Section 66E – Punishment for violation of Privacy Policy

July 16, 2012, by | Start Discussion

In some of the latest articles we have focused on the areas of data privacy, due diligence to be observed by the companies handling sensitive personal data, etc. But, not much has been spoken/written on violation of person’s privacy. I.e. ensuring privacy on an individual at the places where he/she under the normal circumstances expects to be in a private environment.

A reference can be given to infamous Pune spycam incident where a 58-year old man was arrested for installing spy cameras in his house to ‘snoop’ on his young lady tenants.

It was difficult for law enforcement agencies then to book him under the provisions of cyber pornography as he was neither publishing nor transmitting the obscene material in the electronic form.

The section reads as –

Punishment for violation of privacy

Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both.
Explanation — For the purposes of this section —
a)    “transmit” means to electronically send a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons;
b)    “capture”, with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film or record by any means;
c)    “private area” means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast;
d)    “publishes” means reproduction in the printed or electronic form and making it available for public;
e)    “under circumstances violating privacy” means circumstances in which a person can have a reasonable expectation that —
(i)    he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image of his private area was being captured; or
(ii)    any part of his or her private area would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place.

Comments –

Provisions of this section specifically deal with ‘privacy of a person’. It should not be confused with section 67 of the IT Act, i.e. law related to cyber pornography.

Provisions of this section are applicable if someone –
?    Captures
?    Publishes or
?    Transmits
image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under the circumstances violating the privacy of that person.

Illustration –

Everyday, Sameer and Pooja go for a swimming at their college swimming pool. Pooja is a young, bright and charming girl with whom every guy wants to hang out with.

Recently, Sameer noticed that Pooja is dating a guy from their college. Sameer became jealous of the fact and he hidden a small web camera in the swimming pool’s changing room to snoop the activities of Pooja. He removed the camera after few days and downloaded the photographs and videos of Pooja changing her cloths.

Sameer would be liable under this Section.

Sagar is a Law graduate. He is Head at Asian School of Cyber Laws(Maharashtra). He specializes in Cyber Law, Intellectual Property Law and Corporate Law. He teaches at numerous educational institutions across India.

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