Last week I aired my opinions on the negative aspects of social media, and its potential to be misused to harm someone’s reputation or professional interests. Unfortunately, since writing that post, I myself have been the victim of a serious cyber-crime via social media. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, so today’s blog post is my reply to the cowardly cyber bully trying to hurt me.
On Saturday, I received a phone call from a number unknown to me. A man spoke, asking if I’m Noor. Politely I replied in the affirmative, asking him the purpose of his call. He said he just chatted with me on a website called “StrangerMeetup.com”. I was shocked and it took me a while to understand what he was trying to say. When I finally caught on, I yelled at him saying I have never signed up for any such website and cut the call.
I immediately looked up the website and contacted their customer support to address this serious breach of my privacy. The man who had called me also sent me screenshots of the private chat he had with the person who was impersonating me and circulating my phone number online. Along with the phone number, this nasty impersonator was also sharing a picture of mine saved from Instagram, of which I have a public profile. Half an hour later, I received another phone call from a different man who claimed to have gotten my number from the same website. I cut the call and was very upset.
Quite shaken at first, I thought I would have to change my number, and I kept assessing the possibilities of who the culprit could be. It was evident that it was someone who seriously disliked me, wanted to harass me while hiding in the virtual world, and had access to my phone number. Through these deductions I have narrowed it down to 10 people, of which I am fairly certain the wrongdoer will read this post. I am not sharing my suspicions here till I have collected the proof, which I will have very soon. I am fairly sure that the person could be either a man or a woman.
The website responded to me soon after, reassuring me that they had taken requisite action and my number could no longer be shared on their platform. They will shortly be sending me the IP address where the chat took place which will be the proof I require. On my end, I have filed an FIR with the cyber-crime department of the Delhi Police, and all we need is the IP address to seriously tackle this heinous act.
As a lawyer, I am well-versed with my rights and I will follow up on this crime till it reaches its just conclusion. With a family of lawyers and large network in this field, I am fortunate to have access to resources that most people do not, and I will definitely use them to identify this cyber-criminal and punish them with jail imprisonment and a hefty cash fine, for this dastardly act. A breach of privacy is a serious offence in itself, but when it is done purely to hurt someone out of petty jealousy, then it must be seriously condemned. I shudder to think how other women deal with these horrible incidents, preferring to keep quiet in the face of cyber-bullying, instead of making it public.
Here’s where I need your help as my readers- please please please share this post. We must stand up to these spineless idiots who believe they can harass anyone on the internet. If you have had a similar experience, please share it in the comments, we all must learn from each other.
I’m going to sign off by saying this person probably thought they could scare me away with this silly tactic. They best believe they picked the wrong woman, and they will be getting it back much worse than they gave.
LEGAL PUNISHMENT FOR CYBER-BULLYING/ CYBER-STALKING IN INDIA:
- Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was meant to address this problem, but has been struck down by the Supreme Court of India.
- Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code: Whoever intending to insult the modesty of a woman, utters any word, makes any sound, or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine.
UPDATE OF THE SITUATION:
This blog post had been written to scare the culprit, but I was genuinely surprised when the person confessed outright after reading the post. He has been a follower of mine on Instagram for over a year, constantly reading my blog posts and admiring my work. He attended some events I was at and also invited me to a food festival he was working at, during the course of which he took my number.
I thought he was slightly creepy but harmless, and responded to his queries though never encouraged conversation in any way. Now that I have a written and signed confession from him, I have had to face the fact that the internet is a far more dangerous place than I imagined it to be. I thought I was dealing with someone who disliked me, but if in fact the person is someone who admired me and called me his ‘mentor’, then I have to re-think everything I know about this world.
His behaviour and strange confession make me feel that he is mentally ill, and his act, though awful, may not have had malicious intent. Hence I have decided not to pursue legal action at this point. The written and signed confession will be my safeguard. He has been blocked on every platform and if he continues to harass me, he is headed straight for jail.
I only hope that his parents get him medical attention and address this problem before it becomes worse. I can only advise you to NEVER TRUST ANYONE ON THE INTERNET.
That’s all I have to say, along with heartfelt thanks for the love and concern you have showered on me in the past two days.
*This is not a sponsored post.
**Copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla.