Indian Cyber law & Online Exploiter / Pedophiles
In the eyes of law.. Ignorance of law is not an excuse at all. Truth is always truth and nothing can’t be even closer to that, So if you are someone who doesn’t bother to pay a Teen (Under the age of 18) to take off her clothes in front of a web-camera, online, you need to be alert and tighten your belt. In the year of 2013, An International Federation of children’s rights organization completed an investigation which last for 10 weeks. They had setup fake profile of a girl called Annie (Name Changed) in an online chat room. The amount of responses that fake profile generated was eye-popping.
More than 20,000 people who connected online. Out of them, nearly 1000 men were ready to pay money to Annie (Name Changed) to take off her clothes in front of web-camera (online / Virtual Sex). Out of those 1000 persons who are ready to pay, 254 were from the US, 110 from UK and 103 from none other than India. The percentage of people who know that Annie was actually an online avatar and not a real girl is very minimal. However, an emerging trend of targeting Teens online across the globe has been revealed through this type of Investigations. As such, an effective process should be there for targeting online Exploiters.
A large number of countries have passed various legislations to deal with child abuse. However, legislations which specifically aim at protecting children from online exploiters are few and far between. In this case India is an exception. India does not have a dedicated direct legislation on the protecting child rights in the online environment and cyberspace .However, some provisions have been added under the Indian Information Technology Act, 2000.
The significant aspect of Section 67B of the amended Indian Information Technology Act, 2000 is that seeks to protect children. According to this the law penalizes every person who facilitates the abuse of children online, under Section 67B (d) of the amended Indian Information Technology Act, 2000. The law specifically targets those individuals who cultivate, entice or induce children to online relationship, with one or more children, for or on sexually explicit act(s). The said act is a specific cybercrime under Section 67B(c) of the amended Indian Information Technology Act, 2000. Further it is also a crime if any person cultivates, entices, or induces children in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Technology_Act,_2000)
The law has been clearly drafted in vast terms and large number of scenarios can be brought within the scope of this legislation. The positive aspect of Section 67B is that it provides imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years and with fine which may extend to 10,000,00 INR. This effectively makes Section 67B a non-bailable offence thus creating the necessary deterrence. However, it is an ugly truth that Section 67B is not frequently invoked. Consequently, at the time of writing, there are no reported convictions of online exploiters under Section 67B of the amended Indian Information Technology Act, 2000. Needless to say, the law defines children to mean a person who has not completed the age of 18 years.
If we look into today’s scenario where large number of Indian children are already online and are using smart phones and communication devices, there is an immediate urgent need of protecting and preserving their online rights. This is essential not only to protect children online but also to ensure that the innocence childhood of children is not permanently scarred by unwarranted and criminal activities of online exploiters and paraphilias.
Effective implementation of the law is highly required In a country like India where child abuse cases are often reported, getting convictions in these cyber criminal matters pertaining to online exploiters targeting children becomes a big challenge. Not only Govt. but also other stakeholders (Detective organizations, Schools, NGO’s etc) have to contribute in this direction. The law is already in the place. We only need to ensure the effective implementation of law to protect children and their rights in the electronic environment.
Stand against online exploiters and paraphilias is a constant one. The anonymity of the Internet also invariably gives a sense of complacency to the cyber criminals who go ahead and target children with impunity from the ir dedicated computer resources.
We must need to empower children, their parents and families. All stakeholders have to together contribute to protect children online. Any kind of predatory online behavior and pedophilic behavior needs to be specifically reported and targeted.
Being aware and spreading awareness in this era of online Exploiters and pedophiles and by taking constant positive and convincing steps to protect children from such pedophiles is the best way forward for a secure future of children in cyberspace.
By Aron Berg