Saturday, December 29, 2012

The black spot: I say NO


Gang rape of the Delhi woman and her subsequent death left everyone shocked, sad and insecure. I was no exception. Being a woman myself, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a chill ran through my spines when I first heard about the incidence. Immediately after the incidence, the news papers are flooded with so many rape cases. The news channels are constantly talking about how to bring out a preventive law and whether the rapist/s should be given death penalty or not. The social media became active too. People built up communities, forums and groups to discuss about the issue and many of us showed personal ‘touch’ to the issue by putting our thoughts through our status messages. I personally have signed on-line petitions  praying for preventing such kinds of brutal torture to women and bringing in stricter preventive laws against the rapists. However, as a civil society using the social media to express concern, I noticed that some of the users of the Facebook and Twitter are circulating pictures of the poor victim and encouraging (almost forcing) others to do the same. I know this could be an unreal picture. But still then,  PLEASE DONT. Women like me want to remember this victim as one who could make people feel the need to change the stigma attached to rape. The entire nation stood up to accept her as a brave girl and slammed the rapist. But at the same time, I have also seen some discussing if she recovers how can she face the society. I felt angry and simultaneously sad. A sect of the society ( a large chunk) still think that women are raped or physically assaulted must shy away from the society. Why ? Just because someone other than her husband penetrated her vagina against her will? Just because someone crushed her  bare breast without having the tag of being her husband ? I don’t support such mentality. Time has come to accept the rape victim as a victim of a cruel man made brutal and torturous ‘accident’. And for this I congratulate those who made the government to think of changing the laws.
 At the same time, I was asked by many to wear black spot in my profile picture as a mark of shame. I refused. As a woman I will show my protest through my own self, not through a blackened picture. My answer to those who had been urging others to wear the black spot is, black spot is bold but dumb. If you have the courage, protest against the rapist, the government in activities and administrative failures through your own identity. The issue has gained a momentum and no one wants to shut the other protester. If women start wearing black spot, it will symbolise that we are letting the male dominated society to think that we are ashamed of our womanhood. For men, it will symbolise that they are shying away from the responsibility of promising to build a safe world. As the things are turning, there will be rape news every day in every news paper now. It may have tremendous effect on the society. May be the educated, aware citizens will finally wake up to understand that such creatures who are called ‘rapists’ must be blackened and not the victims. Hence face the phase with brave faces and protest with strong words.
** The author does not intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments. This is an independent view of the author and the author has expressed her views in her own right towards exercising freedom of speech. If anybody feels hurt, the author apologises in advance.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), The black spot: I say NO, 30thDecember,2012, published in

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gagging the right to digital communication for women


On 25th November this year, I had a wonderful opportunity to be a part of ongoing global campaign against violence against women. I was invited by the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur  for a one day seminar to give lecture on online violence. Meeting with stalwart feminist advocates, scholars and Ms. Latika Sharan, ex-director general of Police, Chennai not only made me enriched in understanding the present scenario, it boosted my confidence in my own work too. I presented my paper, pointing out some crucial trends of on-line victimisation of women with a special note  that women’s right to speech is many often been gagged even in the cyber space. The Palghar girls were prime examples (even though this could have happened to men also, I specifically noted how women victims can be exposed to physical violence due to this). But this news which pulled up huge debate over section 66A of the Information Technology Act, could not keep me concentrated over the issue for a long time when I further witnessed two other unique cases of gagging right to communication of women. First it was a community panchayat in Rajasthan which declared a ban on women using mobile phones in early November this year(see No mobiles for girls: Rajasthan panchayat) , and then  a village panchayat in Bihar followed the same path (See Patna village bans women from using mobiles) in prohibiting women from using mobile phones. The reason for both these decisions were apparently the same: making the women turn more ‘docile’,  stopping the young girls from making any contact with people other than those their fathers or other family heads would choose and prohibiting ‘eloping’ for the sake of love. The later dictate also imposed financial penalties on women who would be found doing this ‘crime’.  In both the news reports majority of the villagers have reported said that this is a good dictate.
          Are you surprised? Well, I am not.  Note that both these villages do not fall in the wealthy and progressive village status. The concept of women freedom may sound like a never heard before term in such societies and freedom of life and liberty, especially marriage as per one’s own choice may look like a distant dream for young boys and girls here. These two incidents can be a reflection of the mindset of majority of Indian urban and semi rural patriarchal societies. There are  many men and men-dominated older women who feel that letting the girl get connected to the world would obviously bring unwanted problems. Agreed,  that lack of education and awareness is a huge reason for such gagging of speech in these societies.  But do look into your own social strata. One can find this problem in a more refined way in almost every family irrespective of urban or rural society. In many economically developed  families women are regularly blamed for giving more time to internet, to spend some time in chatting through mobile phones. Surprisingly when men do the same, it is often considered as their right to ‘catch up with friends’, ‘increasing networks for works’ and ‘relax after a hard day’s work’. In many families women are cynically accepted to do all these when men feel that their needs are satisfied for the day. Exceptions do exist. But this is what the real picture is. Prohibiting women from getting in touch with the digital communication technology has become a new trend to gag their rights not only to speech, but to equality and work.
Shame on men who hate to see women digitally connected to the world.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Gagging the right to digital communication for girls
 , 3rd December,2012, published in

