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  • Astitva Kumar Rao

REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY–SOCIO-LEGAL IMPACT

Astitva Kumar Rao

REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY–SOCIO-LEGAL IMPACT

ABSTRACT

The development of the internet in the 21st century has ushered in the era of digitalization because social media has been so beneficial for individuals and businesses. Also, this has exposed the negative aspects of the internet. Digital technologies are now widely used in both daily living and daily crimes. Human connections, particularly in communication, have been significantly impacted by the technology and information revolution. However, because of the development of this new technology, many different behaviours have emerged that are incompatible with what is legally acceptable.

Cybercrimes are criminal offences that take place in the realm of digital technologies and cyberspace. One such offence is known as "REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY[i]," which refers to the publication and dissemination of photos with other people's sexual material without their agreement on various public venues, digital channels, and websites. Modern television and video technologies have produced pornographic programmes and channels.

Because new technology appeals to both the producers and the consumers of pornography, the pornography industry has encouraged the development of new technologies like video recorders and cameras, and more recently the internet and smartphones. These offenders make bad use of technologically based inventions and software to facilitate domestic violence, dating abuse, cyberstalking, and child sexual exploitation. It is disrespectful because the internet has created prospects for technological and virtual closeness. These sexual subgenres and sexual media on internet platforms have multiplied in unprecedented ways.

INTRODUCTION

Revenge pornography involves stalking and involves the misuse of a person's personal information. It concerns the unauthorised dissemination of sexually explicit photos and films. It’s typically only linked with women; however, this is untrue, and other genders have also fallen victim to it. It is when someone's nude or semi-naked images or videos are posted online or on social media without that person's consent. One might do this to coerce someone into engaging in sexual activity, to maintain a relationship, or even as a kind of punishment for a variety of offences. A subtype of cyberstalking, revenge pornography is a type of cybercrime.

Either the person the victim sent their private images to or the hacker can carry out this type of job. In these scenarios, a hacker gains access to all the personal information on the user's mobile device. The victim may be approached for payment on occasion, or in some cases, a video or photo of the incident may be posted online. Blackmail can also be used to force someone to comply with demands for money or physical items.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PORNOGRAPHY AND REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY

The main distinction between pornography[ii] and revenge pornography is that although pornographic content is created to post on social media, revenge pornographic content involves the release of the victim's film without their knowledge or consent. The most significant distinction is that while party consent is present in pornography, victim consent is not present in revenge pornography, which is realistic and highly intimate.

IMPORTANCE OF CATEGORIZING REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY

The crime of revenge porn violates the right to privacy, yet despite this, it hasn’t been designated as such in any Indian statute and is of little significance. The nature and importance of the relevant protected asset are communicated by classifying the act as a specific crime. As a result, it must be regarded as a crime.

The harm done to the social value on which revenge porn is founded must thus be represented by classifying it as an offence. Hence, categorising revenge porn as a violation of merely one's right to privacy would suggest that the defendant had not physically harmed the victim but rather had only invaded the women's personal. It is considered necessary to classify it as a crime as a result.

REASON BEHIND REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY

Blackmailing the victim is being done by a person or hacker who seeks money from the victim. Also, he might profit from the website by selling private videos or images. Another purpose is to harm someone's reputation. As an illustration, images and videos of several politicians, social workers, businessmen, and people from various professions are released to present the person in a poor light, ultimately harming their career.

REVENGE PORN” AS A VIOLATION OF “RIGHT TO PRIVACY"

A domestic regime's foundation has been considered as privacy. As a result of technological improvements that have opened new opportunities for privacy invasion, privacy-related issues are currently a hot topic of discussion in society. Between oneself and society, privacy is a thin line. Assumed to be the protection of personal data that has been published through cyber means, privacy is the structural underpinning that has been featured in the online sphere. Because it reassures users that their personal information and data won't be made available to the public on online platforms or to unauthorised individuals, internet privacy is crucial from an economic perspective.

This form of privacy invasion puts society's and the economy's interests at risk. The protection of one's private space and the capacity to exert control over one's own life are both made possible by one's right to privacy. There are many different forms of online abuse, but revenge porn is the most current and pervasive. Revenge porn is described as the revealing of another person's private information without that person's consent with the intent to cause them embarrassment, irritation, or grief. Both a sexual offence and a privacy infraction have been assigned to revenge porn. The preservation of an individual's autonomy, well-being, and right to self-realization are all included within the scope of the right to privacy.

