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Unveiling The Shadows: Exploring Cybercrime And Cyber Pornography In The Global Era

In this era, when technology is turning this whole world into a global village making the world witness a proliferation of cybercrime and the dissemination of explicit content through the cyberspace, this paper dives deep into the complex nature of cybercrime and cyber pornography, aiming to show how they are connected and their global consequences having special focus on India.
 Being situated in the broader perspective of cybercrime this paper narrows down into the dark secrets of the porn industry and studies about the global implications of the industry. The study mainly deals with pornography, which with the growing use of internet is spreading like wildfire, having its impact not only on the societal values but also on the minds and lives of the individuals.

By connecting the dots between cybercrime and cyber pornography in today's global context, this paper intends to offer a complete grasp of these issues and how they affect people, communities, and the world at large. With a goal to shine light on these online problems so we can all understand them better, the paper emphasizes the importance on creating rules to effectively handle these problems and protect the digital world.

In today's world, computers and the internet play a crucial role in lifestyle of the people by acting as a mode of communication, knowledge, entertainment, business, online shopping and what not. These offer many other benefits, and the society relies on them to function effectively. The phenomena of globalization as it is rightly said has made the world a global village and the cyberspace plays a dominant role in it. Imagining a world today without it probably seems impossible.

However, with the technological advancement opening up countless opportunities, it has also given rise to some dark aspects of the digital world. Cybercrime and cyber pornography represent two significant and urgent challenges in our interconnected world. They transcend national borders and carry severe consequences for individuals, businesses, and governments alike.

Cybercrime encompasses a wide spectrum of illegal activities conducted through the internet or computers. It covers various actions, including hacking, identity theft, fraudulent schemes, and online harassment. Cyber pornography, on the other hand, involves the creation, sharing, or possession of explicit content featuring minors.

The global nature of the internet exacerbates both cybercrime and cyber pornography. Perpetrators can easily operate from anywhere on the planet, targeting victims in different countries. This global reach makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies to investigate the crimes and carrying on the trial processes.

Technology, making our works easier they also make us susceptible to the adversities of the cyber world. With various temptations and fears it makes us fall into the traps of the Criminal world. the temptations and the fears may be in any form that is moral, physical or economical. Falling into the traps, many individuals become either victims to such crimes or they become criminals themselves for some gains.

However, cybercrime lacks an exclusive definition yet a modest definition of cybercrime would be "unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a technique or a target or both" (Dutt, 2013). Cybercrime is a broader term which includes many offences under its ambit. Starting from financial crimes to bodily crimes to property crime it includes everything under it. Just a difference which can be marked is the involvement of cyberspace. These crimes know no borders and can target anyone with an internet connection.

The impact of cybercrime is profound, causing financial loss, emotional distress, and even putting our personal information at risk. It's a battle that governments, organizations, and individuals must wage collectively to protect our digital lives. In this paper the bodily crime of pornography over the cyberspace is emphasized. Though pornography in itself is not a crime but it has certain restricted forms which are considered crime.

Pornography is such a word, which is not new to the society. However, it hints at a concerning situation which we may not be aware or are being silent even if aware. The term "pornography" comes from "porneia", the Greek word for prostitute, and means "the writings of and about prostitutes". Defining the type of material that qualifies as pornography is more difficult. It is a relative term, subject to interpretation based on people's opinions.

While the idea of pornography can vary based on what's in it, in the legal world, it's often referred to as "obscenity." Pornography usually includes explicit videos, pictures, and sexual content that is indecent in nature. In the past, pornography was limited in what it covered, but with the internet and faster data, it expanded its reach and became more extensive.

Cyber Pornography
Advancements in technology have made it easier for obscene content to spread. Nowadays, explicit material is easily found on the internet, making it very accessible to everyone and usually for free. The term cyber pornography seems to be self-explanatory and basically means the development, distribution and propagation of pornographic acts over the cyber space (Samant, 2023).

Before the internet, pornography was mostly found in books, art, and other traditional forms. However, with the rise of the internet and cyberspace, cyber pornography has become the dominant way people access and share explicit material. It's now easily available online and have been widespread ever since.

This easy access has raised concerns because it can be seen by anyone, including young people who shouldn't be exposed to such content. That's why there are laws and efforts to regulate and control cyber pornography, to keep the internet a safe place for everyone, especially children.

However, these laws seem to fail in the present world and it's challenging to control because the internet is vast and constantly changing. Some websites and individuals find ways to avoid these regulations. This continues to be a concern because cyber pornography can have negative effects on society, especially on young people.

Child Pornography
"Unfortunately, we've also seen a historic rise in the distribution of child pornography, in the number of images being shared online, and in the level of violence associated with child exploitation and sexual abuse crimes. Tragically, the only place we've seen a decrease is in the age of victims. This is, quite simply - unacceptable."

- Former Attorney General of United States Eric Holder Jr. at the National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation in San Jose, California, May 19, 2011.

Pornography is not a new issue or challenge to any society or country but however its growing distribution with the growth of cyber world is impacting the society at large. Adding to that is the impact of the growing number of sexual exploitation materials of children which directly or indirectly promotes child sexual abuse and child trafficking. Though the other form of pornography which have adults working in it are completely allowed or allowed with certain restrictions in certain countries however most of the countries regulate and put restriction on child pornography.

Numerous viewers are drawn into pornographic content, initially starting with materials involving adults but gradually becoming desensitized. This leads them to search for images and videos featuring progressively younger individuals, with some eventually seeking content involving teenagers or even children (Hawkins, 2020). The child porn sharing is going on increasing day by day as internet is advancing in the number of users.