Monday, November 19, 2012

Can women really exercise right to speech? At what cost?


Deeply hurt by the action of the Mumbai police against the two girls I am back to my blogger’s dashboard again. India is going through a wonderful changing period. The young generation is finally understands that there is some thing beyond school studies, competitive exams and medical and engineering degrees.  The two old heads may finally look forward towards fulfilling their dreams, the Missile man Abdul Kalam, who invited fresh brains to join politics and Anna Hazare who made young generation understand that fighting for a corruption free India is more important than ‘feeding’ the ‘babu’s unnecessarily. Yes, India is running towards a bright future and that has been made possible largely by a few US companies like the Facebook, Twitter and Google. The law pundits, human right activists and the brave teachers must feel good that the young generation is opening up their thoughts. We always hear that a democracy becomes stronger when right to speech is enjoyed to the maximum. But off late, I am getting to see some chilling effects to this great thought. Many often, those who are really misusing right to speech within the meaning of Article 19(2) of the Indian constitution somehow successfully remain out of reach of the police and the judiciary.  But those who may be perfectly within the ambit of Article 19(1) of the constitution are being hooked up by the police for wrong reasons.   The law which has become (in)famous for gagging the speech in the internet is section 66A of  the Information Technology Act, 2008.The two three instances of questioning the political big shots through social media and the consequences thereof  did establish a bad example which questioned the core existence of section 66A of the Information technology Act, 2008. It prohibits transmitting though communication technology a)any  information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or b) any  information which the sender knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device, c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages. 
While the rest of India may think that it chills the freedom of speech and it must be scrapped, I support it’s existence;but not at the cost of its misuse because I feel it does help victims especially women victims of cyber crime.  I am getting confusing informations about the legal provisions that have been used to arrest the two girls who spoke about the situation of Mumbai on the funeral of  Bal Thackery in Facebook.  The Times of India mentioned about section 64A of the Information Technology Act which was used to book the girl ( see, while NDTV told that it was section 505 of the Indian Penal Code, which was used. Section 64 of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) does not have any trailing provision, neither it speaks about offences( it speaks about recovery of compensation or penalty in special reference to cyber appellate tribunal’s power. It says “A penalty imposed or compensation awarded under this Act, if it is not paid, shall be recovered as an arrear of land revenue and the license or the Electronic Signature Certificate, as the case may be, shall be suspended till the penalty is paid.”). Presumably, it should have been section 66A and not section 64A. Section505 (2) of the IPC on the other hand prohibits issuing of statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill- will between classes.  The recent news said that the girls have got the bail and their lawyer has pressed that the concerned statement doesn’t fall under the category of either of these laws. 
True, Bal Thackery’s funeral may have made a section of people deeply mourned. But does that mean that no one should express one’s own feeling regarding this?  I can not support chilling of the right to speech by misusing a law especially like section 66A which has great potential to prohibit truly unprotected speech. Think of so many common men and women who had to suffer due to the standstill condition of a city. Did the veteran really want this? Probably no. But look at the aftermath; the IPC section was applied to directly book her for an offence which she may have never intended to create.  If the reports of vandalism are true, then the police now must take action to prevent any further untowardly incidents against the people at large and also  against the girl. See the first blow on her; she has become traumatised to go to Facebook again. I fear, this may be the beginning of a long lasting 'bad phase' for her. My earnest appeal to the society that let my fear not come true.  Sadly I note that she created one more example that when women speak their minds they inevitably invite trouble, whether online or offline. Let peace prevail.

