The growing complexity of cyber-related offenses
Tazmim Hossain Mim, Department Of Law, North South University
Cyberbullying is an act of harassment by using the Internet, cell phones, or other electronic communication. This act is used to done intentionally to harm someone through hostile behavior; for instance, by posting negative comment without knowing the fact, posting unwanted or private information, sending text messages to harass someone, sharing private/embarrassing pictures, creating fake profiles, or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials defaming the
The female victim mostly faces cyberbullying or digital harassment. They are the substantial targeted area. Recently, cyberbullying has emerged as an alarming trend; it is mostly against women, as victims and accused in many sensational incidents are routinely abused by a section of netizens.
In Bangladesh, cyberbullying is a punishable act under ICT Act 2006 (Information and Communication Technology Act). Before this act, the law applicable to cyber offenses was the Penal Code 1860. The act was enacted to prevent cyber crimes and regulation of E-commerce. To meet the new requirements of the cyber crimes and E-commerce disputes, it became necessary to introduce specific significant changes in certain provisions of the Penal Code, 1860, and the Evidence Act, 1872.
Section 57 of the ICT Act says that “If any person deliberately publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the website or in any other electronic form any material which is false and obscene and if anyone sees, hears or reads it having regard to all relevant circumstances, its effect is such as to influence the reader to become dishonest or corrupt, or causes to deteriorate or creates the possibility to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or causes to hurt or may hurt religious belief or instigate against any person or organization, then this activity will be regarded as an offense.” The punishment for such an offense is imprisonment and a fine.
The government of Bangladesh also launched a cyber-crime helpline. Any person who is facing cyberbullying can call at +8801730336431, said Police Headquarters (PHQ). PHQ also advised victims to gather the links to the respective post and the profile of the abuser, take screenshots of the indecent or abusive post or comment, and report to their nearest police station. Besides, the victim can also email the evidence to file a complaint. The complaint should file on the official Facebook page of “Cyber Police Centre, CID, Bangladesh Police” or email to- [email protected]
A complaint can also be filed in Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) by calling at +880-29611111 or by email at [email protected] They are supposed to take necessary actions within 24 hours, and the perpetrators will get justice within three days after the complaint is filed. Furthermore, if the harassment amounts to criminal intimidation, then according to the Penal Code 1860, then the person may be liable to punishment as per the Penal Code 1860.
There are so many laws to protect the cyberbullying or cybercrime already. However, it is increasing rapidly. People who are bullied even for their gender, posture, attire, personal and family life are also dragged in social media to harass someone. A section of social media users posts distasteful and obscene comments repeatedly on social media platforms. Every age group is vulnerable to cyberbullying, but teenagers and young adults are common victims. It has become an issue because the Internet is relatively anonymous, appealing to bullies because their intimidation is difficult to trace.
Though there are many laws to protect crime and reduce crime, there should be proper implementation. Lack of monitoring and unwelcomed behavior of law enforcement agencies is a reason for increasing cyberbullying. Many of the cyberbullying victims, especially women, feel shy and fear that they will get more exposure if they file a complaint. They face more difficulties because of remaining silent. However, if the law enforcement agencies could give them the assurer to keep their every private and free information from media trial in case of the sensational case, the situation could be better.
In addition, we should be more careful concerning the increasing situation. The first step should be the internal reporting process of the particular social media website. If we take Facebook, harassment can be reported, and the particular user can be blocked. There is reporting system similar in almost every social media application. We can also limit posting or sharing our personal information. We can keep a documented record of any online activity (emails, web pages, social media posts), including relevant dates and times. Keep both an electronic version and a printed copy. We should always report to the appropriate authorities when we are about to take legal action. There is a distinction between free speech and punishable offenses. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors can help sort out legal implications.
These primary steps may limit the risk of becoming a victim and make it easier to identify the bully if they are victimized. Moreover, the law enforcement agency and the government regulatory body should be more concerned on this matter. Nowadays, the Internet is easy to access for anyone. For this reason, currently, the possibility of lowering a cyber-related crime is high uncertainty. If this is not appropriately eradicated and necessary steps in not taken in proper time later, the condition will convert uncontrollable.