8 years of womensweb

Revenge Porn: Baby, You Are On The Internet

Posted: October 7, 2015

Revenge porn is digital media’s new offspring that is dark and destructive. Here are ways to keep yourself safe. 

We live in a very different age and time. Not because we have become smarter or better, but because one thing has taken over us, which was not as rampant as it is today. The word is technology. The world today moves in our tiny pockets. All you need is a smartphone. The Internet has changed our lives forever. Technology has taken over our personal lives and our relationships are not the same again. We fight, make up or break up over a text message. We fall in love over the social networking sites. Our lives are flashed in minutes, sometimes with intimate details. We almost live in a virtual world, where everyone is the master of the stories they want to spin. And the scary part is that there are no check masters.

When relationships have changed itself to mend  in the format of technology, so does the other emotions related to it, has changed its texture. Proposals, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, break-ups, dirty laundries are all flashed in the social networking sites. But wait a minute, what do one do, with those hurtful emotions. It looks okay when you are writing some sorrowful poetries and movie lines when things go wrong, but things might go in the extremes. Welcome to the world of Revenge Porn. Mostly used as a weapon by jilted lovers or ex-partners, Revenge Porn is the new phenomenon to shame one’s partner by uploading one’s partner’s intimate photos or videos over the Internet on public display, which ultimate aim is to hurt the other person’s reputation.

Just imagine for a moment, as it happened to Kalpana, a 24-year-old, Mumbai-based Banking Executive. One fine morning, she clicked on a link, sent by her ex-husband that read, “Available for sex.” It had all her intimate photos that were clicked during the period they were married and not only that, the link had all her contact details. The subject line of the mail read, “I will ruin you dear.” That’s the new age drug to avenge someone who has supposedly jilted or hurt the person.

Human emotions and its need to be dark and vengeful are same across all over the globe.

Human emotions and its need to be dark and vengeful are same across all over the globe. The same emotion is covered by a different name and nationality. After sweeping countries like USA, Europe and Japan, Revenge Porn is at your doorstep. Yes! Before you nod your head, it is knocking. It’s no more a western or first world concept now, as Kalpana found out. Last March, a man from Ranchi was arrested, as he created a fake account of his ex- girlfriend, where he posted obscene pictures of her, giving out her personal details and tagging her as a sex worker. Not only this, he also posted intimate videos of her. The result was such that a lot of man started to call her asking for her services. Another college student from Udupi was also arrested who posted intimate videos and photos of his girl friend after a breakup. So, next time you think that it might not happen to you, when things are all hanky dory, be a tiny bit careful, times might change, tables might turn and one fine morning, your private moments might be all over the Internet. It must also be kept in mind, though the photos and videos can be pulled down from the respective sites, however given the respective nature of the Internet, nothing gets wipes out forever.

In India, according to reports, this menace is widespread. “In most of the cases, the woman is the victim, though I have also dealt with cases where the man was victimised,” says Pavan Duggal, Supreme Court advocate and cyber law specialist. In the last two years, incidents of revenge porn have grown by five times. Cyber crime is easier these days, as it allows you anonymity and gadgets that comes in affordable price. The crime in smaller towns is higher because it is easy to defame a person in a smaller town than in metro cities. The offenders in such a crime is much different from someone trying to scam over the Internet, as, the accused in Revenge Porn is mostly a known person to the victim. The offender in this case has no criminal record and is educated and technology savvy.

According to some estimates, there are 3,000 such voyeuristic websites where such videos or photos can be posted and various other websites where the content can be copied and published.

According to some estimates, there are 3,000 such voyeuristic websites where such videos or photos can be posted and various other websites where the content can be copied and published. Thus, once something is posted on such websites it becomes virtually impossible for the authorities to erase the print completely from the web space.

Most victims of revenge porn are teenagers and mostly the photos that get misused are taken by them and shared with their partners. Taking an intimate photo on the shower or bed seems like an act of defiance, until it gets misused.

Here are a few tips, to keep yourself away from Revenge Porn.

  • Do not click or videograph yourself in a way that, you would not want the world to see you. Even if you keep them in your computer, safe, it can be hacked, and the content can be leaked.
  • Even if you get clicked in intimate positions, ask your partner to delete it immediately.
  • Keep your laptop off, when you are not using it. Hackers can activate your computer camera and get your photos clicked and leak them.
  • If you learn that your photos are shared without your permission, report immediately. The more time you take to report, your photo gets shared more and more in the cyber space.
  • Make sure that you remove your memory card from your mobile or format the hard disc of your computer before giving the device to service centres.
  • Don’t give your device to others. Always lock your applications (especially picture galleries) in your mobile
  • Install and update antivirus and antimalware in your device

However it is not always easy even for the police to track down the criminals, as many of them use fake IP addresses of different countries.

This is what the Indian law says about Revenge Porn

  • The Information Technology Act 2000 does not recognise revenge porn’ separately. It deals with the crime under Section 67 — that is, publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form. The crime is punishable with a sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
  • If a scene of sexually explicit act has been published or transmitted in electronic form, it becomes a more heinous offence under Section 67A of the IT Act, attracting up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
  • If the victim of revenge porn is under 18 years, then the crime is treated as child pornography — publishing or transmitting in electronic form of material depicting children in obscene, indecent or sexually explicit manner. The crime is punishable under Section 67B of the IT Act with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
  • The IT Act, however, does not talk about the right to remove pornographic content posted out of revenge.
  • The Indian Penal Code also recognises stalking, sexual harassment and voyeurism (watching an unsuspecting woman engage in a private act) as crimes punishable with three to seven years in prison.

There is also another aspect to revenge porn. Some of the victims have neither clicked or videographed intimate content of themselves. Their intimate contents were videographed through hidden spy cameras, that were installed on their laptops. Rohini Lakshané, a researcher at the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society, says, “I don’t like to use the term ‘revenge porn’, for it’s an act of violence against women, sometimes women are even raped and coerced into sex, filmed, threatened and blackmailed over the release of the footage online.”

In a country like India, where sex is still a taboo, intimate footages are most published to humiliate the victim and to make sure that the victim lives in shame for the rest of his/her life. Though laws across the globe are being made to punish revenge porn, in India we are still in the nascent stage when it comes to strict cyber laws. Though there is no one answer on how to keep one away from it, but the best measure as of now, seems safeguarding our privacy in the virtual world and one golden rule that can save us many a trouble in the future –Before hitting the send button, just think once, will you be really proud of it, if by any chance someone known to you, sees it. Maybe here lies the most important security check to our intimate lives.

 The part  “What the laws says,” is taken from Sify.com

Cover image credit Gabor Palla via freeimages.com

Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.

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1 Comment


  1. A timely reminder for everyone …
    Well written ! Take a bow!

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