Confronting the digital invasion of privacy: The Tribune India

Renu South Sinha

“The Internet has become the central lifeline of our daily lives that we cannot leave. The best thing to do is educate your wards, your family, everyone else on how to deal with the dangers of intrusion into your privacy by electronic devices and your cellphones,” says Pavan Duggal, privacy law expert. cybersecurity.

Checks and balances

  • Vibha Datta Makhija, senior counsel at the Supreme Court, suggests that communal toilets should be device-free zones in educational institutions and hostels. Students should be part of awareness and action committees at colleges and universities as part of a safe digital ecosystem.
  • India’s top cybersecurity expert, Pavan Duggal, advises: Be careful about the data you share. Be vigilant in public locker rooms and shared or shared bathrooms, do not leave cell phones in these areas. Avoid capturing your private moments and intimate parts on camera or mobile and try to share information with whom you trust. Even after all precautions, if a violation occurs, report it immediately to the police.
  • Rohit Shekhar Sharma, a cybercrime expert with the Cyber ​​Unit of the Chandigarh Police, suggests an anti-privacy law modeled on the anti-ragging law, as the current IT law is not strict enough to deal with invasion of privacy.

The recent University of Chandigarh video leak case has shed light on the issue of privacy invasion in the digital age. A decision of the Supreme Court of India (2017) affirms that the right to privacy is a fundamental right under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

“The problem is that everyone has become complacent. We started taking the internet for granted, but we forget that it never forgets. To add to this, voyeurism has become a big part of Indian society which has in fact become a recording society – everyone records information for whatever reason and spews out personal life data and without thinking about the legal ramifications or the impact on their private lives,” adds Duggal.

Ketan Bansal, SP (Operation & Cyber), Chandigarh, agrees with Duggal’s views. “There is an excessive sharing of information on social media sites.” This is because there are virtually no limits to the invasion of privacy, says Vibha Datta Makhija, a Delhi-based senior lawyer at the Supreme Court.

In Himachal Pradesh, cybercrime cases have increased over the last two or three years, especially during the lockdown, says Narvir Singh Rathaur, Additional SP, Cybercrime, Shimla.

No less than 6,258 and 6,207 cyber complaints were received in 2020 and 2021, respectively, compared to 2,914 in 2019. percent of the total number of cases,” adds Rathaur.

A high conviction rate would have had a deterrent effect, but it is still quite low.

“Almost all social media sites have their offices and servers in other countries. Most of the time there is a delay in providing the information,” says the HP cyber cop.

So what is the way forward? “People need to be trained to protect their privacy and their data more fiercely than their money,” says Duggal.

The key lies in educating and educating people about cybersecurity, says Prajakta Ahvad, a Kharar-based lawyer who also runs an NGO that works with teenage girls. “The law certainly provides a remedy, but prevention is more important and that can only come through education,” says Makhija.

Awareness is needed for all stakeholders. “All educational institutions should have clear gender awareness curricula, guidance or workshops for everyone, including faculty, support staff and students,” the SC attorney adds.

“There should also be a student code of conduct in the prospectus as well as clearly defined disciplinary measures for violations of this code. Most universities abroad organize an awareness test for students. Something similar should be adopted by Indian universities. This is the only way for students to make informed choices,” says Makhija.

Institutions are usually not party to the crime, but they must have a proactive grievance mechanism in place. “Closing the institutions is not the solution. The problem could have been avoided in this case if the university had appointed a grievance officer and a nodal agent to handle such cases, as required by the Rules on technologies of communication. information of 2021. When parents send their wards to a university or educational institution, it is with the implicit presumption that their personal privacy and data will be secure.If there is an invasion, it is the the institution’s primary duty to investigate, determine accountability and act,” says Duggal.

“The reality, however, is that there is a huge gap in providing the right kind of information and institutions are not well informed either. They are hesitant to create awareness because they think it will only add shame to the name of the institution. And that’s the reason why they don’t want people to realize the mechanism of case law to protect their rights in the workplace,” says Sagina Walyat, High Court Barrister of Punjab and Haryana.

The responsibility and burden of personal safety and security should also rest with the individual. “Caution, due diligence, having proper cyber hygiene will have to be the guiding factors. Cybersecurity education should be part of the school curriculum from the first grade, as we are starting to give devices and cellphones to children from an early age. Capacity building and a holistic approach with contributions from all must be the way forward,” adds Duggal.

Capacity building and sensitization is needed as sometimes even cops are unaware of cybercrime laws, says Chandigarh-based lawyer Rohit Shekhar Sharma, volunteer cybercrime expert with the Cyber ​​Cell of Chandigarh Police .

To check the growing graph of cybercrime, HP Police is focusing on internal capacity building and training of its staff, which includes online and offline courses offered by the MHA. There are three dedicated cyber police stations in the state – in Shimla, Dharamsala and Mandi. At least 25 other cops were attached to a staff of 15, including eight women. From its social media sites to holding nukkad nataks to talk shows on radio stations, HP Police have raised awareness, Rathaur adds.

Chandigarh Police launched a Cyber ​​Swachhta mission last year as part of its community outreach initiative to inculcate cyber hygiene and raise awareness among citizens. Students from local colleges and universities are trained in cybersecurity by experts and police officers through an internship program within the mission. Ironically, the University of Chandigarh is one of nine universities whose students were enrolled for the second batch of 389 interns this year. It also organizes awareness workshops in the colleges of the city.

While this capacity building will go a long way to controlling cybercrime, existing legislation needs to be overhauled. “The Computer Act was enacted in 2000 and amended in 2008. Fourteen years have passed since then and technology has made rapid progress,” says Duggal.

“We also need to make law enforcement aware that they need to take a citizen-friendly approach rather than treating the complainant, primarily a woman, as the aggressor. Most women are afraid to report cybercrimes for fear of harassment and insensitive repeated questioning. This is one of the main reasons for the under-reporting of these cases,” he adds.

Chandigarh Police has female and cyber counters in all its police stations. Counselors are also needed to deal with female victims/complainants, adds Bansal.

“Indian society is still very patriarchal. People tend to view a woman who reports such an act as an accomplice to that crime. The system needs to provide trust and reassurance and that comes from anonymity if we are to encourage women to report and not remain silent victims,” says Duggal.

Walyat, however, points out, “Initially, anonymity was a way to empower women to report sexual abuse crimes.”

Ahvad is quick to add that even in the present times, the tendency of society is not only to shame the victim, but also to make it a permanent lifelong guilt.

“More victim shaming means less reporting of such cases. This is the reason why identity needs to be protected in order to strengthen the reporting process,” says Makhija.

DSP Palak Goel of the Chandigarh Police, who attends awareness workshops in colleges and schools across the city, says their message to girls is not to blame themselves if such an incident happens and to come forward without feel guilt.

Under the Computer Act 2000, which deals with cybercrime and e-commerce, offenders can be imprisoned for up to three years, as well as a fine of up to Rs 2,00,000. More Strict. Section 66 (E) of the Information Technology Act should be made a non-bailable offence, in order to provide effective protection to women and convey a message of deterrence. Imagine, someone captures footage of a woman’s private parts and it’s a bailable offense,” Duggal says.

Most experts also advocate media literacy as part of awareness raising. The media should be sensitive when reporting such cases and should take great care not to name the victim/complainant and to effectively blur the images where appropriate.

Awareness, awareness and implementation remain the buzzwords if we are to adopt the methodology of cybersecurity and cyberhygiene as a way of life.

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