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What laws are available if someone posts your picture for social harassment?

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It is a common practice these days where people find a very quick way of social harassment spreading their pictures on the internet without their knowledge. It may be any social media application or social media website – in short, any information system. The main intention of doing this is to blackmail, harass, degrade, molest and even defame any person by alleged means; which is clearly a CRIME. In this regard, I have designed this blog in which we are going to cover all nitty-gritty details regarding available laws against harassing through pictures.
So! Let’s dig into details.

Basics

The story is basically twofold. If someone has your pictures and forwarding it through any information system then there come two edges. The pictures may be sexually explicit and common pictures that are fabricated into indecent and distress content.

Blackmailing Through Decent Pictures

If a person is blackmailing or demanding any false commitment from someone by using mere decent pictures then it is also a crime.

PECA Section 20 is applicable on it which specifies 3 years imprisonment or 1 million rupees fine or both, depending upon the scenario. There are many cases in which the accused was sent to jail for uploading such pictures without any authorization of complainant to defame their image.

In Sub-Section 20(2), if the crime is done to any child under 18 then there is the punishment of 5 years imprisonment or 5 million rupees fine or both – depending upon the case. It clearly shows that Law has given more protection for children than adult victims.

Blackmailing Through Indecent Pictures

Now talking about harassment through sexually explicit pictures for many immoral purposes. PECA Section 21 applies in such cases. The punishment for it is 5 years imprisonment or 5 million rupees fine or both.
There is a case registered under Section 21 against a DIG who posted sexually explicit pictures of his ex-wife which were against her modesty. The DIG was suspended and the case is now under court proceedings. This case shows that even a DIG could get arrested in such a case then how can a common person protects oneself by doing these immoral acts.

Cyber Crime Jurisdiction

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Many people mistakenly think that cybercrime works for harassment cases through Facebook only. Harassment through any social media site, blog site, and social media app comes under Sections 20 and 21. There is segregation in between these two sections where section 21 is applicable for using objectionable pictures and 20 for using decent pictures. There is another technical point for the child harassment cases giving more protection to the victims under 18.

How to avoid these situations?

Let’s just suppose, if you get your pictures which are fabricated then firstly contact that person and told him/her that is a crime whatever you’re doing. Show him/her all available sections and punishment under each case to beware the suspect. Try to communicate the person and inform that I can report against that – which surely you should do if suspect persists – insist to remove all stuff and deactivate the account. That should be a strong message to alert the criminal. But first, give the person some time to remove all inappropriate content and close the matter.

If a criminal is not removing the content then you should copy the profile URL, screenshot all conversation and uploaded content and draft a legal complaint through NR3C complaint desk which then sends to Project Director, Deputy Director and takes proof by checking the site. If you do not know that person then a dossier will send to the social media authority by FIA which will detect the profile and arrest the criminal. These cases are nonbailable as there are direct orders by High Court.

Crime in Pakistan

I believe that this crime is happening all over in Pakistan but not getting registered. Many people told me that we have forwarded the complaint but FIA is not pursuing the case. We should realize the situation that FIA has fewer resources. They do have a very talented and professional team but besides this, they have scarce resources. For instance, there are 1000 complaints in all over Punjab region for which they have only 5-6 people. Here you can imagine the burden on a single person. In this situation, they pursue the case of the interested complainants only.

Take an Action

Your self-esteem is priceless and never take that for granted. If any person is targeting your self-respect which is of the utmost importance to gain in a long time then never let it go. Take prime action against it and set an example. In this way, no one can never do such things against you. Just remember, you have to pursue the matter forward by all your means and get in touch with the cyber crime team or else they cannot help you regardless of your interest.

Attention Please!

If intentionally or even unintentionally you are doing such things to defame someone by allegedly using someone’s pictures then please stop doing this right now. It would definitely be difficult for any lawyer to protect you. All they can do is to lessen the punishment but you can never run from the sentence away. As forensic reports always reveal the true side showing all the content from your cell, laptop, profile activities and other pieces of evidence.

Even if you deny doing such things or even if you do not know that this is a crime, still you can never set yourself free from punishment. In such cases, if criminals don’t know the intensity of crime then court usually order less punishment but never set him free.

FAQ’s

How can we complain about someone who has your photos and blackmails you?
In most common cases, people usually have pictures of females to harass them. First and foremost, you definitely have to file a case against that person with all the evidence showing your pictures uploaded by that person. It is advised to prepare the complaint by a legal expert and forward it to FIA.

My complaint status is not showing instead asking to submit in-person?

Well, definitely you’ve to file the complaint in-person. FIA station is opening in Rawalpindi as well (H# 01 Lane# 01 Near Attock Petrol Pump Airport Service Road Fazal Town Rawalpindi) – besides Iqbal Town Islamabad – where you can submit your complaint. You can also forward your complaint through the NR3C helpdesk website. As the FIA system has fewer resources and they check the interest of group mates in this matter so I would impose to pursue the matter by yourself.

What to do if female blackmails another female by manipulating pictures?

In the Cybercrime Act, there is no discrimination for the criminals doing such distressing acts. If a female is posting inappropriate pictures of someone – either original or fake – then she is committing crime and victim can definitely file a harassment case against her. If any woman harasses another woman by fabricating her pictures then Section 21 is applied on it stating 5 years imprisonment and 5 million rupees fine or both, depending on severity.

What is Section 21?

It states that if you upload, transmit or allegedly use someone’s pictures either original or fabricated – primarily obnoxious ones – on any social media platform where there is digital public; then 5 years imprisonment, 5 million rupees fine or both shall be applicable.

We want to help you!

In this distress and crucial time people do not rely on anyone and always seem others as an opponent. But we are here to help all those who are facing these troubles and are not finding any way to get their selves free.

This informative session is for the interest and information seekers. Please do not shy to share any problem with us as the answer will solve many others’ problem. Get in touch to resolve more ambiguities. We assure you, we will do our best to give you relief.

Till then raise the awareness. 

About the author

Zeeshan Riaz

Mr. CH. Zeeshan Riaz is the founder of The CyberForm. Prior to starting the firm, he was working as IT Operations Director at a Multinational Company. He has been working in the IT sector Since 2010.

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