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Revenge porn makes private videos a public disgrace

Revenge porn, a rising Internet menace, is allowing men and women to get back at their estranged partners in traumatic, disturbing ways

Veenu Sandhu 

On June 2, a man was surfing the web when he stumbled upon a video that made him call up his friend. It was a nude video of his friend’s 25-year-old sister who lived in Mumbai. The video had been allegedly shot by the woman’s estranged husband and uploaded on an X-rated site from a cyber café in Vasai in what appeared to be a clear case of ‘revenge porn’. Though shocked and distraught, the victim mustered the courage to report the matter to the police. The Navghar police in Mumbai, who arrested the man, say he had installed a camera in their bedroom and secretly filmed his wife. When their marriage broke down, they say, he hit back by posting the video on the Net.

is emerging as a growing Internet menace in which someone seeks revenge by posting private, intimate and explicit pictures or videos on the social media or porn sites in order to shame and embarrass a former partner, destroy reputation and cause mental agony. “In most of the cases, the woman is the victim, though I have also dealt with cases where the man was victimised,” says Pavan Duggal, Supreme Court advocate and specialist. Explicit and intimate selfies taken and mailed to the boyfriend or the husband when all is hunky-dory can turn into a living hell if the relationship sours, and the person decides to teach the ex a lesson. “What’s worse, the victim is stigmatised by her family, friends and society for being part of it. Somewhere, she too feels guilty of having allowed it,” says Suneel Vatsyayan, relationship counsellor and chairman, Nada India Foundation that works on women and child issues.



The menace is widespread, but most incidents go unreported for fear of social ridicule. specialists say in the last two years, incidents of have gone up almost five times, facilitated by smart phones, webcams and affordable spycams. “A higher number of cases are being reported from smaller cities where it is far easier to defame a person,” says Duggal. “Many consenting adults in these cities are not aware of the ramifications of such content when they voluntarily engage in it.” According to CNN, a survey of 864 individuals by Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, estimated that 80 per cent of victims had themselves shot their intimate pictures or videos. And with India undergoing a mobile web revolution — 61 per cent of all Internet users access it on their mobile phones — it has become easy to post such content. Couples are also sometimes okay with sharing their passwords, which can also allow unauthorised access to intimate pictures, cautions specialist Na Vijayashankar.

is today a worldwide threat. The Economist recently reported that in Japan “the number of cases reported to police more than tripled, to 27,334, between 2008 and 2012.” In the same article, John Di Giacomo of Revision Legal, a Michigan-based law firm, said that at least 3,000 porn websites around the world today feature the revenge genre.

Pavan Duggal
There are plenty of ways of filming the target even after a breakup. “is not a cottage industry; it is a specialised industry,” says Duggal. The output can be captured on a spycam planted in changing rooms, if the perpetrator knows that this is the place the woman frequents. A spycam can be planted in a hotel room if the perpetrator has prior knowledge that the victim would be staying there. is also committed by hacking into the computer camera of the ex. There are professionals and specialists who will do this for a price. Those who keep the laptop on through the night are especially vulnerable. is also no longer an adult phenomenon. “I have seen it being committed at school by children below 18,” says Duggal.

The trauma for the victim doesn’t fade away. A 24-year-old New Jersey resident, who finally gathered the courage to speak out a few years after she became a victim of that saw her pictures being posted on over 200 websites, said: “I have had people show up at my door; have had people recognise me in public... I struggle every day wondering if I am going to find a job or are they going to give me a hard time because a simple Google search might be able to pull out the pictures that were posted without my permission.”

Retrieving an image once it is leaked on the Internet can be a nightmare. “If a woman does not want the video or picture on the Internet, the authorities can ask the intermediary, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, to have it removed,” says Vijayashankar. But the intermediary is unlikely to reveal to the victim the name of the person who might have posted it online. For this, the court or a law enforcing agency will have to intervene. If the content is being circulated on a smartphone, then the service provider, if it is located in India, is duty-bound to provide details. However, if he is located outside India, then it could be a problem.

As the fear of having their slanderous picture leaked becomes real, an increasing number of couples are now including social media in their prenuptial agreements. The deal is that no intimate secret or picture will be shared in case of a breakup.

There are provisions in the Information Technology, or IT, Act 2000 under which the perpetrator can be taken to task. But the law also needs to make it easier to retrieve or pull down objectionable content so that the victim’s reputation and life aren’t at stake.

