Sunday, January 29, 2017
Smart cities may not always be Safe cities: Recalling Bangalore incidence
CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER
On December 20, 2016 I was attending a round table conference on Smart City, Safe City in Delhi. After the Delhi gang rape case in 2012, every one addressed Delhi as an unsafe city. New apps emerged which would help women in distress to send SOS to their relatives and friends and alert the police. The police force of all metro cities also vowed to ensure safety for women in public places. Not much success though! There were several incidences of rape including gang rape which again and again made us realised that there is a difference between promising and doing. What disturbed me more was sudden increase of rape videos on internet. Rapists and their aides physically violate women and capture the moments to enjoy it later! Or should I say to earn unethical profits out of this? Yes! They earn a good fortune by distributing such videos to various ‘ports’ from where such videos float to many other ports, devices and jurisdictions. I would not have believed that local petty shops earn revenue by selling such videos to young adults and matured teens until one day I came across a news report on this. Presently it is not only the violent rape videos or voyeur honeymoon videos alone which is being consumed by porn addicts; the list has included videos on public place molestation and kissing and fondling of young lovers at dark places. The Bangalore molestation incident on the 31st December 2016 night is also floating in the internet now. Indeed, it has been seen not only by those who wanted to know the reality, but also by porn addicts because this is nothing but a ‘sex video’ or ‘sex clip’ for many. The images show forcefully touching, fondling and trying to kiss women.
Question is who clicks these? Who disseminates these? While I do not deny that many people in the crowd who would have noticed these incidences may have taken pictures of such molestation because we severely lack a proper public place photographing law; I must say these molestation videos have become viral because of the poor surveillance on the work of the surveillance camera as well. On the one hand we thank the media to bring this news in the forefront. But on the other hand, I can’t stop thinking about extreme violation of privacy. What for the surveillance cameras are installed in public places? It is because the police (the so-called 24 hour help lines) could be made aware then and there of what is happening and how it is happening in the public places. Shockingly enough the police took charge after the media highlighted the issue. What more can be gathered from this is, the person who may be monitoring the images captured by the surveillance cameras may wanted to alert the media first and not the police. May be the person in charge would have alerted both the stakeholders, but the failure of the police to take charge of the issue first has not only violated the right of the victims to speedy justice, but has also revealed a crude joke: privacy of the sexual assault victims can neither be guaranteed.
28th January is celebrated as Data Protection day in many countries including India. On this day 27 years ago Council of Europe opened the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data for signature by the State parties. India is yet to adopt this convention. India neither has any focused Privacy protection law, even though the provisions relating to protection of privacy are scattered in different legislation. Ironically the concept of smart city has motivated the creation if several apps and digital policing. But the Bangalore incident again proved that nothing really works ‘smartly’ until stricter implementations of the traditional laws are made.
Stay safe, act safe.
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