**The author does not intend to hurt anybody’s political or religious sentiments. This is an independent view of the author and the author has expressed her views in her own right towards exercising freedom of speech. If anybody feels hurt, the author apologises in advance.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Can women really exercise right to speech? At what cost? ”, 19thNovember,2012, published in

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why do Indian women feel reluctant to report cases of cyber victimisation?


Women victims in the cyber space are increasing in number. The patterns which are mostly followed are creation of fake profiles either with the picture of the victim  that the perpetrator already had with him, or with the picture and informations that the perpetrator got accessed to through hacking in to the private emails / social media profiles of the victim. In my paper presented in the Sweden criminology symposium this year, I had shown ( excerpts of my presentation are available  @  that such sorts of victimisations also play big role in damaging the reputation of the victim in the marriage market and can even break marriages. Fear of this often makes women victims withdrawn from reporting the crimes and encourages them to take the other way round to remove the offensive content many often by hacking (see excerpts from my presentation in the above link). But it would be very wrong to say that women are only the victims.  There are couple of examples to show that women are turning into perpetrators also. In my above presentation I had shown how women are turning into “victim-turned offender”. Apart from this, many women are also following the path of male cyber perpetrators by creating fake avatars of other women in the social media. But how many women victims really turn up to report?
The recent case of singer Chinmayee’s online victimisation which included threats and obscene contents against her, created ripple. Quite simultaneously, I got to see many write ups which questioned the power of Tweets and the power of section 66A of the Information Technology Act which very broadly prohibits offensive speech in the cyber space. I also came across some write-ups which pointed out that even the singer also had used her right to speech. This reminds me of the noted writer Meena Kandasamy whom I am very fortunate to have in my own Facebook friend list. Meena was also targeted for her bold feminist ideologies. But these two women didn’t keep quite when they were targeted. Both of them reported the incidences to the police.  There are many women cine actors and TV actors  who refuse to bow down to the people who play with their images in the cyber space. But not to forget, these women refuse to recognise the after effects of police-reporting and media trails of the case as ‘social stigma’. General women victims are not courageous enough to take this path ( I had researched on this issue in my paper Halder D., & Jaishankar, K. (2011). Cyber Gender Harassment and Secondary Victimization: A Comparative Analysis of US, UK and India. Victims and Offenders, 6(4), 386-398). There are legal provisions through which women victims can obtain protection to their identity. But hardly any one is aware about it. At the same time, many women victims feel that such legal provisions are ultimately for a ‘namesake’ and they don't really keep their own promises. The recent press release by the DGP Hyderabad (see assuring the women victims of cyber crime about the protection of their identity is a welcome move. It is a hard truth that we have patriarchal system and women are judged by their morality not only in the marriage market, but many women do believe that this would affect their credibility in the job market as well. Like this officer, if other officers take steps to publicly announce that victims of cyber crimes would be protected from identity leakage may be women victims can get enough strength to seek proper help rather than improper help which would finally push them to even more dangerous zone.
Wish you all a happy and prosperous Deepavali
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012),Why do Indian women feel reluctant to report  cases of cyber victimisation?, 10th November,2012, published in

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Topless and shameless women always top the internet search lists