THE SELFIE YOU SHOULD BE WARY OF
  • Do not photograph yourself or allow yourself to be photographed or videographed in a manner you would want to avoid being seen by the world. Even if you do not share that picture or video with anybody, your computer can be hacked into and the content stolen and leaked.
     
  • Even if you have allowed such content to be created, insist and ensure that it is deleted by your partner right away.
     
  • Keep your computer and laptop turned off when you are not using it. Hackers can be hired to activate your computer camera and capture pictures of you that you would not want leaked.
     
  • If you learn that the content has been leaked, immediately report the matter to the police. Most people hesitate to do this and the delay can lead to the pictures or videos going viral on social media or inappropriate websites. The delay can also make it tougher to retrieve the images.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS
  • The Information Technology Act 2000 does not recognise ‘revenge porn’ separately. It deals with the crime under Section 67 — that is, publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form. The crime is punishable with a sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
     
  • If a scene of sexually explicit act has been published or transmitted in electronic form, it becomes a more heinous offence under Section 67A of the IT Act, attracting up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • If the victim of is under 18 years, then the crime is treated as child pornography — publishing or transmitting in electronic form of material depicting children in obscene, indecent or sexually explicit manner. The crime is punishable under Section 67B of the IT Act with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • The IT Act, however, does not talk about the right to remove pornographic content posted out of revenge.
     
  • The Indian Penal Code also recognises stalking, sexual harassment and voyeurism (watching an unsuspecting woman engage in a private act) as crimes punishable with three to seven years in prison.

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Revenge porn makes private videos a public disgrace

Revenge porn, a rising Internet menace, is allowing men and women to get back at their estranged partners in traumatic, disturbing ways

Revenge porn, a rising Internet menace, is allowing men and women to get back at their estranged partners in traumatic, disturbing ways On June 2, a man was surfing the web when he stumbled upon a video that made him call up his friend. It was a nude video of his friend’s 25-year-old sister who lived in Mumbai. The video had been allegedly shot by the woman’s estranged husband and uploaded on an X-rated site from a cyber café in Vasai in what appeared to be a clear case of ‘revenge porn’. Though shocked and distraught, the victim mustered the courage to report the matter to the police. The Navghar police in Mumbai, who arrested the man, say he had installed a camera in their bedroom and secretly filmed his wife. When their marriage broke down, they say, he hit back by posting the video on the Net.

is emerging as a growing Internet menace in which someone seeks revenge by posting private, intimate and explicit pictures or videos on the social media or porn sites in order to shame and embarrass a former partner, destroy reputation and cause mental agony. “In most of the cases, the woman is the victim, though I have also dealt with cases where the man was victimised,” says Pavan Duggal, Supreme Court advocate and specialist. Explicit and intimate selfies taken and mailed to the boyfriend or the husband when all is hunky-dory can turn into a living hell if the relationship sours, and the person decides to teach the ex a lesson. “What’s worse, the victim is stigmatised by her family, friends and society for being part of it. Somewhere, she too feels guilty of having allowed it,” says Suneel Vatsyayan, relationship counsellor and chairman, Nada India Foundation that works on women and child issues.

The menace is widespread, but most incidents go unreported for fear of social ridicule. specialists say in the last two years, incidents of have gone up almost five times, facilitated by smart phones, webcams and affordable spycams. “A higher number of cases are being reported from smaller cities where it is far easier to defame a person,” says Duggal. “Many consenting adults in these cities are not aware of the ramifications of such content when they voluntarily engage in it.” According to CNN, a survey of 864 individuals by Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, estimated that 80 per cent of victims had themselves shot their intimate pictures or videos. And with India undergoing a mobile web revolution — 61 per cent of all Internet users access it on their mobile phones — it has become easy to post such content. Couples are also sometimes okay with sharing their passwords, which can also allow unauthorised access to intimate pictures, cautions specialist Na Vijayashankar.

is today a worldwide threat. The Economist recently reported that in Japan “the number of cases reported to police more than tripled, to 27,334, between 2008 and 2012.” In the same article, John Di Giacomo of Revision Legal, a Michigan-based law firm, said that at least 3,000 porn websites around the world today feature the revenge genre.

Pavan Duggal
There are plenty of ways of filming the target even after a breakup. “is not a cottage industry; it is a specialised industry,” says Duggal. The output can be captured on a spycam planted in changing rooms, if the perpetrator knows that this is the place the woman frequents. A spycam can be planted in a hotel room if the perpetrator has prior knowledge that the victim would be staying there. is also committed by hacking into the computer camera of the ex. There are professionals and specialists who will do this for a price. Those who keep the laptop on through the night are especially vulnerable. is also no longer an adult phenomenon. “I have seen it being committed at school by children below 18,” says Duggal.

