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Revenge Porn by Teens in the United States and India: A Socio-Legal Analysis

  • Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar
Summary
Summary

Sexting among teens has become a huge problem in the US as well as in India. This has given birth to numerous issues including issues related to child pornography, exploitation of images by perpetrators and revenge porn. While in the US laws are being created and tested for regulating sexting in relation to revenge porn, the situation is quite different in India. This paper emphasises that there is a lacuna in dealing with adolescent sexual behaviour including revenge taking attitude with the help of sexted images. This paper argues that instead of dealing the issue of revenge porn by teens in the traditional procedural ways as has been laid down in the legal provisions or by way of rusticating the children (including the perpetrators and the victim) from the school as has happened in India in several occasions, Therapeutic Jurisprudence approach should be taken up.

Résumé

La textopornographie entre adolescents est devenue un énorme problème tant aux Etats-Unis qu'en Inde. De nombreuses questions se sont posées à propos de la pédopornographie, de l'exploitation d'images par les auteurs, et de la pornographie de représailles. Tandis qu'aux Etats-Unis on expérimente des législations censées réguler la textopornographie de vengeance, la situation est très différente en Inde. Le présent article met en relief la lacune qui existe dans la manière de gérer le comportement sexuel des adolescents, y compris l'attitude de revanche à l'aide d'images communiquées par SMS. Les auteurs du présent article considèrent que plutôt que de faire appel aux voies traditionnelles de procédure ou d’éloignement de l’école des enfants auteurs ou victimes, comme cela a souvent été le cas en Inde, le choix devrait être fait d'une approche “thérapeutique” du droit, c'est-à-dire d'une pratique du droit prudente, soucieuse de ses effets psychologiques.

Resumen

El sexting entre adolescentes se ha convertido en un enorme problema, tanto en los Estados Unidos como en la India. Ello ha dado lugar a numerosas cuestiones, entre ellas, las relacionadas con la pornografía infantil, la explotación de imágenes por los autores y la pornografía de represalias. Mientras que los Estados Unidos han adoptado legislaciones destinadas a regular el sexting de venganza, la situación es muy diferente en India. Este artículo pone de relieve la laguna que existe en la manera de gestionar el comportamiento sexual de los adolescentes, incluyendo la actitud de venganza utilizando imágenes obtenidas por SMS. Los autores del presente artículo consideran que en lugar de utilizar las vías tradicionales de procedimiento o de expulsión de la escuela de los niños autores o víctimas, como ha sido a menudo el caso en la India, debería llevarse a cabo un planteamiento “terapéutico” de la ley, es decir, una práctica del derecho prudente, preocupada por los efectos psicológicos que puede provocar su aplicación.

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References
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3 Thomas Liz, “Quarter of under-13s signed up to social networking sites despite age restrictions,” published on March 27, 2010 in Mail Online. Available @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1260993/Quarter-13s-signed-social-networking-sites.html. Accessed on 19.10.11

4 Id.

5 Halder Debarati, &Jaishankar Karuppannan “Cyber Gender Harassment and Secondary Victimization: A Comparative Analysis of the United States, the UK, and India,” Victims & Offenders, 6:4, 386398. (2011):

6 Sexting is self photographing nude body or body parts and sending to others, as well texting obscene words to known persons (in most cases) using mobile phone. K. Jaishankar “Sexting: A new form of victimless crime.” International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 3(1), January 2009, 21-25. (2009).

7 NewYork vs. Ferber (458 U. S. 747 (1982)

8 See Daily Mail Reporter, Boy of 14 accused of child pornography after convincing girl his age to send him sex text. Published in Mail Online, on 6th March 2011. Available @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363445/Sexting-case-asks-14-year-old-child-pornogragher.html

9 See pgs 24, 27, 32, 42, 47, 48 in Debarati Halder and Jaishankar Karuppannan “Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations”. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9 (2011); also see Mary Anne Franks, “Unwilling Avatars: Idealism and Discrimination in Cyberspace.” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 20, p. 224, (2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1374533; Ann Bartow, «Pornography, Coercion, and Copyright Law 2.0» Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law 10.4: 101-142. (2008). Available @ http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=ann_bartow

