How to remove your pictures from porn websites

Source : SIFY
By : www.akosha.com
Last Updated: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 05:06 hrs
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Hundreds of personal images are uploaded on porn websites. This article gives the procedure for getting your picture removed from such websites. But the basic point is: be careful with your images.

Understanding the crime


Quite often, netizens find their pictures on online portals for porn material and adult content containing explicit photos, video clips, advertisements, games, stories etc that are meant for people above 18. These could be in the form of pictures captured by a hidden camera or an MMS clip depicting the girl in an intimate moment.



Many times, victims are afraid to proceed with complaints as that could lead to exposure and social humiliation. However, in order to get a speedy redressal to such grievances, it is important to understand the nature and remedy to this crime.

How does it happen?

The most common methods by which users exchange their pictures over the Internet are:

  1. E-mail
  2. Social networking sites like Facebook or Orkut
  3. Uploading them on a website, blog or forum

A third person may get access to such pictures by hacking into the email account of the victim or by browsing through the victim's Facebook/Orkut profile which is quite easy if the privacy settings are weak enough.

The Internet is not the only medium to obtain photos and videos. A person may also click the victim's picture in a public place and then upload it to a website. Alternatively, a person may acquire the victim's pictures or videos by getting access to her hard disk, camera or USB pen drive.

Once in possession of the pictures, the offender may also morph them to make them look obscene and vulgar, and then upload them to a porn site, say debonairblog.com.

What should you do?

If you come across any of your pictures uploaded on the Internet, this is what you should do:

  1. Save the webpage which contains your picture and note down the full web address,
  2. Take a screenshot (by pressing the "Prt Scr" button on your keyboard) of the webpage, paste it in MS Paint and save it as an image file,
  3. Look out for a "Report Abuse" link or button and click on it giving further details of how the picture offends you. This is applicable to social networking websites like Facebook and Orkut.Saving the webpage or taking a screenshot of it will serve as evidence in case you file a complaint later with the police. This should be done immediately.
  4. Try contacting the website through the "Contact Us" section and ask them to remove the picture at the earliest.
  5. If the above does not work, report it to the Police.

How can the police help?

The ideal method for getting your picture removed would be to approach your local Police Station and file a complaint with a police official (not below the rank of Inspector) of such violation, providing him with all the available evidence (i.e. the webpage and web address). The police official will file an FIR (First Information Report) as this is a cognizable offence, after which investigation would commence. (Section 78 of the IT Act 2000)

  1. The investigating inspector would first email a request to the website owner to delete the picture. This is not a very effective method but is essential in the preliminary stage.
  2. If the website does not comply with the request within a given time frame, a formal written complaint is forwarded to the SSP of that area. The SSP then directs the Cyber Cell to take cognizance of the matter. The victim may approach the SSP (or any police official not below the rank of Inspector) directly.
  3. See this article: for a more detailed account of how the police tracks cyber criminals.
  4. Once the ISP provides the above details and the link is established, a Media Access Control (MAC) address is obtained. The MAC address is a 12-digit identification number which helps to locate the computer from which the picture was initially uploaded.
  5. Once this is determined, the offender who had been operating the system can be tracked easily.
  6. The hard disk of such computer is confiscated and sent for scrutiny to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Sector 36, Chandigarh. Since deleted data can also be recovered from the hard disk, the picture(s) in question can be traced.
  7. Once it is proved that the offender uploaded the victim's picture(s) on the website, charges can be framed against him under the Information Technology Act 2000 (Sections 66, 67, 67A, 67B), Indian Penal Code 1860 (Section 292) and the Indecent Representation of Women's Act 1986 (Section 4)..The punishment involved in such offences ranges from 3-5 years of imprisonment or fine ranging from Rs. 5-10 lakhs or both (depending on what Section is applicable to the offence).
  8. The obscene picture or video would then be permanently removed and the offender be punished accordingly.
Note: An essential feature of the Information Technology Act 2000 is that it is extra-territorial in operation. This means that it can also apply in situations where the criminal is outside India while the victim is in India. This is a very useful provision as many offenders operate porn sites from abroad to avoid violating Indian cyber laws. However, this provision would be truly effective only if competent authorities and law enforcement agencies outside our jurisdiction would co-operate in the exchange of material and evidence of computer crimes.

Precautions you can take

  1. Always ensure that your privacy settings on social networking sites are high so that your content is not open to all.
  2. Always ensure that you log out completely from your e-mail account or social networking sites while exiting any cybercafe/workplace.
  3. Never allow your Internet browser to save your username or password on e-mail and social networking sites.
  4. Be extremely careful about how you share your personal information, including pictures and videos, online.
  5. Avoid uploading personal pictures on sites like Facebook or Orkut. Also, while uploading a picture, try putting up pictures where you are in a group. This way, it becomes difficult for a cyber stalker to edit or morph your photo.
  6. Beware of hidden cameras in try rooms of clothing and apparel showrooms.
  7. Be careful while lending your hard disk, USB pen drive to friends or acquaintances. Maintain a backup of your personal data before you delete it.
  8. Save all online communications for evidence. Do not edit it in any way. Also, keep a record of your contacts.
  9. Place a watermark on your personal pictures as it makes them less likely to be used by cyber criminals.
As an example, see this case involving the famous Anoushka Shankar and how the police solved it - though it involved an email threat.

This article was written by Nitish Saxena, a law student at UILS, PU, Chandigarh. First published in www.akosha.com.





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