The trauma for the victim doesn’t fade away. A 24-year-old New Jersey resident, who finally gathered the courage to speak out a few years after she became a victim of that saw her pictures being posted on over 200 websites, said: “I have had people show up at my door; have had people recognise me in public... I struggle every day wondering if I am going to find a job or are they going to give me a hard time because a simple Google search might be able to pull out the pictures that were posted without my permission.”

Retrieving an image once it is leaked on the Internet can be a nightmare. “If a woman does not want the video or picture on the Internet, the authorities can ask the intermediary, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, to have it removed,” says Vijayashankar. But the intermediary is unlikely to reveal to the victim the name of the person who might have posted it online. For this, the court or a law enforcing agency will have to intervene. If the content is being circulated on a smartphone, then the service provider, if it is located in India, is duty-bound to provide details. However, if he is located outside India, then it could be a problem.

As the fear of having their slanderous picture leaked becomes real, an increasing number of couples are now including social media in their prenuptial agreements. The deal is that no intimate secret or picture will be shared in case of a breakup.

There are provisions in the Information Technology, or IT, Act 2000 under which the perpetrator can be taken to task. But the law also needs to make it easier to retrieve or pull down objectionable content so that the victim’s reputation and life aren’t at stake.

THE SELFIE YOU SHOULD BE WARY OF
  • Do not photograph yourself or allow yourself to be photographed or videographed in a manner you would want to avoid being seen by the world. Even if you do not share that picture or video with anybody, your computer can be hacked into and the content stolen and leaked.
     
  • Even if you have allowed such content to be created, insist and ensure that it is deleted by your partner right away.
     
  • Keep your computer and laptop turned off when you are not using it. Hackers can be hired to activate your computer camera and capture pictures of you that you would not want leaked.
     
  • If you learn that the content has been leaked, immediately report the matter to the police. Most people hesitate to do this and the delay can lead to the pictures or videos going viral on social media or inappropriate websites. The delay can also make it tougher to retrieve the images.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS
  • The Information Technology Act 2000 does not recognise ‘revenge porn’ separately. It deals with the crime under Section 67 — that is, publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form. The crime is punishable with a sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
     
  • If a scene of sexually explicit act has been published or transmitted in electronic form, it becomes a more heinous offence under Section 67A of the IT Act, attracting up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • If the victim of is under 18 years, then the crime is treated as child pornography — publishing or transmitting in electronic form of material depicting children in obscene, indecent or sexually explicit manner. The crime is punishable under Section 67B of the IT Act with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • The IT Act, however, does not talk about the right to remove pornographic content posted out of revenge.
     
  • The Indian Penal Code also recognises stalking, sexual harassment and voyeurism (watching an unsuspecting woman engage in a private act) as crimes punishable with three to seven years in prison.

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Business Standard
177 22

Revenge porn makes private videos a public disgrace

Revenge porn, a rising Internet menace, is allowing men and women to get back at their estranged partners in traumatic, disturbing ways

On June 2, a man was surfing the web when he stumbled upon a video that made him call up his friend. It was a nude video of his friend’s 25-year-old sister who lived in Mumbai. The video had been allegedly shot by the woman’s estranged husband and uploaded on an X-rated site from a cyber café in Vasai in what appeared to be a clear case of ‘revenge porn’. Though shocked and distraught, the victim mustered the courage to report the matter to the police. The Navghar police in Mumbai, who arrested the man, say he had installed a camera in their bedroom and secretly filmed his wife. When their marriage broke down, they say, he hit back by posting the video on the Net.

is emerging as a growing Internet menace in which someone seeks revenge by posting private, intimate and explicit pictures or videos on the social media or porn sites in order to shame and embarrass a former partner, destroy reputation and cause mental agony. “In most of the cases, the woman is the victim, though I have also dealt with cases where the man was victimised,” says Pavan Duggal, Supreme Court advocate and specialist. Explicit and intimate selfies taken and mailed to the boyfriend or the husband when all is hunky-dory can turn into a living hell if the relationship sours, and the person decides to teach the ex a lesson. “What’s worse, the victim is stigmatised by her family, friends and society for being part of it. Somewhere, she too feels guilty of having allowed it,” says Suneel Vatsyayan, relationship counsellor and chairman, Nada India Foundation that works on women and child issues.

