Wei Jie CHEE
Data Privacy and Cyberbullying in a World of Technological Bullying
Have you gone through a day without using your phone? Today's epoch has been marked by rapid technological advancement. Ever since the pandemic wrecked havoc throughout the entire world, digital protection and cyber security have taken to be the most important things that people would like to look up to.
According to The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) UK, Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place using communications technology, such as social media, but also text messages, apps, chats, emails and other forms of communication. Depending on the nature of the bullying, it may also constitute criminal activity and prosecutors should apply the principles outlined in the legal guidance on communications via social media when considering allegations of this nature. For example, cyber bullying might involve harassment, threatening behaviour, sending false information about someone, impersonation, cyber stalking or grossly offensive messages.
This may include anything, ranging from body shaming to racial discrimination or any offensive comments that hurt the victim through social media. So, why is it so difficult to suppress it?
As per the Lexology, “One of the key characteristics is that the person who commits the cyber-bullying is able to hide his/her real identity and this is also the reason why cyber- bullying can become difficult to stop.”
Before turning on in depth of how to prevent cyber bullying, it must be noted that data privacy is of humongous importance. Data privacy should be followed by the victim himself/herself, by not lending out all of his personal information or contacts on the social media or internet, because that does not really help you, at the end of the day.
What exactly is meant by this?
Using data privacy, a user can isolate his information to avoid that being shared publicly with the outside world, hence preventing a misuse of the same. Hence, data privacy is for the user to follow.
In case of cyber bullying, there are some few points which must be kept in mind:
In case your social media accounts contain sensitive or personal information, you can make it accessible to only a very closed community of family and friends, instead of making it ‘public’.
Replying to texts from strangers is not mandatory. You must decide whether or not, you want to receive messages from people outside your connections and choose the preferences that way.
Personal or sensitive data may also include your photos, videos and other such information, which may prove to be vulnerable, if not restricted to a particular group of ‘allowed’ individuals.
Before you start using a social media, try to understand its policies with regards to sharing data or information with third party sources. For example, Whatsapp, a very popular messaging social media, runs on ‘end to end encryption’.
Whenever you feel someone has been behaving with you inappropriately, you can always block him/her on your social media handle, from seeing any future posts or comments.
Regarding cyber harassment, if any, faced by the victim, one might always appeal for legal help.
Currently, there are very few laws that one can appeal to, in case one is bullied this way. In the United States, territories of California, Florida and Missouri have enacted laws with regards to cyber bullying and the extreme consequences, it often leads to.
A legal advocate and founder of BULLYID App, Agita Pasaribu states that, “In the UK there is no legal definition of cyberbullying but it is possible to apply some existing laws to cases of
cyberbullying and online harassment. These include the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Communications Act 2003 and the Defamation Act 2013.
The latest update from the UK Government unveiled tough new measures to ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online, published in 2019 on the UK's Government website. A range of harms will be tackled as part of the Online Harms White Paper, including inciting violence and violent content, encouraging suicide, disinformation, cyber bullying and children accessing inappropriate material.
Founder of BULLYID and Souhardya De FRAS
Author and Art and Culture Columnist (The Sunday Guardian)
Is someone overstepping your boundaries online? Or your friend's? Visit BULLYID http://bullyid.org/ Free Mental Health & Legal Knowledge Support for Cyberbullying Victims