Modern day advancement in Information Communication Technology has revolutionized the world by providing a platform from which international development can be initiated. Internet and news media in particular, have employed technology to strengthen communities around the globe by keeping them informed (Dutta & Fraser, 2008). Indeed, embracing the internet and other forms of communication technologies has proved to be a tool that can bring progressive changes among societies in the world today. However, unchecked access to information has turned dangerous as realities like security, privacy and crime keep moving into technological sphere at a far higher rate that they can censored or addressed by relevant organs and instruments in the world (Lee, 2011). It is thus, of great essence to look at the interaction between internet users, public opinion and the law with specific reference to some of the reported cases.
A society’s appreciation of freedom of expression is underlined by the fact that human progress is founded on an individual’s ability to freely express ideas, particularly the unpopular ones. While uploading a personal photo on a social networking site like Facebook can be taken as a fundamental exercise of the freedom of expression, uploading one’s photo when committing crime are some of the aspects that make the public raise fundamental question on the nature of the internet landscape (Siegel, 2011). An article that appeared in ‘Japan Times,’ can help one answer the question of how far this of freedom of expression can go.
According to the article titled, ‘Making the internet safer,’ which appeared on the Editorial of the paper, in 2007, two men established an internet site from where they sought ‘crime mates.’ A woman who was attracted by these men’s approach was found murdered and her money stolen. The Japanese government, in response, subjected the men to capital punishment after they were linked to the crime. In light of this, the government of japan, through its Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, has coined a public policy that seeks to enhance safety as internet usage becomes widespread in the country. In an additional move to counter the dark side of the internet, this government has also enacted a law that seeks to filter harmful websites from children (Editorial, 2009).
The general public is categorically opposed to cybercrimes. In particular, people detest a person who impersonates them and proceed to commit a crime. While in general, the public opinion is unconcerned; it is when one turns a victim that it actually hurts. However, the illimitable nature of the human mind makes it impossible to eliminate this new form of crime (Dutta & Fraser, 2008). The only viable option is to keep their occurrences low because even from a historical perspective, no legal enactment has been successful in totally eliminating a crime. From this observation, the public should be made aware of their rights. In addition, the same public should act collectively in reporting cases of cybercrime to make the existing laws more stringent on this nature of crime (Siegel, 2011).
‘Mens rea’ is a Latin word which when translated literally implies the external aspects of an offence. From a global perspective, an individual who uses the computer as a tool or target to commit an illegitimate act is as a cyber-criminal (Siegel, 2011). In Cyber Crimes, therefore, ‘mens rea’ is taken as a general requirement under the provision of the Information technology act. This is in view of the fact that, unlike traditional crimes, Cyber Crimes are committed on the platform of an electronic medium and therefore, ‘mens rea’ cannot be a requirement. In internet crimes, the aspect of ‘mens rea’ are that the individual must have been aware at the time of commanding the computer to perform the operation that the intended access was unauthorized (Dubey, 2011).
While the debate of equality between men and women still rage globally, internet crimes have hit women. Women leaders have in fact advocated for legislation to shields them from online violence against them (Dubey, 2011). While ICT has come up with opportunities that have been able to further the debate of inequality, it has on the other hand evolved a new facet of gender injustice. In addition to an absence of legal parameters to address this issue, there is rampant ignorance among women which also require to be dealt with in solving the problem of violence against women on the internet which is a crime. In addition to putting legal systems in place, women need a thorough education to safeguard the gains they have made in fighting for gender equality from escaping with technology (GenderIT, 2011).
In light of the above, we consider the societal and legal implications of our case of posting personal pictures in the act of committing a crime. From the definition of ‘mens rea,’ it is hard to determine whether one can commit a crime by posting his own evidence online (McConnell, 2008). An outright scenario, however, when an individual can be convicted is if the pictures were offensive. For example, Tennessee State in the United States enacted a law that seeks to discourage online uploading of materials that can be offensive to the recipient.
In conclusion, the offensive nature of the uploaded materials to the internet been left to the discretion of the jury (Plafke , 2011). In a nutshell, crimes committed using computers and the internet is a looming danger, which has caught the attention of many governments. In many countries around the world, however, laws to counter such crimes are either non-existent or the existing ones are not enforceable against such crimes. While businesses and the government have sought the technical measures to shield themselves, this does not solve the problem. Even in Cyberspace, the rule of law must be enforced (McConnell, 2008).