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Online privacy and virtual reality

“Digital India” we all must have heard about this initiative by PM Narendra Modi which was launched in 2015, to improve online infrastructure, to connect people across the globe and for upgrading India to a whole new platform and to empower and develop the country in technical field. As the world is evolving, technology is the need of hour. Indeed technology has brought major changes in our lives, made it convenient and easy, it has also united us together as a whole, contributed for enhancement of knowledge and to ensure no one’s deprived from education, it has also increased job opportunities and encouraged entrepreneurship, led to transformation of the country by enhancing virtual infrastructure and creating different platforms, it also promotes education and awareness to masses and what not?

But, Have you ever thought? This revolutionary change, huge evolution of creating a whole new “Digital world” has it’s own pros and cons. Though it was started with a vision to empower the technical field in the country and also to establish e-governance for better functioning such as better growth, providing facilities to public, detection of black economy, etc. But as people nowadays prefer internet for their every sort of work and rely on technology. This makes it important to note that whether people and their data is safe and protected under the law or not. So can you trust these platforms? Are they really secured and safe to use? Can you rely on them? If you haven’t questioned this to yourself, then you must do it.

Online platforms or digital platforms have the complete access to your personal data, financial information, confidential and professional database. Right from one’s private information like their browsing history, watch history, their activities to one’s professional work reports, emails, etc. It has access to every sort of work you do on your gadgets, be it a mobile phone, a laptop, iPad or a computer. Which means your digital privacy is on risk. Nothing’s free, the services you are using actually functions for some sort of reason. Right from your favorite apps to your Gmail, Google and so on has your complete database (a record of your activities) which is handled by their respective companies under their protection and authority. Hence, that makes online privacy an important part of the digital world, as it contains your information which is gathered by a company who might share it. You might have no idea but there’s an authority always keeping eye on you, noting your activities. Any sort of illegal activities are detected by the cyber team.

Though there are strict laws to safeguard one’s rights and protect their data under Information Technology Act and Data Privacy and protection Act, but still for security purposes your data may be used in investigations. Your IP address, gadgets information, your location, everything is easy to track. There are certain chances of cyber crimes as well, such as identity theft, committing fraud, misrepresentation, fake IDs, pornography purposes, malware, scams, cyberbullying, online harassment, cyber stalking, hacking, illegal content, violation of data privacy by third party access and so on. This makes it even important to have strict cyber security and privacy policies, laws, regulations against online offences to protect the general public and safeguard their rights.

Virtual platforms are key to connect with anyone, anywhere in this world. We meet people all across the globe through a single screen. Isn’t this amazing?! But have you ever thought about the reality behind the aesthetics of the technology? We might see what we are supposed to see, we might listen what we are offered to listen but no one knows the reality. Virtual platforms are just like an ocean, which has a whole new universe in it. No doubt technology has made our lives easier, convenient and better but every good thing has some consequences. Similarly, virtual platforms have offered various ways to communicate with people, to gain knowledge by accessing huge contents, to understand and research anything in depth, to analyze growth and development, to promote skills and talents to masses and what not?

But with this it has also risked our data, our social identity, a person’s dignity and honor, personal and professional relationships, and above all one’s valuable life. People literally end their life when someone ruin their social identity, this trauma is beyond one’s control. Crimes against women cause mental torture to them. Defamation is also a major crime. A person’s whole identity get’s destroyed within a moment. A woman’s dignity, her pride get ruined by someone within a minute. These virtual crimes aren’t a joke, it is serious matter that eventually destroy one’s life. It is too dangerous to even post a picture online, it may be used for pornographic means or anyone can steal it to Photoshop and misuse. We might think turning on security in apps will work but a criminal has thousands way to execute his plan, anyone among your known persons may also betray you. One should be aware and prepared for everything. If by any chance you get stuck and someone try to blackmail you or threatens you, kindly take necessary actions against them. It is not about just one person’s life, such offences may also take place with other people if you’ll step back. Be active, be social but have concern about your life. Don’t just simply trust every stranger you meet. Nowadays hacking phone or any account is not a big deal for even a beginner. Beware of such persons as well applications you use. Do not allow unnecessary access to them at any cost. There are certain apps like gaming apps, beauty cams, etc. Which may ask permissions for storage and contacts and other things. Do not ever allow unnecessary access to them. Have you ever thought why would a gaming app require access to your gallery? Or a beauty cam needs to know your contacts. Well the point over here is to beware. Do not permit unnecessary access as they may steal your private data, your pictures.

Our social life and the digital world we live in affects each and every aspect of our life. Sometimes it becomes much more important than our real lives. We as humans are losing the balance between virtual and physical life and are becoming more dependent upon the virtual one. Nowadays people are being part of the digital reality more often, leaving behind the actual reality in darkness. People often care too much about their virtual life status, which leads criminals to take advantage of their fear. For example live updates and sharing every single information about one’s life sometimes turns against them as used to execute serious crimes like kidnapping or to click Private pictures or photo shop them and use for blackmailing purposes.

