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Indian Muslim Women auctioned on Bulli Bai app, hundred of pics uploaded on the application

Indian Muslim Women auctioned on Bulli Bai app, hundred of pics uploaded on the application

Relevance:

  • GS 3 || Security || Internal Security Threats || Human Trafficking

Why in news?

Indian Muslim Women auctioned on Bulli Bai app.

Introduction:

Hundreds of Muslim women were listed for “auction” on the ‘Bulli Bai’ mobile application with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. It has happened for the second time in less than a year. The app appeared to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’ which triggered a similar row last year.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR against unknown persons for allegedly uploading a doctored picture of a woman journalist on a website. The journalist had lodged a complaint and shared a copy on Twitter.

All about Cyber Threat and Women:

The amount of persons that have internet access India’s population is growing at a rapid pace. Despite its unrealized potential, India is presently the world’s second largest online market. Although technological advancements and the internet have brought with them several benefits, they have also resulted in an upsurge in cybercrime, which is hurting people all over the world. The Pegasus snooping scandal and the Wannacry attack have exposed India’s vulnerability to cyber-crime threats.

How was the social media used for women empowerment?

Hashtag activisms sought to mobilise the public for a particular cause. Some of the notable examples include:

  • #MeTooMovement: A global effort to raise public awareness to powerful and renowned men’s sexual harassment and abuse.
  • #BringBackOurGirls: Campaign to rescue abducted schoolgirls
  • #HeForShe campaign: Campaign led by the UN Women for highlighting the need for the involvement of men and boys for achieving gender equality
  • #LikeAGirl campaign sought to curb gender stereotyping and increase confidence among women and girls.
  • #GenerationEquality: During the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995, the campaign was launched in 2020. For the advancement of women’s rights, 189 nations ratified the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995.

What are the challenges for women on online platfroms?

  • Harassment through e-mails: Blackmailing, threatening and persistent sending of love letters in anonymous names, or regular sending of embarrassing messages are examples of email harassment.
    • In 2001, a young man in the 11th Grade was convicted under section 509 for making vulgar remarks about female classmates on a website called Amazing.com. It was not only a successful use of Section 509 to curb online harassment, but the first time a minor had been booked under the law.
  • Cyber stalking: Stalkers are strengthened by the anonymity the internet affords. He could be on the other side of the globe, a next-door neighbour, or a distant relative!’ It entails tracking a person’s online activities by posting (often threatening) remarks on bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering chat rooms frequented by the victim, and persistently bombarding the victim with emails, among other things. In general, the stalker’s messages are intended to inflict emotional anguish and have no genuine purpose.
    • Ritu Kohli’s case was India’s first case of cyber stalking reported in India.
  • Cyber defamation: The intentional infringement of ‘another person’s right to his good name,’ also known as cyber defamation or cyber smearing, is defined as the intentional infringement of ‘another person’s right to his good name.’ Computers and/or the Internet are used to perpetrate cyber-defamation. Because of its speed, it is regarded as a greater threat.
  • Child pornography: Child sexually abusive material (CSAM) is any material that contains a sexual image of a child who has been mistreated or sexually exploited in any form. “It is illegal for posting or transmitting content depicting children in sexually explicit acts, etc. in electronic form,” says Section 67 (B) of the IT Act.
  • Cyber bullying: Harassment or bullying perpetrated through the use of electronic or communication devices such as a computer, cellphone, laptop, or other similar device.
  • Cyber grooming: When a person establishes an online contact with a young person and manipulates or forces him or her into doing sexual acts, this is known as cyber grooming.

