KOCHI: While ‘cyber crime’ is a term used largely to describe intellectual property rights violation, forgery or identity theft, its horizon has widened with the lockdown and consequential digital boom. A questionable mob of online vigilantes who decide what you can wear or say are on the prowl. In the context of ‘Refuse the abuse’ campaign launched by woman influencers of Kerala, TNIE investigates the dark alleys of virtual reality
For most of us, a substantial part of 2020 flew by as we tried getting adjusted to the new normal brought in by the Covid-19 outbreak. Various pandemic protocols to stop the spread of the virus meant that personal interactions became lesser everyday while virtual connections grew more prominent.Even as the World Wide Web offered a full glimpse of its truly unbridled possibilities, the flip side of the coin revealed a darker menace of cyber crimes.
Although the recent report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for the year 2019 showed a substantial dip in the number of overall cyber crimes last year —307 in 2019 against 340 in 2018, Manoj Abraham, nodal officer of Kerala Police Cyberdome believes such cases are likely to spike this year.
“Online crimes are bound to go up tremendously across the world as both perpetrators and the victims are hooked onto screens. However, Kerala registers every crime. For example, the criminal may be based in Jharkhand but the case will get registered here,” said Manoj.
Strong laws, stronger conscience
According to woman rights activist and former Member of Child Rights Commission J Sandhya, most bullies are unaware of the nature of their incriminating and explicit comments. “They assume the comments aren’t directly communicated, as a result, do not fall under the purview of a crime. Once they realise that serious repercussions exist, they will be guarded,” she said.
After the Supreme Court quashed Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act in 2015, the police conclude that action can’t be taken against cybercrimes, she said. “Social pressure makes them sit up and take the same seriously. Lacunae in law and apathy showed from the part of the police are the major reason. Surely, the mindset of the people must change, there should be increased awareness and a fear of prosecution to reduce such crimes,” she added.