10 See Facebook rules regarding safety, available @ https://www.facebook.com/terms.php

12 See Bartow Ann, “Pornography, Coercion, and Copyright Law 2.0Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law 10.4: 101142. (2008). Available @ http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=ann_bartow

13 George Carlisle E. and Scerri Jackie, Web 2.0 and User-Generated Content: Legal Challenges in the New Frontier. Journal of Information, Law and Technology, Vol. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1290715

14 See the Facebook terms on Safety @ https://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf Also see Justin, You Received a “Sext,” Now What? Advice for Teens, February 22, 2011, http://cyberbullying.us/blog/you-received-a-sext-now-what-advice-for-teens.html

16 See in general Digital Media Law Project, Immunity for online publishers under the Communication Decency Act. Available @ http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/immunity-online-publishers-under-communications-decency-act

17 Section 512 to the Copyright Act was added by Title II of The Digital Millennium Copy right Act, 1998 to create four limitations on liability for copyright infringement by online service providers on four categories of conduct by a service provider. For more, see http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf

18 See Id @ 10

19 See pg 491 in Leary Mary, “Sexting or Self-Produced Child Pornography? The Dialogue Continues – Structured Prosecutorial Discretion within a Multidisciplinary Response.” Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 2010; CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-31. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1657007

20 Halder Debarati, &Jaishankar Karuppannan. “Sexting among Teens: An analysis on the Questions of Legalities and Illegalities.” Unpublished paper in the personal file.

21 Miller vs. California, 413 U. S. 15 (1973)

22 Mortez Haynes Antonio. “The Age of Consent: When is Sexting No Longer Speech Incident to Criminal ActivityCornell Law Review, Vol. 97, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1744648

23 Julia Halloran McLaughlin. “Crime and Punishment: Teen Sexting in Context”, (2010). Available at: http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=julia_mclaughlin

24 Id @ 18

25 Id.

26 Id.

28 Tom SR Hester. “N. J. law makes juvenile ‘sexting’ an educational issue, not a crime”. NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM on 27th September, 2011. http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/nj-law-makes-juvenile-sexting-an-educational-issue-not-a-crime

29 See SENATE, No.2700,State of New Jersey 214th Legislature, introduced February 17, 2011. Available @ http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S3000/2700_Il.HTM

30 By the term “innocence” we aim to denote the absence of prior knowledge of future harm of the sender.

31 See Id @ 6

32 Id @18

33 See Id @ 21

34 See TIMES INTERNET NETWORK Confusion prevails over tackling cyber crime, May 22, 2001 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Confusion-prevails-over-tackling-cyber-crime/articleshow/409953300.cms

35 This provision stated that “Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.” The adjacent part pf the provision prescribed punishment which would be imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees. However, the Information Technology Act was subsequently amended and the amended version came into life in the later part of 2009. The amended version deals with child pornography under section 67B. The Act can be found in http://www.cyberpolicebangalore.nic.in/pdf/it_amendment_act2008.pdf

36 This was suggested by one anonymous individual who made a comment to the lead author's blog “Be aware of online mischief mongers”, can be found @ http://debaraticy-berspace.blogspot.com/2011/10/be-aware-of-online-mischief-mongers.html#comments.

37 We have discussed about the issue of sex education in schools in India in the later part of this paper.

38 From the personal experiences as Directors of the Centre for Cyber victim Counseling (www.cybervictims.org), we have seen that this tendency is growing among the Indian teens.

39 Express News Service “Sex scandal: Boy who shot MMS clip held”. Express India. December 19,2004. Available @ http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=39787

40 Basharat Peer, Student accused in porn website case secures Bail. Published on April 30,2001 in http://www.rediff.com/news/2001/apr/30porn.htm

41 Presently Juvenile court is substituted by Juvenile Justice Board after coming into effect of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. for more details see http://delhicourts.nic.in/JUVENILE_JUSTICE_BOARD.htm

42 These comments were published in the news report that covered the hearing. See Id @ 37

43 Section 292 (2), Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and, in the event of a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and also with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees.