Laws to address cyber crimes against women:

  • Cyberbullying:
    • Cyberbullying or harassment is defined as the use of electronic or communication equipment such as computers, mobile phones, social media platforms, and other similar devices for the purpose of posting harsh words, disparaging comments, false information, threats, and other similar activities.
    • The IPC, 1860, does not define or punish bullying. Various laws of the IT Act of 2000 and the IPC, on the other hand, can be utilised to combat cyberbullying.
  • Cyberstalking of women:
    • This offence includes sending threatening/obscene contents, stealing an individual’s identity and disseminating false information about them for the purpose of humiliating and harassing them, tracing individual’s locations illegally, and posting derogatory remarks online.
    • Women’s cyberstalking is illegal under sections 354A and 354D of the IPC.
  • Online sexual harassment:
    • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, CrPC 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act allow sexual harassment to be prosecuted.
  • Fake profile creation: Fake profiles are frequently made in order to smear victims’ reputations. If the formation of such profiles is accompanied by the uploading of vulgar or obscene images of the victim, following sections of the IPC will apply:
    • Section 354A (sexual harassment)
    • Section 354D (stalking)
    • Sections 499 and 500 (defamation and punishment for defamation)
    • Section 507 (criminal intimidations by an anonymous communication)
    • Section 509 (word, gesture or act for insulting the modesty of women)
  • Obscenity:
    • Sections 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act would penalise digital communication of obscene, sexually explicit, and other items.
    • Child pornography is addressed in Section 67B of the IT Act.
    • Similar rules can also be found in sections 292 and 294 of the IPC.
  • Privacy breach:
    • Individuals who willfully take, publish, or transmit photos of a private area without agreement are penalised under Section 66E of the IT Act.
    • Activities that offend a woman’s modesty or invade her private are criminal under Section 509 of the IPC.

Initiatives are being taken by the government to enhance cyber-security in India:

  • Information Act, 2000: The Information Act of 2000 (as revised in 2008) is India’s primary cybercrime and digital commerce law.
  • National Cyber Security Policy, 2013: The policy lays out the vision and strategic direction for safeguarding the nation’s cyberspace.
  • The CERT-In (Cyber Emergency Response Team – India): Since 2004, CERT-In has been in operation. It is the central agency for responding to computer security incidents as they arise across the country.
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): The Union Government has made the decision to establish 14C. It will serve as the top coordination centre for cybercrime.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra: The Cyber Swachhta Kendra, which was launched in early 2017, provides a platform for users to analyse and clean their computers of numerous viruses, bots/malware, Trojans, and other threats.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat: The Cyber Surakshit Bharat programme was launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to raise awareness about cybercrime and build capacity for safety measures among Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT personnel across all government agencies.
  • The Cyber Warrior Police Force: The administration announced its intention to implement CWPF in 2018. It is proposed that it be restructured along the lines of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • Cyber-Crime Prevention against Women & Children’ Scheme: The project, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, is aimed at preventing and reducing cyber-crime against women and children.

Way Forward:

  • In Google India Private Limited v M/S Visaka Industries Limited (2009), the Andhra Pradesh High Court stated that if sexually explicit or modified photographs can only be taken down on court orders, they may remain online for a long time. It’s pointless to receive a takedown order years after the content has been published. Unfortunately, at now, neither the IT Act nor its rules contain provisions for quick assistance.
  • Developing capabilities: Capabilities and ability for application, equipment, and infrastructure testing are urgently needed.
  • Human resource development: Immediate emphasis must be paid to human resource development in order to enhance the number of professionals capable of properly managing the country’s cyber security.
  • R&D: Research and development should be prioritised in order to develop more innovative technology to combat rising cyber security risks.
  • Policy and Governance: It’s critical to develop a solid policy and properly implement it. Furthermore, for seamless operation and greater coordination among departments and stakeholders, roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined.
  • Public awareness: The government and large commercial enterprises should run a periodic public awareness campaign to educate the public about cyber security threats.
  • Public-Private Partnership Strengthening: It is critical to improve the public-private partnership on cyber security.

Conclusion:

It is undeniable that social media may help women gain power. At the same time, it opens the door to increased oppression of women. It is the responsibility of internet firms, governments, and society to allow women’s voices to be heard on social media without ruining their reputation.

Mains oriented question:

While social media is a revolutionary tool for empowering women, it also poses new concerns to their safety. Examine the situation critically. (250 words)