Cyber Law Provides Remedy Fake Profiles on Social Media & Facebook
Cyber Law Provides Remedy Fake Profiles on Social Media
S J Tubrazy
Fake profiles on facebook and on social media are a problem most users face. These fake profiles are often used to commit cybercrime anonymously or with an untraceable identity. It’s definitely alarming that there has been a 150 % rise in such cybercrimes in the last one year. It is very interesting that now-a-days many real world thefts have their roots in social media. Criminals are creating networks of fake profiles to target potential victims; as such connections allow them to uncover a variety of personal information about users and their whereabouts, making their homes an easier target.
The survey found that of social media users had discussed an event, evening or holiday plans ‘wall to wall’ on Facebook, potentially providing opportunities for them to be targeted by criminals. By befriending a number of the target user’s other friends beforehand, the victim is even more likely to accept the fake friend, inadvertently giving the burglar access to all their personal information.
The cases of Cyber extortion have also increased owing to excessive personal data available in social networking profiles, and this data is accessible to fake profiles in your friend list. When we come across a fake profile, the first step is to report the same to the service provider like facebook or twitter. Most of these Intermediaries/ Service Providers have facility for reporting and blocking fake profiles.
For example, in the case of facebook the following procedure has to be followed to report an abusive page:
Go to the Page you want to report
Click the gear icon below the Page’s cover photo
Select Report Page
Choose the reason you’re reporting the Page and click Continue
Facebook will then review the reported material and remove anything that violates their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If warranted they also warn or disable the person responsible.
The following procedure has to be followed to report a fake account that’s pretending to be you or a public figure:
Fake Timelines created to imitate real people (impostor accounts) are not allowed on Facebook. If someone created an account pretending to be you:
Go to the Timeline
Click the gear icon and then select Report
Click Report this account
Click This person is pretending to be me or someone I know and then complete the on-screen directions
Click Submit to Facebook for Review
Section 36 of Electronic Transaction Ordinance 2002 provides legal remedy for breaching and violation of online privacy wherein guilty of offence is punishable for 7 years, section 36 read as;
- Violation of privacy of information.—Any person who gains or attempts to gain access to any information system with or without intent to acquire the information contained therein or to gain knowledge of such information, whether or not he is aware of the nature or contents of such information, when he is not authorised to gain access, as aforesaid, shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance punishable with either description of a term not exceeding seven years, or fine which may extend to one million rupees, or with both.
This brings into its ambit:
Making a social networking profile in a fake name.
Making a social networking profile in some other person’s name.
Performing social networking activity in such other name.
Sending emails or messages from some other person’s email id or messaging account.
However, in most cases the purpose of making a fake social media profile has a hidden criminal intention of the perpetrator. It is either means to commit the cybercrimes of cyber stalking, cyber defamation.
Section 58 of the Payment System Electronic Funds Transfer Act 2007 deals with Cheating by Using Computer Device, which brings within its ambit fraudulent prize schemes like presently spamming on electronic devices like BISP, WinnerWaird, EasyPaisa Winner and Western Union Winner etc.
- Cheating by Use of Electronic Device.- Whosoever cheats by pretending to be some other person, or by knowingly substituting one person for another, or representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is, or by cheating by impersonation, fraudulently or dishonestly uses any credit or debit card, or code or any other means of access to an Electronic Fund Transfer device, and thereby causes any wrongful gain to himself or any wrongful loss to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine which shall not be less than the wrongful loss caused to any person, or with both.
IDENTIFYING THE REAL FACE BEHIND THE FAKE ACCOUNT
Advanced Cyber Forensic Tools and analysis of log files has made it possible to trace the real people behind fake profiles. Their names and addresses can be easily traced in order to take legal action against them. Investigation of Fair Trial Act 2013 provides complete mechanism for discovery of digital evidence and forensic.
A victim must file a complaint with the cybercrime wing in the format mentioned on FIA website at http://www.nr3c.gov.pk/creport.php.
Also, the victim must contact the intermediary to take temporary action against the offender. It is always advisable to interact with people you personally know on social media, however, if you do interact with people you don’t know well it is best to check out mutual friends. If you do spot any fake profiles on social media, you must report the same, as you not only will save yourself from cybercrimes, but also many others who could fall prey to such scammers.
- Manual of Cyber Laws in Pakistan By S J Tubrazy
- Discovery of Digital Evidence and Forensic Laws by S J Tubrazy