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Dhaka     Saturday   02 July 2022

Digital Bangladesh deserves secure cyberspace

Barrister Zahid Rahman || risingbd.com

Published: 11:22, 3 April 2022   Update: 11:31, 3 April 2022
Digital Bangladesh deserves secure cyberspace

Cyber bullying is one amongst the foremost widely used words in present time. In today's world of information technology, we are getting familiarised with new technologies as well as new words. Cyber bullying is a crime, which is committed by a group or individual to intentionally harass someone.

Cyber bullying has increased a lot due to modern technology devices and free access to social media. Social media allows us to integrate easily and quickly with everyone in the virtual world.

Parents have no control over their children's activities through social media. As a result, these social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and free messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber etc. platforms become popular for children and teenagers because they can easily use them without any kind of hassle and guidance.

People of all ages, especially women and children are victims of cyber crime on social media. Citing a survey conducted in several Asian countries, including Bangladesh, the BBC reports that the risk of harassment through social media is increasing at an alarming rate in these countries, with women and minors being the most harassed.

The government’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division said in a new survey, young girls usually post their pictures on facebook incessantly without ensuring the protection of their personal information and are easily harassed.

Because of the provision of internet and devices, the incidence of cyber harassment was twice as high in cities as in rural areas. 64% of urban girls and 33% of rural women are sexually harassed by receiving sexually explicit videos, messages and photos.

While our society is not yet victim-friendly, as a result when it comes to a woman's case, it is very commonly seen that the victim is accused and condemned. Whenever a personal image or information goes viral, most people focus on the activities and character of a victim rather than criminal and crime. Victims become frustrated and engage in various heinous acts. People become frustrated and at one stage choose the path of suicide to get rid of bullying.

Besides, elderly people in their families who fear for the family's reputation in society, prevent the victim from making allegations of harassment and demanding justice. Because in some cases during the prosecution, they were harassed by law enforcement. These incidents happen more often than our imagination because, sadly, these incidents are hidden for panic of further irritation or ridicule.

Cyber bullying is a serious crime. Raising awareness among children and young people at the individual level and from families and educational institutions, as well as to raise awareness about the relevant legal system.

Report to the Cyber Crime Investigation Division of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, Cyber Police Center, Hello City App, Rapid Action Battalion, call 999 if anyone is a victim of online violence and cyber harassment. Ministry of Women and Children's hotline number 10921, All types of help are protected directly and through counselling.

Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (ICT Act), The Pornography Control Act, 2012 (PC Act), and The Digital Security Act, 2018 (DS Act), victims of cyber harassment can use these laws in Bangladesh. Section 63 of the ICT Act guarantees imprisonment or fines or both for disclosing confidentiality.

Section 24 of the DS Act punishes and prohibits identity fraud, whereas Article 25 protects a person from transmitting or disclosing offensive, false or threatening information about them through any digital platform. Proper enforcement of these laws will ensure the safety of people entering digital platforms.

The tribunal observed an increasing number of cases from its inception to 2019. The number rose stepwise in the following years with 33 cases in 2014, 152 in 2015, 233 in 2016, 568 in 2017, 676 in 2018 and 721 in 2019. As of 15 December 2020, 622 cases had been filed.

Most cases have been filed against Facebook and other Internet platforms for uploading obscene pictures of women, hurting people's religious feelings, making offensive remarks about celebrities and various forms of online fraud.

To attend online classes, parents have bought mobile, laptop, and tabs for children and teenagers because of the educational institution closure. But instead of studying, students are wasting time on social platforms and entertainment. Nowadays social media has turned into an offender field by some sort of opportunists.

They are cheating people by using technology in several methods. They are spreading rumours by using social media to create one fake account after another, with photos and the identity of others. These cyber criminals mislead people by religiously provocative posts, baseless posts about political crises. Technology availability in society has led to the enhancement of juvenile gangs in the held couple of years.

Cyber bullying is a threat to society. In order to realise our dream of 'Digital Bangladesh', it is necessary to create secure cyberspace for everyone. We should make awareness among people at all levels about cyber bullying. To impede cyber bullying, there's no alternative instead of awareness at the societal, family and government levels.