Stalking is that action that many would have done sometimes in their life. No one ever thought that this stalking will take a shape of a cyber crime. This is because firstly people don’t take stalking seriously and secondly it is not like bigger offences like terrorism, hacking etc. This cyber staking became a problem when behaviors that constitute stalking, the variety of stalker types and the impact of stalking on victims have all received considerable attention in the last 2 decades. Cyberstalking has been the subject of some speculation but, at present, little empirical data exists to categorically support the various opinions. These opinions being how to identify cyber stalker as a basic question. In India over 18,000 cyber stalking cases have been registered.
Black’s Law Dictionary defined Stalking as “the act or an instance of following another by stealth or the offense of following or loitering near another, often surreptitiously, with the purpose of annoying or harassing that person or committing a further crime such as assault or battery.” When stalking is done through the virtual space where there is no face to face act or instance of following is called Cyber Stalking.
Online harassment is just another part of cyber stalking which makes it a crime. Harassment on the internet is so vague that sometimes there is no evidence to prove the harassment. Harassment online involves sending of unwanted e-mails which are abusive, threatening or obscene from one person to another. It may involve electronic sabotage, in the form of sending the victim hundreds or thousands of junk e-mail messages (the activity known as “spamming”) or sending computer viruses. Indirect forms of harassment may involve a cyberstalker subscribing victims without their permission to a number of mailing lists with the result that they receive hundreds of unwanted e-mails every day and payment notice for these subscriptions.
TYPES OF STALKER
- Rejected Stalkers: Motivated to pursue their victim in an attempt by revenge of what they perceive as a wrongful set of circumstances in a relationship.
- Aggrieved Stalkers: This type of stalker are fully aware of the victim’s cognizance but still continue stalking. These offenders can be very dangerous given their perceived motivation for stalking.
- Intimacy Seekers: This type of stalker does not have ill will towards their victim and simply seek a loving relationship with them. Filled with strange perceptions of acquiring destined love they lose sight of distress and cause fear to the victim.
- Incompetent Stalkers: These stalkers’ entire life is focused on the endeavour of one day becoming a couple with the victim.
- Predatory Stalkers: Not less than a psychopath this type of stalker is motivated by a perverted sexual need by dominating and even attacking his victim.
THE INDIAN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT 2008
- The Indian Information technology Act 2008 (amended) does not directly address stalking rather takes stalking more as an “intrusion on to the privacy of individual”.
As per Section 72: Breach of confidentiality and privacy: Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person who, in pursuant of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made there under, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT 2000
- As per section 72A of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008), which deals with the “punishment for disclosure of information” as follows:
Section 72A:Punishment for Disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract: Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person including an intermediary who, while providing services under the terms of lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.
INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860
- As per section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with “Criminal trespass” and runs as follows: Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property , or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate , insult or annoy any such person, or with an intent to commit an offence, is said to commit criminal trespass.
- As per section 354D of the Indian Penal Code which deals with “Stalking” runs as follows,
(1) Any man who—
- follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
- monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication,
commits the offence of stalking;
Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—
- it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
- it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
- in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Definitely cyber stalking is a real crime. No one has the right to stalk or harass anyone either directly or through any other medium. Cyber stalking has still not received attention as other offences but its existence can be traced. It is important for common people to know the laws and fight against cyber crime. Cyber stalking today wants attention. Attention to draw stringent laws and establish officials and enhanced technologies. Offenders by using the medium of internet and strengthening anonymity do their deed. People want stronger laws to combat cyber stalking and online harassment because mere rules will not do.People can contact their nearest CBI office or police station to lodge complaint against the criminals.