 A woman can be made (in)‘famous’ if she is portrayed ‘topless’ or ‘shameless’. The ongoing tussle over the issue of "topless Kate" is a glaring example  as how women are repeatedly victimised through the internet, be it  the Duchess of Cambridge,or any other woman who becomes the  victim of voyeurism. If  the victim is a woman who was not known to the world previously, expect her to be ‘re known ’ (if not well known) by some people whom she never expected to know her in her life time.  As on date, I got to see huge media attention to the power of the internet for spreading religious clashes in almost all over the world; along with that 'Kate Middleton' became even more hugely searched topic in the search engines not because of her royal position, but because of her perfectly toned naked upper body which is now prominent due to the French magazine which breached into her privacy. Topless Kate was available with hundreds of  Twitter users also; when I was jotting down my thoughts  for this blog on 17th September, she was still being displayed in spite of the warnings from the British royals, civil charges and amidst of plans for slapping criminal charges. But this particular woman belongs to those layers of people who know how to handle privacy breaching cases and can afford to slap criminal charges against a magazine and subsequently she may also successfully stop the world wide net including the social media giant Twitter from distributing her private pictures. The ‘Rian Gigg super injunction case’, also from the UK, would show the way to tame public social media with private laws. Quite similar to her is the case of BettinaWulff, the wife of former German president, who has been portrayed as a prostitute; Google as a search engine has made her more (in)famous. She has also applied private laws to prevent public humiliation through internet.
          Note that both Kate and Bettina belong to European Union countries whose private laws are daring to control the First Amendment Guarantees for Free Speech and Expression of the US, which is the core basis for social media including Google, Facebook and Twitter. These two women not only have monetary power to sue these web giants, they can also withstand the bypassing storm of media highlights, criticisms, sympathies, empathies and even appreciation; credit goes to their social and political backgrounds which made them realise what are their rights and what are the duties of others. But this is not the case of thousands of women who may have similar painful victimisation stories like Kate and Bettina. I remember a non-formal conversation with one of the Swiss presenters of Sweden Criminology Symposium this June. I was impressed by his presentation; he further impressed me by giving wonderful information: women in Sweden have cut off the feeling of shame from sexual victimisations like rape. This has actually motivated them to come up and report the matter to the police. Even though he was speaking on child victimisation in the internet, he emphasised the fact that this very feeling of women has actually gone a long way to combat so called online eve-teasers. But in practise, I get to see a very different picture almost every day; women from all over the world, including these European countries face terrible hurdles to seek legal help or police attention when they fall victims of crimes such as Kate or Bettina. Either the police ridicule them, or they can not afford a legal battle due shortage of funds. Resultant, victimisation of women in the net escalates.
Indian experience is no different. Women have not yet gathered that courage like their European or the US counterparts to cut off the feeling of shame; the situation is even worse with the police ineffectiveness. I dont blame the criminal justice system, for they are not given proper chance to increase their understanding in such cases largely due to the attitude of the victims. Well, exceptions are there. A young woman reportedly came up with not so pleasing comments in the Facebook page    regarding the police ineffectiveness for an F.I.R that she lodged for theft of her vehicle (see She did not fall prey to typical category of cyber victimisation of women; but she shamelessly displayed her anger and frustration.But she actually did fall a victim as her right to speech and expression was gagged. She represents women who face similar humiliation from criminal justice machinery and finally they give up their claims for fair justice and loose hope from the machinery. It is only when women victims especially of cyber crimes, are given a patient hearing and immediate relief by the law and justice machinery that they can win over the feeling of shame as their western counter parts. This would in turn go a long way in preventing unethical hacking activities too.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Topless and shameless women always top the internet search lists, 19th September,2012, published in

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Women, be careful when you join 'groups' in Facebook


