Now you can threaten your Ex girlfriend with those private pics- R.I.P. Section 66A

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As I entered my office there were voices coming from everywhere, in a confused state I started moving towards the source of the noise. Everybody from the office was gathered around a cubicle and I think that cubicle belongs to Ruhi. She was crying hysterically and was not able to speak. When finally her sobbing subsided, she cleared her throat and revealed the cause behind her distress. Her ex-boyfriend had done something very wicked, he posted her personal pictures and some explicit content on a social media site. She is so scared now, that she does not even want to report this crime to police. And really, how could she report this crime? Under what law and acts will this crime will be falling?

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Hearing the word ‘Security threat’ the first thing that comes to your mind is the danger to your life, your property, but on hearing these words have you ever thought that it could be a threat to your personal integrity too? As the technology has developed leaps and bounds it has provided us with a new way to live our life. And like with the development of each new weapon the threat to life increases and the same applies to the technology. The UN has developed a law against the nuclear weapons, but what about the weapon which we are breeding in our own home. We are talking about the Cyberspace and the crimes in the Cyber world.

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The cyber crime is the brand new strategical weapon used by the notorious people of the world. And the threat level of these crimes ranges from the threat to the world, to the whole country, to the individual’s level too. From hacking the National security programs to the personal accounts on a social media site we have seen every kind of cyber crimes. And each one of them are serious menace in their own way, but right now the Judgement of the supreme court is in question. Yesterday, everybody in the country cheered the judgement of the Supreme court and it is tagged as a ‘Landmark judgement’. The Indian supreme court struck down a provision in the cyber law which provides power to arrest a person for posting allegedly “offensive” content on websites.

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Section 66A of the information technology act, directly affects the fundamental right to ‘freedom of speech’. It was the reason given by the supreme court to stronger their judgement against this act. But let us just consider a situation – somebody hacks into your account and takes your most intimate pictures from that and finally he/she post it on the social networking sites, now that will be not offensive or explicit at all. Yes, finally it grabbed your attention. So is it really a ‘freedom to speech’ or a ‘freedom to offensive language and posts’.

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“66A. Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

               Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-

               (a) Any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

               (b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

               (c) Any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,

Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.”

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Various surveys concluded by various magazines and media houses, shows that actually a freedom of using the Objectionable content in the cyber space is a very serious problem. Although many cyber security and cyber crime cells are installed in India for the prevention of cyber crime in India. But still one thing that stops a criminal from attempting the next misdeed is the punishment for that crime. And scrapping the section 66A is not going to scrap the freedom to speech, but will empower the criminals a bit more. Because somewhere in the disguise of a innocent person, a cunning criminal is lingering.

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So, a reconsideration of the decision made by Supreme court should be demanded. We should not be happy for the present, but also look forth to what the law holds for us in the future.

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