The Author Is Priya Shekhawat, A Student Pursuing Bba Llb (4th Year) From Sharda University.
Stalking in general means the behavior of harassing or threatening the other person. Cyber Stalking is an extension of physical form of stalking, which is committed over the online medium with the use of information Technology. In cyber stalking the internet, e-mail, chat rooms etc. are used to stalk another person.
The Wikipedia defines cyber stalking, where the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It include the making of false accusations or statements of fact (as in defamation), monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information that may be used to harass.
Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself. The definition of Cyber stalking is not universally acceptable as it varies place to place. According to Professor Lamber Royakkers –
“Cyber stalking is the repeatedly harassing or threatening of an individual via the internet or other electronic means of communication.” A cyber stalker is someone with amorous and/or sexual motives who constantly harasses someone else electronically: via the bulletin board, chats box, email, spam, fax, buzzer or voice-mail. Stalking generally involves the constant harassment or threatening of someone else: following a person, appearing at someone’s house or workplace, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing someone’s property. Because the stalking activities are so diverse and have to be seen in their connection it is difficult to give a precise description of stalking.
Cyber stalking doesn’t not involve any physical contact yet stalking through the internet has found favour among the offenders for certain advantages available like, ease of communication access to personal information and anonymity.
As far as cyber stalking is concerned, the offender has the advantage that he can sit anywhere in the world and harass the victim by posting certain derogatory comment or post comments on common discussion boards or put the mobile number of the victim and his email address on certain social sites which prompt the other users to send massages or phone calls to the victim in misconceived notion. The internet has wide reach, the way we communicate online, the personal data of individual and other information is easily accessed by the offenders through the internet medium, and this makes the individual vulnerable to the offence such as cyber stalking.
Today internet become the integral part of each other life be it personal or professional life. The ease of communication in today’s world made it easier for the offenders or person who seeks to take revenge may use this medium to malign the victim by threatening and harassing by sending offensive mails. The fact that cyber stalking does not involve physical contact may create the misperception that it is more benign than physical stalking. This is not necessarily true. As the Internet becomes an ever more integral part of our personal and professional lives, stalkers can take advantage of the ease of communications as well as increased access to personal information. Whereas a potential stalker may be unwilling or unable to confront a victim in person or on the telephone, he or she may have little hesitation sending harassing or threatening electronic communications to a victim. As with physical stalking, online harassment and threats may be a prelude to a more serious behavior, including physical violence.
Stalking has become a problem to women and children on a larger part in comparison to men. Women are threatened, vandalized, assaulted when it comes to real world but the same things happen when cyber stalking takes place. Obscenity also adds up with the, threatens and harassment. No doubt men also become the prey of the same but its lower when it comes to females. Children also undergo the same trauma by adult predators and pedophiles. The victim is normally a person who is less thorough regarding internet services and its applications. The stalker is generally a person who is a paranoid with no self-esteem. But the traits differ from one stalker to another. Some harass to seek revenge or some do so for their own pleasure. While some just to do it for playing a mischief.
There are three ways in which cyber stalking is conducted i.e-
- Stalking by E-mail – where the offender directly sends e-mail to the victim to threaten her or to harass her. It is the most common form of stalking in the modern world. The most common is sending hate, obscene, pornographic material and threatening mail to the victim.
- Stalking through Internet – this is global form of cyber stalking. In this the offender doesn’t invade the private space of the victim but harasses her through the global medium publically. The offender through the internet medium post the phone numbers and email address of the victim on porn sites and put morphed photos of the victim on cyber space and threaten them. This is the serious nature of cyber stalking where the stalker chases all the activity of victim on the net and posted false information about her on the websites.
- Stalking through Computer – In this form the offender is technocrat and he can take control of the computer of the victim as soon as the computer starts operating. In this the stalker gets control of the victims computer address and gets control over it. This form of cyber stalking requires high degree of computer knowledge to get access to the targets computer and the option available to the victim is to disconnect the computer and abandon the current internet address.
The term stalking is not new to the world, in the physical space it existed for many centuries. The stalking in the physical world is done by the former friends, employees, or the person who wants to force his will over the target are the examples of stalkers. But after the advent of cyberspace, the reach of the stalker is widened, he can reach to any part of the world and threaten and harass the target. It is not necessary now to disclose his identity, most of the stalkers are the dejected lover’s, ex-boyfriends, colleagues, who failed to satisfy their desire and wants to harass the victim. Most stalkers are man and most victims are women. The common reason behind the cyber stalking is rejection in love or one sided love, harassment, revenge and showoff by the offender.
Following are the methods use by the cyber stalker to target the victim:-
- The stalker if he is a associates of the victim then he can gather all the information about the victim easily and if he is stranger then he collect all the information through internet from various social network sites and collect all and every information about the victim from Date of birth, place of residence, place of work, phone numbers, email ID’s to places of visits everything
- The stalker may post all the information on any website related to sex-services or dating service, and uses filthy and obscene language to invite person as if the victim himself posted these information so the interested person may call the victim on his numbers to have sexual services.
- All the people from the world would call the victims on his phone numbers at home or on mobile asking for sexual services.
- Some will send e-mail to the victim attaching pornographic material with it and sometimes posted these emails on the pornographic sites.
- Some will post morphed pictures of the victim on these pornographic and sex-service websites or keep asking for favour and threaten them if they do not fulfill their demands then they will put these pictures all over the internet.
- Sometimes the stalkers send them repetitive e-mails and call them day and night at his phone numbers and keep track on them. The stalkers sometimes get the help of third party to harass the victim. The Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Google plus, Instagram and many more are becoming a medium to cyber stalking in the modern world.
Legal Recognition and Position in India
Though the behaviour widely identified as stalking has existed for centuries, the legal system has only codified its presence in the statues in the recent decades. Cyber stalking only gather importance after the evolution of the internet in the nineties. The rise in crimes related to cyber stalking through the online medium is an extension of traditional stalking that utilizes a high tech modus operandi.
In each jurisdiction the statute is different as far as cyber stalking is concerned. In The United States, California is the first state to pass the anti stalking law in 1990. But as far as the stalking through computers is concerned there are few states or countries that passed laws related to cyber stalking.
Indian law do recognize cyber stalking but we do not have law to deal with this issue specifically. The Information Technology act 2000 doesn’t contain any provision regarding cyber stalking or cyber bullying or cyber harassment. It is glaring lapse on the part of the government agencies.
The gravity of cyber stalking came into focus in India with Ritu Kohli’s Case, is the first case in India dealing with cyber stalking. The Delhi Police arrested Manish Kathuria the culprit of the case. In the said case, Manish was stalking a person called Ritu Kohli on the Net by illegally chatting on the website www.mirc.com with the name of Ritu Kohli. Manish was regularly chatting under the identity of Ritu Kohli on the said Website, using obscene and obnoxious language, was distributing her residence telephone number and inviting chatter to chat with her on telephone. Consequently Ritu Kohli was getting obscene calls from different chatters from various parts of India and abroad. Ritu Kohli reported the matter to the police and the Delhi Police swung into action. The police had registered the case under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code for outraging the modesty of Ritu Kohli. But Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code only refers to word, gesture or act intended to insult modest of a woman. But when same things are done on internet, then there is no mention about it in the said section. None of the conditions mentioned in the section cover cyber stalking. Ritu Kohli’s case was an alarm to the Government, to make laws regarding the aforesaid crime and regarding protection of victims under the same.
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