In this evolving society, people prefer easy ways to get things done. They avoid the hustle as much as they can. It might sound bitter but this is truth. Technology evolved to make lives better but not to rely on them completely, people sometimes forget the importance of doing their work by themselves. A tiny negligent act can attract too many negative consequences. For instance cashless Net Banking payments was introduced with a better vision. These modes of payments reduce manual efforts rather visiting a bank and wait in queue for hours a person can make his payments within few minutes. Indeed this facility reduced workload and manual efforts to a great extent and is helpful in many ways such as the fear of carrying cash is no more a threat to anyone’s life. Snatching cases can be avoided, funds security is no longer a Major concern as physical cash is not available because virtual wallets carry our money safely and transferring money to anyone, at any place is no longer a hectic process. It also helps in convenient shopping methods, entertainment purposes, etc. But not everyone in this world are techno savvy, right? Thus, it also has demerits wherein looting money by false representation, fraud, scams, causing huge financial losses in Net Banking or hacking confidential data are the general consequences faced by public. This can be a scenario with anyone irrespective of their literacy, many literate people get trapped into this.

We all must have heard about reselling platforms for machineries, gadgets, clothes and so on. While using any of these platforms make sure you do not give your any important information earlier. You must have seen job opportunity posts, reselling of automobiles or gadgets at really low cost, etc. Mostly they are all fake advertisements just to trap clients. Do not get caught in such trap. People might also hack your shopping data and call you, misrepresenting themselves they might have ask for your personal or bank details to avail gift vouchers, luckily coupons or sometimes even gold. It is no big deal to tell you the accurate information of what you purchased and then loot your money. Always cross check before you take any action and register complaints against such crimes if it happens with either you or your family. People often don’t care to be responsible citizens and take required actions against such criminal offences. Do not repeat this mistake, it may get even worse with time and someone may lose their hard earned money.

“Anything beyond limits is dangerous” this quotes seems to be true. Using gadgets too much can harm one’s life anyway, such as it adversely affect one’s health. Nowadays, traumatic situations arise due to misusage of social media and online platforms. Which may mislead an innocent life and ruin their future, by committing online offences. It can even cause various addictions that let people commit crimes to survive mainly this may include game addictions – nowadays people invest their money in games and sometimes they lose their everything, for example the most loved pubg game case in which a child lost lakhs of money without informing his parents. Also addictions like porn negatively influence young minds and knowingly/unknowingly they get indulged into heinous offences. People are losing emotional connections and meaning of relationships in real life and rely more on gadgets for their problems, they start living with completely messed routine and no motto or purpose in their life, this mentality is often used against them by criminals. Depressed people often get trapped as it’s easy to manipulate them and play with someone’s emotions. To elaborate this point we can consider the most common example of social media, wherein strangers find such people and get them attached, fool them and eventually run out of their lives. Online love traps and dating stuff is a common example and problem everywhere, specially among youth of young age. Increasing numbers in forgery, plagiarism and intellectual property thefts are become another problem to combat. Our government had ensured to protect public from these crimes by implementing various Acts and regulations such as IPR – Copyright Act, Trademarks Act, Patent Acts, Design Act, etc. There are strict provisions for people who are indulged in aiding or funding any illegal racket who export anyone’s Intellectual property like plans or work like paintings, manuscript, etc.

IT department and cyber security work to detect other illegal rackets as well which might be running online. As these cases became common now, specially for kidnapping/abduction, drug trafficking, organ trafficking, human trafficking or trafficking for sexual conducts, running illegal businesses online, funding terrorism or aiding criminals, etc. Any Unlawful, threatening activities against state or country is also monitored by cyber security cell. As technological sectors are developing rapidly. Cyber securities are must, to ensure safety, security and protection of everyone and also to combat and prevent crimes.

Now if we talk about how technology impacts on education, it is evident that virtual platforms have unlocked numerous resources for research and educational purposes. It is a great platform to gain knowledge about anything but at the same time online mode based teachings does not inculcate practical knowledge or imbibe students with values and skills. Students are giving up on their capabilities, depression rates are increasing among youngsters, skills, values and intellectual growth of a person has slow downed to some extent. Tender age kids are engaged into gadgets completely, which is affecting their brain. Online examinations is a helping hand for people with no seriousness, they cheat and get good marks whereas a serious kid study hard to gain his dream percentage. Fair examinations cannot be conducted online, there are lot barriers.

Virtual platforms and technology has opened a door leading both good and bad world. This is a huge platform to gain knowledge, to connect people, to develop, it is overloaded with immense data and information, it has access to many electronic resources, it promotes awareness and connect people from different localities within a moment. At one hand this is really resourceful and on the other hand it is more destructive and a threat to both life and property. The choice is clearly dependent on what a person really wants. There should be more strict provisions to ensure the usage of technology.

Crimes like cyberbullying, online harassment, cyber stalking, online death or rape threats, etc. are really common nowadays. Photo shopping one’s picture and uploading it anywhere, posting someone’s personal details or contact information, creating fake IDs and stealing pictures from other’s ID. These are some basic offences people combat often. These issues are increasing day by day and getting worse. Bullying someone for their looks, work, body shaming, encouraging racism, sexism, etc., is completely unlawful and unethical. Interference in one’s privacy or torturing them mentally on any social media, stalking either their activities or them on both online and offline platforms is illegal in the eyes of law. There are strict provisions against such offences of cyber crimes. Specially for threatening someone of defamation, force, blackmailing, death or rape threats, etc. Using anyone’s identity for any pornographic means also attracts strict legal actions. Any violation of anyone’s right or committing any type of harassment against them will lead to strict punishment under Indian penal code and criminal procedure code.

Muskan karmajit singh

BBALLB 1 year student at DES Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune, Maharashtra

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