The menace is widespread, but most incidents go unreported for fear of social ridicule. specialists say in the last two years, incidents of have gone up almost five times, facilitated by smart phones, webcams and affordable spycams. “A higher number of cases are being reported from smaller cities where it is far easier to defame a person,” says Duggal. “Many consenting adults in these cities are not aware of the ramifications of such content when they voluntarily engage in it.” According to CNN, a survey of 864 individuals by Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, estimated that 80 per cent of victims had themselves shot their intimate pictures or videos. And with India undergoing a mobile web revolution — 61 per cent of all Internet users access it on their mobile phones — it has become easy to post such content. Couples are also sometimes okay with sharing their passwords, which can also allow unauthorised access to intimate pictures, cautions specialist Na Vijayashankar.

is today a worldwide threat. The Economist recently reported that in Japan “the number of cases reported to police more than tripled, to 27,334, between 2008 and 2012.” In the same article, John Di Giacomo of Revision Legal, a Michigan-based law firm, said that at least 3,000 porn websites around the world today feature the revenge genre.

Pavan Duggal
There are plenty of ways of filming the target even after a breakup. “is not a cottage industry; it is a specialised industry,” says Duggal. The output can be captured on a spycam planted in changing rooms, if the perpetrator knows that this is the place the woman frequents. A spycam can be planted in a hotel room if the perpetrator has prior knowledge that the victim would be staying there. is also committed by hacking into the computer camera of the ex. There are professionals and specialists who will do this for a price. Those who keep the laptop on through the night are especially vulnerable. is also no longer an adult phenomenon. “I have seen it being committed at school by children below 18,” says Duggal.

The trauma for the victim doesn’t fade away. A 24-year-old New Jersey resident, who finally gathered the courage to speak out a few years after she became a victim of that saw her pictures being posted on over 200 websites, said: “I have had people show up at my door; have had people recognise me in public... I struggle every day wondering if I am going to find a job or are they going to give me a hard time because a simple Google search might be able to pull out the pictures that were posted without my permission.”

Retrieving an image once it is leaked on the Internet can be a nightmare. “If a woman does not want the video or picture on the Internet, the authorities can ask the intermediary, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, to have it removed,” says Vijayashankar. But the intermediary is unlikely to reveal to the victim the name of the person who might have posted it online. For this, the court or a law enforcing agency will have to intervene. If the content is being circulated on a smartphone, then the service provider, if it is located in India, is duty-bound to provide details. However, if he is located outside India, then it could be a problem.

As the fear of having their slanderous picture leaked becomes real, an increasing number of couples are now including social media in their prenuptial agreements. The deal is that no intimate secret or picture will be shared in case of a breakup.

There are provisions in the Information Technology, or IT, Act 2000 under which the perpetrator can be taken to task. But the law also needs to make it easier to retrieve or pull down objectionable content so that the victim’s reputation and life aren’t at stake.

THE SELFIE YOU SHOULD BE WARY OF
  • Do not photograph yourself or allow yourself to be photographed or videographed in a manner you would want to avoid being seen by the world. Even if you do not share that picture or video with anybody, your computer can be hacked into and the content stolen and leaked.
     
  • Even if you have allowed such content to be created, insist and ensure that it is deleted by your partner right away.
     
  • Keep your computer and laptop turned off when you are not using it. Hackers can be hired to activate your computer camera and capture pictures of you that you would not want leaked.
     
  • If you learn that the content has been leaked, immediately report the matter to the police. Most people hesitate to do this and the delay can lead to the pictures or videos going viral on social media or inappropriate websites. The delay can also make it tougher to retrieve the images.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS
  • The Information Technology Act 2000 does not recognise ‘revenge porn’ separately. It deals with the crime under Section 67 — that is, publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form. The crime is punishable with a sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
     
  • If a scene of sexually explicit act has been published or transmitted in electronic form, it becomes a more heinous offence under Section 67A of the IT Act, attracting up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • If the victim of is under 18 years, then the crime is treated as child pornography — publishing or transmitting in electronic form of material depicting children in obscene, indecent or sexually explicit manner. The crime is punishable under Section 67B of the IT Act with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
     
  • The IT Act, however, does not talk about the right to remove pornographic content posted out of revenge.
     
  • The Indian Penal Code also recognises stalking, sexual harassment and voyeurism (watching an unsuspecting woman engage in a private act) as crimes punishable with three to seven years in prison.

image
Business Standard
177 22