Couple of day’s back I came through a research which showed that women are more attracted to social networking through popular social media like the Facebook or Twitter than men (See Being a woman myself, I cannot wholeheartedly agree with this research as I have seen many men *also* have taken likings for social networking too. But this research made it once again crystal clear: women are vulnerable in the net. In this era of social media, women do not click in the Facebook or Twitter just as a leisure activity only. I see these Medias as mines of informations; and I am sure many women like me visit these ‘mines’ for gathering useful informations, which are essential for home maintenance, baby care to safe e-banking, online shopping, part time or full time jobs from home etc. Where do we find these mines? Anywhere and everywhere if you have your 6th sense ready for gaining the informations. I look specifically for the ‘groups’ and ‘trending topics’ for gathering informations, which in very sophisticated term, can also be called as ‘data mining’.
          But women of my genre, beware!
All is not safe when you switch on your Facebook account with your personal informations and albums open to your friends. In a ‘group,’ in the Facebook, there are numbers of privacy issues which may bother members, especially women members; let me detail them here:
1.     If one member tags you or your photo, your well protected informations, status updates and even the entire album can be pulled out from your profile. Do not feel secured if you have made your informations available for your friends and not for the public. You may never know, but your friend’s friends can also view your ‘secrets’ meant only for your friends.
2.    A group expands by snow balling its members through existing members. So if any one of the members mistakenly adds any unwanted individual, the security of the other members may be jeopardized.
3.    You may get introduced to many likeminded members in a group, who may be interested in knowing you more closely. But be careful. Once an individual sends a friend’s request, he/she may be able to see the status updates and the new addings to the album if they are not ‘protected’; this is possible even when the ‘friend’s request’ is in the ‘pending’ status. Hence if you do not wish to share anything with him/her, immediately close your door to him/her.
4.    Remember if this is not a closed group, your contributions to the group may be visible in  the world wide web if someone searches for your name.
These are but some of my own findings from my own experiences in the Facebook. But women, don’t withdraw yourself. There are more ‘safety pins’ available for protecting the loop holes.
Ø Facebook offers few types of friend’s category, namely; acquaintances, friends and close friends. It falls upon you to categorize your ‘friends’ for a better networking.
Ø When it is an open group, be careful to choose your words for contribution.
Ø Be watchful; if you are tagged without your permission, ‘de-tag’ yourself .
Ø Take immediate decision regarding friend’s requests. Pending requests may add more privacy risks.
Ø If you are a member in a group which allows snow balling, be sure to add known and reliable friends. This is will make you a safety valve in your own group.
At the end, let your friends be aware of the positive side of social networking. Being a social species,  no human beings are fallible. But remember, we are humans and a little bit of awareness would definitely make our lives in the well webbed world wonderful.

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Women, be careful when you join groups in Facebook”, 6th September,2012, published in