44 Sections 294 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, prescribe punishment with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

45 See Avinash Bajaj v. State, available @ http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/309722/

46 See DPS MMS scandal: SC stays proceedings against eBay, its chief, Press Trust Of India / New Delhi August 26, 2008, http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/dps-mms-scandal-sc-stays-proceedings-against-ebay-its-chief/332573/

47 The Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, which was subsequently amended in 2006, divided the category of children that could fall under two heads; namely, “children in conflict with law”, which is dealt by chapter II of the Act, and “children in need of care and protection”, which is dealt by Chapter III of the Act. Chapter II does not clarify separately as how the juvenile offender charged with offences under Indian Information Technology Act, can be dealt with. The chapter however highlights the treatment of juvenile victims who may have been abused by adults by way of engaging the child for begging, employing the child for hazardous work, withholding the child's earnings etc, or by negligence, abundance, or by giving intoxicating objects or psychotropic substances etc, and the punishment of the adults who do these.

48 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (No. 4 Of 2006), The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (No. 35 of 2009) are the glaring examples.

49 This point will be elaborated later.

50 Right to life has been guaranteed vide Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which states “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

51 Kharak Singh vs. State of UP ((1964) 1 SCR 332)

52 See Vinod Kaushik & another vs. Madhvika Joshi & Others, Appeal no. 2 of 2010, CDJ,2011,Cyber At001, Retrieved from http://catindia.gov.in/pdfFiles/Appeal_No_2.pdf on 23.10.2011. Even though this present case does not primarily emphasize on right to privacy in the digital space, it has highlighted the privacy factor through hacking and related issues.

53 Which may include masturbation, viewing adult porn sites, adult movies, reading adult sex stories etc.

54 See Halder & Jaishankar 2011, pg 5 & 6.

55 See additional terms of service for Orkut, available @ http://www.orkut.co.in/html/en-US/additionalterms.orkut.html, Registration and account security for Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf

56 Special correspondent, “Karnataka bans mobiles for those under 16s”, September, 12, 2007. Available @ http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/12/stories/2007091262261200.htm

57 Agencies, “Mobile phones banned in schools in Maha”, Feb 21, 2009 Available @ http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Mobile-phones-banned-in-schools-in-Maha/426462/

58 PTI, “Gujarat government bans mobile phones in schools, colleges”. August, 2, 2010 Available @ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-08-02/india/28287399_1_mobile-phones-colleges-gujarat-govemment

59 See CBSE circular of 2009 “Restriction in the use of Mobile Phones in Schools.” Available @ http://cbse.nic.in/welcome.htm

60 See Id @ 17

61 See S. 67B of the Information Technology Act,2000(amended in 2008), available in http://www.cyberpolicebangalore.nic.in/pdf/it_amendment_act2008.pdf

62 See S.11(ii) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

63 See S.11(iii), Id.

64 See S.11(v) Id.

65 We had received this message on my Facebook wall in mid October, 2011 which was hugely shared by others.

66 Id @ 21

67 Id

68 Bruce J Winick “Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Victims of Crime. Victim Participation In Justice: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Perspective”, (2008), Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1102350

69 Wexler David. B. (2003), Judging in a Therapeutic Key, Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Courts, edited by Winick Bruce J. and Wexler David B., (Carolina Academic Press, Durham North Carolina, 2003) p 7.

70 Id @ 21

71 Day Terri R.The New Digitial Dating Behavior - Sexting: Teens’ Explicit Love Letters: Criminal Justice or Civil Liability”, (2010). Available @ http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=terri_day

72 Karuppannan Jaishankar & Kannan C.Abuse of Children during discipline practices: A Victimological Analysis.” Indian Journal of Human Rights and Justice. Volume 1, Issue 2, 2006. Pages 115.

73 Mungan Murat C.Don't Say You're Sorry Unless You Mean it”. FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 546. (2011), Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1917073

74 Id @ 69

75 Celizic Mike. “Her teen committed suicide over ‘sexting’”, Published in ToDay Parenting on 3rd June. Available @ http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29546030/ns/today-parenting/t/her-teen-committed-suicide-over-sexting/#.TrkzSfTDXjM

76 Id @ 66

77 Reuters, “Do we need sex education in schools?” 30th April 2009, Available @ http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2009/04/30/do-we-need-sex-education-in-schools

78 Chaturvedi DarshanSchools, students keen on studying sex education”. July 5, 2010 Published in http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-07-05/vadodara/28298671_1_school-teachers-education-administrators

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