 43 and 66
 Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, s 16
 Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 2
Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008
 Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, s 66A
 Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, s 66C
Dr. L. Prakash v Superintendent (2002) Writ Petition No. 7313/2002
 Indian Penal Code, 1860, ss 67, 506, and 367
The State of Tamil Nadu v Suhas Katti (2004) C No. 4680 of 2004