Monday, July 9, 2012

A shocking reminder of victimisation of women

Since long women are used as a ‘cursor’ of chastity. A devoted wife is supposed to be a best woman, a devoted mother may not make a best wife, a devoted professional may not make a good wife, nor a good mother; the list goes on. Depending upon such analytical subjections, a woman can be a ‘good’ woman ( wanted by one and all in marriage markets and can make a good example for other women in the society), a smart woman (may not be wanted by one and all and may not prove to be a good example for other families who would like their daughters to be so called ‘good women’), and a bad woman ( wanted by none as the male dominated society may portray her as a woman who  can satisfy only her own demands, be it physical or emotional). Such ‘bad women’ make good "items" to be displayed. In the pre internet era, the gossip columns of news papers and popular magazines used to display them. In the internet era, it is again the gossip columns but in the web magazines where they are displayed. Who fall in the category of bad women? Any one right from a prostitute, who work to feed herself and her children,  to a stubborn female government official, who may stand for her as well as other women’s rights at any cost,  to a female academician who may fight against gender discrimination, to even an authoritative mother who may lay strict rules at home for welfare of her children irrespective of their sexes  and offcouse a female lover who finds her heart’s happiness going against her social customs and commands which may have been made to regulate women more than men, can fall in the bad woman category depending upon the social value system of her country and region. In the internet era these women, who fight for their own rights and happiness and yet tagged as bad women find unique places through unique mediums. One such example is the recently executed Afghan woman whose public execution pictures  are being circulated in the internet today (see . A regular reader of  Yahoo news services, at first I was taken aback when I found the news clipping titled “Afghan woman executed in public” in the Yahoo India news link today. Anyone would feel extremely disturbed. I nurse a curious woman in me who loves to see and read about  silver screen celebs, women entrepreneurs and achievers. This particular image of a man targeting his gun towards the head of a woman (she is not facing the camera....fortunately not), all wrapped up in a colour less cloth patiently waiting for her death, made me think that it is a trailer picture of Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit’s  forthcoming film (well the scroll showed a picture of Madhuri with her two sons  and an adoring husband in the backdrop of  TajMahal just before this horrible real life killing picture.) My brain made no mistakes in assuming the next picture in the scroll as a continuation of Madhuri’s story, as in the previous picture Madhuri was captured covering her head and face with a scarf for paparazzi reasons. But my poor brain slowly registered the fact; it was not a cinema clipping, it was real; a real picture of killing a woman in the most inhuman way because she was charged with adultery. The slides opened one by one and I got to see this woman’s execution slowly unfolding in the remaining six slides: many men watching the killing of a woman.
            These pictures could earn best journalistic pictures award in near future, may be this news reporter would earn accolade for reporting this inhuman act of  some fanatic humans. But it is now widely available in the internet. Men, women and especially children (matured as well as younger teens who surf the net for so many purposes) who may come across this clipping anywhere in the internet may lose a peaceful night’s sleep. What disturbs me is, there is no prior warning for ‘viewer’s choice’ before this clipping opens or the link pops up. This opens up wide range of dangers for humane internet savvy humans; imagine the psychological trauma of a matured teenager who may never have heard or seen such nasty executions, older viewers or even pregnant women who may have opened this slide show without properly understanding what it is about. It is indeed true that when a report is read without any images attached with it, the impact may give different results than when still pictures such as these are seen. The Yahoo would play a safe game as they won’t be liable unless someone asks them to remove it from their list; the link may find its place for a long time as this may not fall under ‘illegal speech and expression’ category in the internet if  advocates for free speech establish the fact that it doesn’t cross the red line. But to me it is revisiting victimisation of women in yet another new form. The more this clipping bearing  execution pictures float in the internet, the more some fanatics would get *strength* to terrorise innocent women with dire consequences.People, how long you will enjoy this cruel victimisation of women even in the internet age?

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “A shocking reminder of victimisation of women ”, 9th July,2012, published in

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The problem of Online grooming of children

This is me reporting from Sweden criminology conference at Stockholm. Since yesterday when the conference opened, I am attending all the sessions on victimisation in the cyber space and restorative justices. Well, no doubt, I am getting extremely strong and confident for my own presentation scheduled for tomorrow morning. There is a flow of informations from trans border jurisdictions, especially Europe and it is definitely scary.....cyber crime against female species of human beings is growing... Off course I have not come across any presentation stil now which spoke about adult victims ( I will be the first to start it tomorrow and I am looking forward to hear something regarding hacking etc afterwards), but quite a number of researchers did find similar grooming of young girls are on the fact the situation is no different from India...... We name it pedophilia and related activities in India, they call it grooming. Well, we still feel reluctant to name this activity as grooming. Probably we in India take the word grooming in a very positive note. But the online groomers have the same methodology as is the case in Europe. I felt extremely uncomfortable to hear the specific ways and to see the chat messages that the members from the police in Sweden showed. I felt awkward because I was sitting along with a good number of men and women who were watching the presentation with me and I am used to see such comments or posts only in private while I am working as a cyber victim counsellor or writing something on the burning issues.Slowly the natural realisation settled in.. We are all birds of the same flock, all of us are working towards helping the victims and there is nothing to feel awkward to see or talk about some thing which we in India generally don't do even in gatherings like this. In fact I have even dropped the plan of showing a naughty text message in symbols....I have no "shame" feeling about sharing some of my personal experiences now. 
Why online grooming is not getting this very approach in India still now? The answer is crystal clear now. We refuse to believe that our children can actually fall in such traps. Last year in India while I was participating in a seminar as a keynote speaker, a participant, who also belongs to legal fraternity, openly challenged me on my observation that girls in India are also "groomed" and they are also asked by their potential groomers to show their private parts through web cams or post the pictures. He refused to accept the hard truth that I have actually dealt with minor victims of such sorts of victimisations. He falls in the majority section. No one, not even the victim's parents can believe that their child can fall in this very section. But I feel sad  to note that  in India online grooming is probably increasing. You ask me evidence for it and I would show the numerous police websites where they are now showing up caution messages for children. A good sign indeed. But the question remains about acceptance of such victims and victimisation in our society. The presenter in the conference himself was a police officer and he informed me that their society has successfully cut off the feeling of shame from the concept of victimisation. Perhaps he is true; he showed so many messages from the matured children which proved his words. We in India could not do this. It is the time for us to believe in the ancient saying "shame, hatred and fear... the more you grow them, the more they settle in you". The more victims would come up, the lesser we can expect the rate of victimisation,for it may finally teach the offender that they are being noted and they are not welcome.