And there are very less chances that once something is shared on internet it will be ever removed. It may be brought down by the intervention of the authorities but at a later part it will be again uploaded by some other users who have downloaded it previously. Popular porn website like 'Pornhub' which works under the aegis of the Canada Government facilitates such activities to make money out of it.

It garners a staggering 3.5 billion monthly visits, surpassing the likes of Netflix, Yahoo, or Amazon. Pornhub generates substantial revenue from nearly three billion daily ad impressions. According to one ranking, it holds the 10th position among the world's most frequented websites (Kristof, 2020).

Talking to the New York Times a victim of such offence says that "Pornhub became my trafficker," she says she was adopted in the United States from China and then trafficked by her adoptive family and forced to appear in pornographic videos beginning when she was 9. Some videos of her being abused ended up on Pornhub and regularly reappear there, she said. "I'm still getting sold, even though I'm five years out of that life," she said. Now 23, she is studying in a university and aspiring to become a lawyer � but those old videos still hang over her. (Kristof, 2020)

Instances of child exploitation and pornography are not limited in numbers. They occur in significant numbers, with many children affected on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. While some cases gain public attention, many others remain unreported and unnoticed. These heinous acts cater to the perverse fantasies of porn consumers and are readily available on the internet for years, causing long-lasting psychological trauma to the victims.

International conventions on child pornography
Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography - OPSC, adopted on 25 May 2000; As per Article 1 of the convention, States Parties shall prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as provided for by the present Protocol. As mentioned in the protocol itself it is Gravely concerned at the significant and increasing international traffic in children for the purpose of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The Convention on Cybercrime, popularly known as Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, signed on 23rd November 2001; asks the parties to criminalize by adopting such legislative and other measures under its domestic law, the act of producing, offering or making available, distributing or transmitting, procuring & possessing child pornography materials through computer systems.

It further mentions that child pornography shall include, a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct; a person appearing to be a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct; realistic images representing a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Impacts Of Pornography
  • Impact on personal relationship:

    With exposure to explicit content online one may have unrealistic expectations with life partners which if not fulfilled may cause distress and dissatisfaction.
    Taking for example where the normal ejaculation time lasts from somewhere between 7-13 minutes in a recent study, but the porn industry projects it somewhere between 30-60 minutes and couples get driven by it. (TNN, 2023). So, it's important to be cautious about what we see online and remember that not everything we see there reflects how things work in the real world.
  • Impact on mental health:

    Consuming pornography extensively may lead to affect the mental health of individuals. It may cause someone to be addicted to pornography and may also cause anxiety or depression to some.
  • Online safety:

    Sometimes, explicit content on the internet can be used to harm or take advantage of people. For example, young people might be tricked or threatened by bad people online. These people might force them to share inappropriate pictures or videos, which is very dangerous for their safety. It's a serious problem that we need to protect young people from.
  • Desensitization:

    The term means that if someone looks at a lot of explicit stuff over time, they might get used to it. So, they might need to see more extreme or even more shocking material to get the same level of excitement or interest as before. It's like how a person who eats a lot of spicy food might need to add more and more spice to feel the same level of heat.
  • Materialization of Women:

    Pornography projects or materializes women to be a sexual material which can be used by men however they want. Women are shown as pleasure object and are more highlighted than men in porn materials. These adversely impacts the mind of the consumers and they develop a disrespectful attitude towards women and they begin to view women as something to satisfy their desires, rather than as individuals with their own dignity and worth.

The impact of pornography on individuals can be diverse. Some people might become addicted to it, others could have problems in their relationships and there can be feelings of shame or anxiety for some. It can also lead to desensitization, where people need more explicit content to get the same level of excitement.

However, it's important to remember that not everyone will experience these effects and responsible use and open communication can help mitigate these potential problems. Being mindful of how and how much explicit content one consumes is key to having a healthy and balanced perspective on sexuality.

The global era has connected us in ways which we could not have imagined in the past. However, this interconnectedness also means that crimes committed in one corner of the world can affect people on the other side. The globalization of cybercrime and cyber pornography requires global cooperation and legal frameworks to combat these issues effectively.

Cybercrime and cyber pornography today in the global era are shared responsibility. It's crucial for governments to enact laws and regulations that keep pace with the evolving digital landscape. Organizations and individuals must also take proactive measures to protect themselves and promote safe online practices. Education and awareness are powerful tools in this fight.

As we move forward, it's essential to balance the benefits of the digital age with its potential risks. We must strive to make the internet a safe and respectful space for everyone. While the shadows of cybercrime and cyber pornography may persist, they can be illuminated by the collective efforts of society. By doing this we can reduce the prevalence of these issues and minimize their impact.

In the end, by working together, we can navigate the digital shadows and ensure that the global era becomes a place of connectivity, creativity and safety for all.

  • Council of Europe (COE), Convention on Cybercrime (Nov. 23, 2001)
  • Dawn Hawkins, The Scourge of Child Pornography, New York Times (Dec. 10, 2020)
  • Nicholas Kristof, The Children of Pornhub, NEW YORK TIMES (Dec. 4, 2020)
  • Shereen Samant, Cyber Pornography: A Conventional Crime Through Computer, Legal Service India
  • Shailza Dutt, Dr. Suneyna, & Asha Chaudhary, Cybercrime: The Transition Of Crime In The Information Era, International Journal of Advanced Research in IT and Engineering, (June, 2013)
  • Times News Network (TNN), How long does an average Indian man last during sex?, Times of India (June 2, 2023)
  • United Nation General Assembly (UNGA), Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (May 25, 2000)

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