By sexually shaming, belittling, and degrading the victim, it breaches their dignity. Victims can go undiscovered because they believe that doing so will damage their reputation in society. It might be said that revenge porn victims describe an experience that is comparable to that of rape. Additionally, it diminishes the victim's identity, violating the victim's moral standing and dignity. The right to privacy is regarded as a human right and a fundamental right, with the idea that everyone deserves to enjoy all types of privacy.

The Indian Constitution's Article 21[iii] protects the right to privacy and identifies it as a fundamental freedom. Furthermore, it violates the right to privacy when intimate photographs, private recordings, and videos that are demeaning to someone's reputation or dignity in the eyes of society are distributed.

IMPACT OF REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY ON SOCIETY AND LAW

The crime of revenge abuse not only harms the individual victim but also has negative implications for society. Any social failure to respect women's capacity for consent will further legitimise violence against them in all its manifestations. However, minimising the damages of online abuse and creating a narrative that could normalise such heinous behaviour by characterising female sexual abuse as merely "hypersensitivity" or "humourlessness" of females are signs of victim-blaming. As a result, such cultural narratives will indoctrinate society's members into a culture where violations of women's sexual autonomy and privacy will eventually be accepted.

This will suppress women's voices and make them invisible in both the real and virtual worlds, as has already been stated. So, the psychological damage caused by online sexual abuse doesn't just harm the victims; it also deprives societies of a public discourse that is more varied in its points of view and reflective of the equality of all people in all facets of their human existence.

In the age of the internet, releasing the victim's private movies or images can put emotional stress on the victim and be the cause of strained social relationships and social isolation. Everyone has access to the internet, making it very simple to view pornography. The risk to mental health is high.

Although there is no explicit statute against revenge pornography in India, the offence is nevertheless punishable under multiple sections of IPC and IT Act penalties. Sections 66E[iv], 67, and 67A[v] of the IT Act.

OPTIONS OF REDRESSAL LEGAL RESPONSES: CRIMINAL AND CIVIL

By educating people about the acts (criminal or civil) that are prohibited by the law to prevent harm or detriment to others, the law plays a crucial role in controlling the behaviour of persons. Furthermore, societal disapproval for a particular behaviour is reflected in the prescription of that behaviour. A person's right to a dignified existence and personal liberty can therefore be protected by the law from unjustified interference.

CRIMINAL REMEDIES

"Revenge porn" is now prohibited in several countries throughout the world. The Philippines was the first country to outlaw such behaviour in 2009. In reaction to this issue, the uninvited distribution of personal photographs was made illegal in some countries. Also, several offenders as well as website owners who facilitate the publication of revenge porn have been successfully prosecuted under this new legislation.

There is no explicit law in India that defines "revenge porn," although the accused may be tried under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and the Information Technology Act, 2000. (IT Act).

The following Section of the IPC that will be attracted includes Section 292[vi] (Sale etc., of obscene material); Section 354C[vii] (Voyeurism); Section 499[viii] (Defamation); and Section 509[ix] (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

Under the IT Act following Sections will be attracted: Section 66E (Punishment for the violation of privacy); Section 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of obscene material in electronic form); Section 67A (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form); and Section 72[x] (Penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy).

Consequently, criminalising such sexual assault will provide accountability for offences that seriously violate people's right to a dignified existence, paving the road for victims to receive some sort of remedy and justice.

CIVIL REMEDIES

Civil law has been used by victims and survivors of image-based sexual assault to pursue justice. Victims have allegedly gained control over their situation because of lawsuits filed under common law or statutory civil law. Victims of "revenge porn" have invoked copyright legislation to obtain redress.

CASE LAWS

1.     State of West Bengal vs. Animesh Boxi[xi]

 Animesh Boxi was found guilty by the Judicial Magistrate of Taluk District Court in West Bengal of posting personal pictures and films of his ex-girlfriend on a pornographic website, and he has imposed a 5-year prison sentence and a Rs. 9000 fine.

2.     Subhranshu Rout v. State of Odisha[xii]

The couple was the victim. And time, the offender went to the victim's house when she was home alone, abused her, recorded the terrible episode, and then threatened her to make the situation go away. The video and photographs were posted on Facebook after the victim informed her spouse about the assault. The judge denied his bail.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMBATING REVENGE PORNOGRAPHY

Revenge pornography has the potential to severely harm or endanger a person's life. So, it is important to be aware of the ways to prevent pornographic retaliation. Hence, there are two ways to approach prevention: personally, or individually, and legally.

You should always exercise extreme caution if you want to avoid such on a personal level. You should also check whether there are hidden cameras before staying outside. Be cautious when forming relationships and friendships. Never transmit or take naked images of anyone. Take caution when using your mobile devices and gallery. Your images and movies should be uncrackable. Remember your passwords and only use trustworthy apps.

