Facebook abuse tops the cyber crime chart in Punjab

Prateek Walia

SAS Nagar, June 30 -- With a local resident earlier this month accusing his wife and son of threatening him online, Facebook abuse now tops the cyber crime chart in the state with 170 complaints lodged.

Thought to be breakthrough in bringing people closer, the social networking media, of late, is working the other way round. On June 17, a man in Sector 70 here filed a complaint against his estranged wife and son that they had tried to tarnish his image using Facebook.

On June 12, a woman's ex-husband was arrested in Phagwara on a charge of creating her fake profile on Facebook to post offensive comments. So revolutionary that it got into the hands of common man in no time, the online tool is fast becoming users' chosen medium of payback.

Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, deputy inspector general of police in the state cyber crime cell at Mohali, blames the spurt in cyber crime on the trend of constant status update. "Don't post every small detail online. Put in public domain only what is important," he said.

Revenge is easier when a Twitter jibe or a Facebook slur makes it instantaneous. "It is easy to get carried away by emotion when you have the option of fake identity," said Priyanka Lakhmani, chief marketing officer of a reputed software company in Mohali.

Inaaz Manshahia, a regular social media user, seconds Priyanka's views. "We can do it anonymously, with little fear of consequences," she said. "Online technology has made revenge acceptable and the thought of an increasingly networked world is chilling," she added.

"When you know there are no clear laws about what is offensive, the fear goes away," said social branding expert Sanatan Baweja.

Complaint box

Facebook abuse 170

e-mail hacking 87

Cyber porn 77

Credit card/ATM fraud 74

Mobile-phone abuse 53

Miscellaneous 42

Internet lottery 37

e-mail threats 31

Note: Police complaints data since 2011

Confession spree

Schoolchildren and college- and university-goers are getting hooked on to "confession pages" on Facebook, where visitors can post dirty secrets without revealing their identity. The message first goes to the page administrator, who leaves out the sender's name and marks the message for public view with a serial number alone.

IT Act

Section 66

Three-year imprisonment or fine of up to Rs. 2 lakh or both for abuse

Section 66-A

Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, devices

Section 66-B

Punishment for receiving stolen computer resource or communication device dishonestly

Note: Besides, violators can also be booked under the Indian Penal Code sections of fraud and cheating

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.