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70% of women facing cyber harassment are 15-25 years in age

  • Published at 10:00 pm September 24th, 2019
Cyber harassment
Speakers talking at a meeting organized by Article 19 on cyber harassment at Unnayan Shohajogy Team (UST) in Adabar, Dhaka on September 24, 2019 Courtesy

The information is based upon data from the cybercrime tribunal

In Dhaka, 70% of women who face cyber harassment fall between the age range of 15-25.

Most of these women are victims of sexual harassment, online hacking, cyber pornography, and blackmail.

The information was unveiled  on Tuesday at the discussion meeting, "Technology Mediated Violence Against Women in Bangladesh," organized by Article 19, an international freedom of speech organization. 

The meeting was at the auditorium of the Unnayan Shohajogy Team (UST) in Adabar, Dhaka. 

The discussion was presided over by Faruq Faisel, Bangladesh and South Asia Regional Director for Article 19. Mishuk Chakma, additional deputy commissioner of the Cyber Security and Crime Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, and Simum Reza Talukder, senior lecturer for the Department of Law, Brac University, and other  lawyers, were present as discussants.

In his speech, Mishuk Chakma said that out of every 100 women being cyber harassed, 70 are aged 15-25 years. 

Among the harassment allegations and cases that come to the country's only cybercrime tribunal, hacking covers 20% of the cases, fake IDs 20%, harassment and defamation 18%, cyber pornography 14%, financial fraud by mobile 14%, blackmail and extortion 7%, and terrorist activity 1%. Other allegations comprise the remaining 6% of cases, Mishuk said. 

"This scenario is only in Dhaka. The situation outside Dhaka is almost the same. However, most victims of online harassment do not go to the police station,’’ Mishuk added.

Stressing on the limitations faced during cybercrime investigations, Mishuk said police stations at the local level do not have adequate training on cyber issues. 

At present, initiatives are being taken to provide training on how to conduct a primary investigation into allegations of online harassment at all police levels.  

"Seeking information from Facebook authorities to investigate particular allegations is not easy," Mishuk said. "Besides, those who spread rumors and engage in crimes online from outside the country, are difficult to bring under the law."

He added: "It is not possible for the police alone to deal with cybercrime. This requires the collective efforts of the family, the private sector and the civil society."

He suggested participants contact Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cyberctdmp of the Cyber Security Department, and Help Desk (01769691522), to report online harassment.

Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua cautioned regarding the careful use of various technologies and apps in the interest of personal protection. He said the preamble to the Digital Security Act, begins with "ensuring security." But there is no provision of security under any section of the law. 

"Therefore, it is important to distinguish between professional and personal life on online platforms. Before legal protection, online users need to know the technical aspects of the technology well.’’ he said.

Other distinguished speakers also gave speeches at the discussion meeting. 

Journalists, online activists, human rights activists, and cultural activists from various districts of Bangladesh, participated in the event.

The daylong program discussed raising awareness of women in using technology, shared experiences, and identified barriers and the reasons for fear.  The program, addressed the issue of legal remedies to prevent online harassment, encouraged participants to take legal action, and to build easy communication channels with partner organizations to prevent online harassment.