With India set to reach over 500 million mobile internet users this year, the cyber world has become an extension of our real world and very much a part of our lived reality. With the National Crime Records Bureau recording 3,27,394 reported cases of crimes against women in 2015, a reflection of the high rate of crime online had to be expected. It is in this light that we see the arrest of a cable operator in West Bengal’s Serampore. Caught for allegedly taking obscene photos of college girls and working women while standing at the bus stop or while paying the cable bill, and posting them on a specific Facebook account containing obscene pictures. He was arrested because a woman filed a police complaint on finding out from her friends that her pictures had been posted on a fake account on Facebook. She took a stand and complained.
Over time it has become increasingly important for us to stay alert and be aware of both our rights and duties. Privacy is our right; the breach of the same is a cyber crime and a punishable offence. At the same time it is also our duty to report incidences of such breaches if it comes to our notice. So if we come across suspicious pictures or fake accounts on social media platforms, we should treat it as our duty to report the same. Social media heavyweights like Facebook, and Twitter go to great heights to ensure the privacy of their users and encourage them to use these settings to bring people posting offensive content to book.
Center for Social Research has been running workshops on cyber security across India to educate the youth about the risks of cyber abuse, cyber stalking, trolling, hate speech, impersonation and other such evils online and how to effectively tackle the same. Instead of going the khap panchayat way and banning mobiles altogether, the youth are taught how to use such media in a conscientious manner and arming them with tools available on these platforms to protect and defend themselves along with a few tips and tricks ranging from creating strong passwords to blocking users online.