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), "The problem of Online grooming of children ”, 12th June,2012, published in

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers


This afternoon I got a call from a sweet female voice. The girl claimed to have called from a nationalised bank and wanted to give me a good news. When I looked at the phone screen again I found that the number from where she is calling resembles the district code and also the area code of the central area of our city. When I concentrated again in her message she told me that my “son” had participated in a drawing competition and the bank authorities would like to come over to my home to present the certificate. I told her that I don’t have any son ! The voice from over the line politely confirmed “no it is your child”. I knew the whole episode is going to set another example of probable phishing activity or simple phone harassment and I grew more interested to learn how she did her home work. I firmly told there is no possibility of such participation from my “child”; she quizzed me on whether my child studies in the same school (she did very good homework regarding this), whether my house bears the same number (well she gets the full mark here to) and whether my husband is Jaishankar (full marks again) or not.. For a second I was dumbstruck... such a good home work !!!! I said “good, so you seem to know me so well .. now what do you want”?  The voice, which became a little shaky, said “we want to know when will you have free time so that we can come over” ? I stated “you can always see me here with my full battalion. And if you need any specific information why don’t you try calling my husband”? She was visibly taken aback and cut off the phone.
My dear readers, have you ever encountered such situations? I am not surprised by the informations this caller had gathered regarding my child’s school, my home address or even my own phone number; for in the era of informations technology, almost all of us are ‘open books’ about ourselves. I keep my Facebook, Orkut and Twitter accounts absolutely private; beyond my virtual friends, who are over 3 or 4 years old in having friendship with me, I don’t discuss anything about my child’s activities.  But you are bound to get shocks and even more shocks when these well kept ‘private’ informations are well ‘digested’ by strangers from various cloud sources; which may include friends of our ‘close friends’, postings in group walls of social networking sites, blog feeds about ourselves, emails and messages which may have been accessed from the recipient’s accounts if the said account is unauthorisedly monitored or hacked, or even phone hacking which is becoming tremendously popular now a days. Frightening.....isn’t it? For a moment I feared are they going to kidnap my child? Well, any mother would think so when the information about the child reaches back to the mother in polished or unpolished manner.  The next moment I knew what is was likely about, especially when I called back the number and I got to hear that this number is provided by some other private service provider and not the regular government supported telecom service provider. Praise the intelligence of the racket leader; the number which is being used in this fraud game is so accurately chosen that any layman would believe that this is from a land line telephone connection and may also be from the same “office” from where the caller claimed to have called.
What could be the result if I would have given the details of my stay at home? Well.. any unwanted thing could happen if such details are divulged; theft or  robbery, when the house is empty; forceful breaking in and physical assault, even rape of the woman of the house if the mischief mongers target a silent and lonely afternoon; physical phishing attack, i.e, the mischief monger comes over to house in the guise of a sales man or low level corporate staff and induces the inmate of the house to part with money by promising some good fortune or by handing over fraudulent certificate etc,.   

