This article is primarily based on the empirical method of research. However, the essence of doctrinal method can also be obtained through historical, descriptive and comparative method of analysis. So, in summation this research is triangulation of empirical, doctrinal as well as analytical method of study. The research tool used for the survey is a structured questionnaire. Purposive sampling method was adopted for data collection of 157 female respondents, from different economic and social strata, who were computer literate and internet savvy.
The article is divided into three part, the first part consist of the “theoretical part” which defines the basic concepts of cyber-crime. The second part relates with the “Inter-National and National Legal Instruments” relating to cyber-crime against women and the third part consists the core of the study i.e the “analysis of the obtained data” of the survey.From the survey it was found that: only two third of the respondent knew the minimum age to join cyber community, about forty one percent interacted with the unknown chat persons, about twenty percent shared personal information to virtual friends.
It was also found that about forty seven percent of the respondent received abusive/obscene mail, about fifteen percent experienced cyber hacking, about twenty percent experienced cyber harassment. It was also found by the survey that about seventy four percent respondent used safety tips in the internet, about ninety percent were aware that cyber-crime can be penelized, however it was found that only about three percent of the cyber victim reported the incidence to the police.
Violence-Against-Women (VAW) is not a new phenomena, women have been victims of various types of violence for many centuries till now. Domestic harassment, dowry death, molestation, kidnapping, female infanticide etc are some traditional forms of VAW.
Due to great revolution in Information-Communication-Technology (ICT) in 90’s saw the invention of World Wide Web, mobile phone, tabs etc. The ICT’s are the double edge sword as these inventions not only simplifies day-to-day activities but also creates a great threats. The threats are termed as “cyber-crime” which is the bi-product of “cyber-space”. As, the technology knows no physical boundaries, it flows around the world. So, cyber-crime too is a global phenomenon.
Although both men and women are affected by cyber-crime, but a study in India found that victims aged between 18-32 were predominantly female. UN estimates that 95 percent of aggressive behavior, harassment, abusive language and denigrating image in online space are aimed at women and come from partners or formal male partners.[ How Technology is Being Used to Perpetrate Violence against Women- And to Fight it. p. 1. Available at: http://www.apc.org (Accessed on 31 January 2019).]
Cyber-crime in Nepal is relatively a new phenomenon. Moreover, Government of Nepal (GoN) introduced “IT Policy” only in 2000, and “Electronic Transaction Act” (the Act which deals with cyber-crime) only in 2006. Prior to this, the GoN dealt the cyber-crime under the “Some Public (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2027 (1970)” (the Act has been repealed now). Kathmandu District Court has been designated to exercise the jurisdiction until the Information Technology Tribunal has been formed. Central Investigation Bureau and Metropolitan Police Crime Division are two key branches of Nepal Police which deals with cases of cyber-crime as per the Electronic Transaction Act, 2063 (2006).
Nepal has become a signatory or party state of Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1979; and other human rights Conventions. The Constitution of Nepal, 2072 (2015) also has addressed \”Rights of Women\” as fundamental rights.[ Constitution of Nepal, 2072 (2015). Article 38.] The Constitution has made the provision that “no woman shall be subjected to physical, mental, psychological or other forms of violence or exploitation… Such acts shall be punishable by law, and the victim shall have the right to obtain compensation in accordance with law.”[ Constitution of Nepal, 2072 (2015). Article 38(3). ]
Nepal has also adopted a gender responsive legal system to play a major role for promoting women empowerment. The Supreme Court of Nepal has also contributed in gender friendly decisions towards ending violence and discrimination against women. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966; CEDAW, 1979; Various UNGA Resolutions, and Conferences have recommended the various rights of women. The need for protection of rights of women gained global recognition during the International Decade of Women (1975-85) and has steadily gained momentum since then. This recognition became peremptory norms of international law in 1979 when the UN adopted the CEDAW.
Meaning and Definition of Cyber-Crime
The offence which take place-on, or using the medium of, internet can be termed as cyber-crimes. It is an umbrella term under which plethora of illegal activities may be grouped together. One common definition describes cyber-crime as, “any activity in which computer or networks are tools, a target or place of criminal activities.”[ D.L. Carter. (1995). \”Computer Crime Categories: How Techno-Criminals Operate.\” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Vol. 64, Issue: 7. pp. 21-27.] One broader definition of computer-related crime is as, “any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technology is essential for a successful prosecution.”However, simple yet sturdy definition of cyber-crime would be unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both.
In The Council of Europe Recommendation on Criminal Procedural Law, IT offences are described as: “encompassing any criminal offence, in the investigation of which investigating authorities must obtain access to information being processed or transmitted in computer systems, or electronic data processing systems.”[ Recommendation No. R (95) 13, approved by the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) at its 44th plenary session May 29-June 2, 1995: Concerning problems of criminal procedural law connected with information technology. Available at: http://cm.coe.int/ta/rec/1995/95r13.htm (Accessed on 31 January 2019)]
The Tenth U.N. Congress on the Prevention of Crimes and Treatment of Offenders, defined cyber-crime in a narrow sense as, “any illegal behavior directed by means of electronic operations that target the security of computer system and the data processed by them.”
