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Internet Users should thoroughly screen Personal Information shared Online to avoid being ‘Online Harassment’ Target: Report

Use strong passwords with a mix of different types of characters, including alphabets, numbers and special characters

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A person working on laptop (Representational image), Pixabay
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New Delhi, December 6, 2016: A day after the Supreme Court sought responses from three internet search engines on sharing videos related to sexual offences and cybercrime on Facebook, a Delhi-based law firm has formulated recommendations to help users avoid being a target of online abuse or harassment.

Besides increasing cases of sexual assault videos being uploaded online, there is also an increasing issue of people facing cyber abuse and harassment.

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In a new report, Software Freedom law Centre, a non-profit legal services organisation, said an internet user should thoroughly screen the personal information shared online.

“Be very careful about what personal information you make publicly available and refrain from providing any information apart from that which is absolutely essential for its purpose. Do not feel obligated to fill out all fields when registering online and avoid providing identifying information such as birth-date and place in required fields,” the report said.

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“Dedicate an email ID for social-media purposes that is dedicated solely for use while signing up and/or using social media services. Do not use this ID for personal communication purposes and avoid uploading photographs that identify you or your location,” it added.
Instead of using real given name, using a pseudonym maintains anonymity and keeps one safe. Also, keep a tab on information others post about you and if something concerns you about privacy, let your friends and family know about it.

“Use strong passwords with a mix of different types of characters, including alphabets, numbers and special characters and change them periodically. Also, review your service providers’ privacy policies,” the report added.

A bench of Justice Madan B. lokur and Justice Uday Umesh lalit on Monday sought responses from – Google India, Yahoo India, Microsoft Corporation (India) ltd. and Facebook — by January 9 on NGO Prajwala’s plea seeking a defined place where one could report such rape videos and seek their blocking.

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The court’s notices for response came during the course of hearing of a letter by Hyderabad-based non-governmental organisation Prajwala along with two rape videos. Two videos submitted in a pen drive showed a man raping a woman and another man filming it.

The NGO’s lawyer Aparna Bhat said videos of sexual offences are shot and posted online, and pleaded for court directions to them to take steps to curb cybercrime. (IANS)

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India Gets A Win, Supreme Court Decriminalizes Homosexuality

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

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Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

 In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.

In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional.

The bench said it is no longer an offence for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community to engage in consensual sex between two adults in private.

Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Misra said attitudes and mentality have to change to accept others’ identity and accept what they are, and not what they should be.

Homosexuality, India
LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow.
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“It is the constitutional and not social morality which will prevail,” said the court.

The verdict sparked celebrations in the LGBTIQ community across India even as the judgment was being read out. Many of the community members who had assembled outside the apex court jumped in joy and distributed sweets.

Chief Justice Misra said consensual sex between adults in a private space, which is not harmful to women or children, cannot be denied as it is a matter of individual choice.

Section 377 will not apply to consensual same-sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians, the court said, clarifying that sexual act without consent and bestiality will continue to be an offence under section 377.

“An individual has full liberty over his or her body and his or her sexual orientation is a matter of one’s choice,” said the Chief Justice.

“Time to bid adieu to prejudicial perceptions deeply ingrained in social mindset. Time to empower LGBTIQ community against discrimination. They should be allowed to make their choices,” he added.

Homosexuality, India
In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional. Pixabay

 

In a concurring judgement, Justice Nariman said homosexuality is “not a mental disorder or disease”.

He said the LGBTIQ community has an equal right to live with dignity and are entitled to equal protection of law. He directed the Centre to give wide publicity to this judgment to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality.

Justice Chandrachud said to deny the LGBTIQ community their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy.

“They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation… Sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens,” said Justice Chandrachud, adding “the state has no business to intrude on such matters”.

Justice Indu Malhotra said that history owes an apology to the LGBTIQ community for all that they have suffered on account of the ignorance of the majority about homosexuality.

“LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow,” she said.

Homosexuality, India
People Participated in Hundreds for the Gay Pride Parade Held In Delhi.

The Supreme Court verdict, which overruled its own earlier judgment, assumes significance as in the earlier round of litigation in 2013, the top court had reversed a Delhi High Court ruling decriminalising homosexuality.

The Delhi High Court bench, headed by then Chief Justice A.P. Shah, had in July 2009 legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults by overturning the 149-year-old law — finding it unconstitutional and a hurdle in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya in the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs Naz Foundation and others case, had set aside the high court’s judgment and said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

The matter was subsequently resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition was filed by members of the LGBTIQ community — dancer N.S. Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur — which was then marked to the Constitution Bench by a Division Bench.

Homosexuality, India
Gaydo, India’s first LGBTQ Radio Show

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The reference was made on the basis of submission that it was the first time that individuals directly affected by the provision were approaching the court.

Among the petitioners are a batch of current and former students of Indian Institutes of Technology. Claiming to represent more than 350 LGBTIQ alumni, students, staff and faculty from the IITs, the petitioners said that the existence of Section 377 had caused them “mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and relegated some of them to second-class citizenship”. (IANS)