Use extra caution while making physical contact with someone because intimate photos or movies could damage your reputation, your career, or even your life. Hence, it's crucial to be constantly conscious of your environment and the people around you. To protect oneself from such attacks, you must always maintain your privacy. The users who are in the videos should have given their consent before the content is released, according to pornographic websites.

It’s likewise prohibited by law, and as a result, no one dares to commit this crime. The cyber cell should have a dedicated squad that handles these cases, and there should also be a separate hotline to assist those who have fallen victim to revenge pornography. All genders should be treated equally and impartially by the laws that are enacted. Make sure your web presence is legitimate by thoroughly checking it. Hence, regardless of gender, these are the preventive actions that everyone should immediately adopt.

CONCLUSION

The pain is intense and occasionally never ends. Nonetheless, it's crucial to avoid technologically deterministic viewpoints and keep in account the human agents who use digital and social media platforms when trying to explain modern abuse. Revenge pornography is a growing crime that is made easier by social media and mobile technology; it is a crime committed by people, and one to which the police must respond appropriately. Only a small part of the daily online sexual harassment takes place in the form of revenge porn. It poses a significant and growing threat to victims' physical and online reputations. Even if the horror is imposed on the victims via mouse clicks, they nonetheless endure great bodily suffering because of it.

Never give anyone access to your photos or videos. We must also provide a safe environment for people who have been injured by this, in addition to a strong legal framework. We should keep our devices updated, password-protected, and secure instead. Whenever such an incident occurs, the victim should file a complaint right away so that the video or photo can be taken down from the internet as soon as possible. In India, all pornographic websites ought to be prohibited. To address such a heinous violation of human dignity, a comprehensive strategy must be developed that considers both the coercive force of law and non-legal redressal possibilities.

To provide victims of revenge porn with justice, their unalienable right to a dignified existence must be upheld. Personal autonomy and privacy are intrinsically tied to personhood; hence, they can’t be violated without repercussions or with approval in any conscious society, whether through image-based sexual assault or any other means.

The Supreme Court of India stated the following in K S Puttaswamy v. Union of India[xiii], "...Privacy postulates the reservation of a private space for the individual, defined as the right to be left alone. The idea is based on people's right to self-determination. The core of the human personality is the capacity for choice. The idea of privacy gives the individual the power to establish and manage the human aspect, which is inextricably linked to their personality. The capacity to make decisions on issues directly affecting human life exemplifies the indestructible essence of the human psyche. Individual autonomy is linked to topics that can be kept private. There is a valid expectation of privacy about these issues.

REFERENCES

1.     Revenge Pornography: A Socio-Legal Impacts, 

2.     Revenge Pornography, 

3.     Revenge Porn or Non-Consensual Pornography, 

4. Avanti Bose, Revenge Pornography: harms associated with it and options of redressal - iPleaders, IPleaders (Nov. 25, 2021),

6. Smith PK, Revenge Pornography: Mental Health Implications and Related Legislation, PubMed https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27644870/.  

7.  Har-Manpreet Kaur, Dimensions of Revenge Porn – Scaring People for Lives, Know Law (Dec. 17, 2021), https://knowlaw.in/index.php/2021/12/17/dimensions-of-revenge-porn-scaring-people-for-lives/.  

8. A Systematic Insight on the Concept of Revenge Pornography: and Protecting Laws, (June 8, 2021),

9. John R Vile, Revenge Pornography, The First Amendment Encyclopedia,

[i] John R Vile, Revenge Pornography, The First Amendment Encyclopaedia

[ii] Rachit Garg, Is watching porn a crime in India: an insight - iPleaders, IPleaders (Jan. 3, 2022), https://blog.ipleaders.in/is-watching-porn-a-crime-in-india-an-insight/.

[iii] Constitution of India,

[iv] Cyber Lawyer, Section 66E of Information Technology Act: Punishment for violation of privacy, (Sept. 16, 2014), https://www.itlaw.in/section-66e-punishment-for-violation-of-privacy/.

[v] Swati Deshpande, Content must be explicit to attract 67A of IT act says Bombay HC; grants pre-arrest bail to one man, Times of India (Jan. 8, 2021),

[vi] India Code: Section Details,

[viii] India Code: Section Details,

[ix] Section 509 IPC Archives, SCC Blog (Feb. 24, 2020),

[xii] Subhranshu Rout @ Gugul v the State of Odisha, Data Guidance (Sept. 20, 2021), https://www.dataguidance.com/legal-research/subhranshu-rout-gugul-v-state-odisha.

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