  Since past two three years, criminologists, researchers in the behavioural patterns of information technology users, lawyers etc have started vehement campaigning about related dangers that can happen from the excessive and unmonitored usage of  geo-location features  in the social networking sites such Facebook and also Google maps etc. Not to forget, one of the executing ‘device’ for creating/producing such dangerous situations can be the poor little hand phone also. In my book Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9 , I had stated that the third type of crime that can affect women especially besides non-sexually crimes and sexual crimes, is cyber assisted offline crimes (pg 20). This has been proved repeatedly......................and I vouch from my own experiences now.       

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), "Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers through phones ”, 24th April,2012, published in

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“Gang raped” in the assembly


By the middle of this week, we the curious watchers of legal battle between Google and 20 more websites and the Indian courts got a “nice” surprise ...not from the Google, or from Facebook or even from the rest of those websites, neither from the courts and legal fraternity; but from three ministers in Karnataka state, which is known to have India’s first and most famous cyber crime police cell. When the assembly was being stormed by some very important debate, one of these ministers allegedly was  looking at a clipping which involved sex, abuse of woman, violence and probably violation of internet decency codes. The news reports suggested that it was the minister for cooperation who had the mobile phone device placed between his lap and the desk and started watching the clipping. He then started “flipping pictures of women” . The other two ministers joined him out of curiosity (see Who were the other two ministers? One was in charge of ecology, environment and ports; the other was none other than the minister in charge of women and child welfare. The ministers were immediately indicted and later they had voluntarily resigned from their posts. Even though they argued that they were seeing the clipping of a gang-rape incidence that was sent to the mobile phone device, their argument needs to be proved. But the issue that really moved me was, probably no human being can resist himself from viewing sex-related video images...but seeing these stuff in the assembly? No way... quite a long ago Bombay High court refused to provide a blanket ban on porn materials in the internet. I had even discussed about it in my earlier blogs. The high court rightly held that law cannot stop a person’s sexual rights (including right to be aroused by viewing such materials), if these materials are gained in the legal way and seen in private.  
Such materials could be gained in the legal way  as per the Indian laws, if they do not violate sections 66E, 67, 67A and B of the information Technology Act, 2008  specifically which prohibit voyeurism and publishing and transmitting of obscene, sexually explicit materials to anyone including children; and off course  sections 292, 293 of the Indian penal code, which prohibits sale of obscene books etc to anyone including children, 375, which discusses about rape, and 509  of the I.P.C,which is a popular provision used by the police for indicting  the perpetrator for creating nasty profiles in the social networking sites. Well, these are just a few provisions which prevent sexual exploitation, rather “slavery” of women and children, and also men (leaving aside provisions for rape and 509) online. But the law does not roll up its sleeve here. There are many other provisions which could be brought in to prevent the “world wide web” to transmit the humiliation. All were glaringly violated on this very day. First, the ministers saw the sex-clippings violating the core decorum of the assembly; second, if these were the pictures of gang rape incidence that were transmitted to them by someone else, as alleged by them, they did not immediately made a note to the assembly, which they should have, especially since the minister for women and child development was also involved; third, the clipping itself being shrouded in controversy, they may have also violated the legal provisions meant for internet sex-offences as I mentioned above. The ultimate result... a real gang rape of laws meant to prevent sexual exploitation of women online.
It is hoped that very soon the incidence will be probed and the real story behind the hush-hash viewing of the clippings by the ministers will be revealed; probably they will positively testify their own argument. But the underlying fact remains the same..... Audio-visual clips of naked or semi nude women writhing in pain gained from sexual intercourse,  transmitted through digital technology  to millions,  are the best entertaining materials even in a busy and important commitment like making ,breaking or deciding the fate of the laws in the parliament................. Shame......
** The author does not intend to hurt anybody’s political sentiments. This is an independent view of the author and the author has expressed her views in her own right towards exercising freedom of speech. If anybody feels hurt, the author apologises in advance.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), ““Gang raped” in the assembly, 10th February,2012, published in