Apr 212008

Noor Aftab

Misuse of internet is common but when wrong-doers go berserk and start maligning and tormenting others it turns into a serious crime that must be strictly dealt with under the existing laws.
A victim of the immoral and criminal abuse of a facility that brings the world on your computer screen narrated her bitter experience to this scribe. Her painful experience speaks volumes for the social ramifications of what may be termed internet terrorism.

The 45-year old school teacher and mother of three sons said someone posted her mobile phone number on a website (www.olx.com) with immoral pictures of a girl with name and introductory details, probably fake and downloaded from the internet.

She came to know about it when she received a phone call from an unknown person who cited the website and talked all nonsense. “It was indeed shocking; I scolded him and cut off the call.”

But, the woman who spoke this scribe by telephone said that first “strange call” was just a beginning of her ordeal.

“A stream of obnoxious calls followed. I was forced to power off my cell phone and dispose of the SIM.”

Asked whether she intended to file a case under the Cyber Crime Law, she said she would not. “I just wanted to inform how some people are shamelessly harassing and disgracing fellow citizens,” she said before dropping the call.

The visit to the offensive website revealed that on its homepage there is a link named Pakistan. Under this link there is an option “Women looking for Men” in which introductions, pictures and mobile phone numbers are posted by unknown persons.

The federal government had introduced a Cyber Crime Bill in 2006 with an aim to curb illegal practices at the internet and general public was informed through advertisements especially in the print media to file their complaints to a certain numbers. The law titled Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill offers penalties ranging from six months imprisonment to vigorous punishment for 17 types of cyber crimes.

Then federal minister for information technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari while talking to a group of reporters at his office after the press conference in which he gave details of the bill, said that he made his mind to introduce such a bill when a woman from his constituency informed him some months back that someone had posted her animated pictures on the internet.

An official of the Ministry of Information and Technology said though it was quite difficult to identify persons involved in such unethical activities, yet with the help of local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it was possible to get to know about the location from where any illicit material was posted on a website. “If anyone files a complaint then such persons, who get involved in these practices, can be traced.”

Social circles have been constantly voicing concerns over increasing misuse of websites and there is a need to create fear in the hearts of those people who are indulged in these kinds of activities by a strict implementation of Cyber Crime Bill.

“There is no known case in which any one involved in such cyber crime is punished and people are also not much aware about the existing laws. So there should be mass awareness campaign about what to do if any one faces this kind of situation,” said Tariq Usman, a software engineer.

Tanveer Hussain, a psychiatrist, said only mentally sick persons get involved in these offences and people particularly students be imparted special education to make them responsible citizens.

“We have a mature society and most of the people avoid getting involved in such activities, but only a limited segment has tendency towards it. If there are strict laws and proper implementation then there will be a considerable decrease in these crimes,” he said.

Source: The News, 21/4/2008

 Posted by at 10:36 am

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