Cyber-crime in a broader sense (computer-related crimes) is defined as, “any illegal behavior committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or a network.”[ Ibid.] In Communication from the Commission of the European Union, computer-related crime is addressed in the broadest sense as, “any crime that in some way or other involves the use of information technology.” The Council of Europe Convention on Cyber-crime defines cyber-crime (on substantive criminal law) in four different categories:
offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems;
offences related to infringements of copyright and related rights.
Types of Cyber-Crime against Women (CCAW)
There are various forms of cyber-crime committed against the women at large, which has greater impact on the dignity of women, which are as follows
Cyber-Stalking: It is the use of the internet or other electronic means to follow, watch, bother or harass an individual, a group of individuals or an organization. In cyber stalking women and children are stalked by men, adult predators or pedophiles. Often times the victims of cyber stalker is new on the web and inexperienced with the rules of internet use and safety. There are generally four reasons behind cyber stalking namely, for sexual harassment, for revenge and hate, for obsession love, and for ego and power trips.
Email Spoofing: It is the process of sending email to another person in such a way that it seems that the email was sent by someone else. This fraudulent action has become so common that we can no longer take for granted that the email you are receiving is truly from the person identified as the sender.[ Prashant Mali. Types of Cyber Crimes & Cyber Law in India, Part 1. p. 1.
Cyber-Pornography: It is another type of online threat to women’s security. Cyber-space has provided medium for the facilities of crimes like pornography. Cyber-pornography is growing at alarming rate. It is found that about 50 percent of websites show pornographic materials on the internet.[ Supra Note 12. p. 7.]
Child Pornography and Abuse: The internet is being highly used to abuse children sexually worldwide. This is also a type of cyber-crime wherein criminals solicit minors via chat rooms for the purpose of child pornography.
Cyber-Morphing: “Morphing” means to change gradually and completely from one thing into another thing usually in a way that is surprising or that seems magical. The photographs of the female members are taken from the personal albums and they are morphed for pornographic purposes by using parts of the pictures, for instance, the head or up to breast.
Cyber-Harassment: It may include constant messaging to the profile’s wall or personal email id, regular peeping in as a visitor, leaving messages in her wall, continuously sending request for friendship, joining groups where she is member and constantly posting messages disagreeing with her, etc.
Cyber-Defamation: It is another common online crime. It occurs when someone post defamatory matter about someone on websites or sends email consisting defamatory information to all that of person’s friends.
Cyber-Bullying: It is defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic device. Cyber bullying typically involves sending text messages making fun of, threatening, or otherwise.
Cloning: In this the fake profiles of female victims are created by stealing the personal information in such a manner that people are duped. The cloned profile then asks the friends of the original member to become his/her friend and crack the privacy of other members besides using the original member’s information for evil purposes.
Cyber-Hacking: In this kind of cyber-violence, some particular targets are chosen for hacking their profiles, using their personal information for evil purposes. In the internet women are venerable of cyber hacking as perpetuator generally chooses the soft target.
or “your internet identity will be f…ed off” etc.
Apart from above mentioned crimes, the cyber victimization encompasses cyber cheating, phishing, domestic violence via cyber flame, impersonate, blackmailing, defamation to name some. Moreover, most of the SNWs are registered under the US law and they are immunized from being sued as the defamatory media by The Communication Decency Act, 1996.[ Communication Decency Act of U.S., 1996. Section 230.] But this creates bigger problem for victims, especially women. As, decided by the Miller v. California[ Miller v. California, 413 US 15 (1973). ] case, the idea of obscenity differ from society to society.
Rational for the Cyber Crime
Increasing number of cyber-crimes across the globe are due to the fact that computers are vulnerable. The problem behind safeguarding a computer system from unauthorized access is that the information stored in it are of great importance, either to the existence a country or privacy of person or to the well-being of the business houses. So, effective laws are required to protect and safeguard them against cyber-criminals. Following are the reasons for the vulnerability of computers:
Easy to access: Hackers can steal access codes, retina images, advanced voice recorders etc. that can fool biometric systems easily and bypass firewalls.
Capacity to store data in comparatively small space: The computer has the unique characteristic of storing data in a very small space. This makes it a lot easier for the cyber-criminals to steal data.
Cashing on the mistake of others: The computers run on operating systems and these operating systems are programmed of millions of codes. The human mind is imperfect, so they can do mistakes at any stage. The cyber-criminals take advantage of these gaps.
Negligence: Negligence is one of the characteristics of human conduct. So, there may be a possibility that protecting the computer system we may make any negligence which provides a cyber-criminal the access and control over the computer system.
Evidence can be easily destroyed: The data related to the crime can be easily destroyed. So, Loss of evidence has become a very common & obvious problem which affects the system behind the investigation of cyber-crime.
Having Great Monetary Value: The personal, institutional as well as State information can be sold for huge sum to their respective opposition party, who always want to enhance one’s capacity by knowing the secrete of others.
Transnational in Character: Cyber-crime can be conducted from any place round the globe. So, it becomes very difficult for only a country to control it.
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