Respect others

Users of different social media platforms have been warned against posting contents that have negative effect on public morals, religious principles or anything that offends the social setup of the community.
Social media is a powerful tool that connects billions of people across the globe. This helps them share information and update of day to day life. But this also involves a lot of risks, if not used carefully.
“Users should be aware of the risks associated with posting malicious contents that can lead to claims for defamation and breach of privacy”, said an official with Information Technology Authority (ITA).
The use of photographs and videos of other people without their consent is punishable under Omani laws, which also prohibit users from posting contents that can lead to hatred in the community.
According to Dr Badr bin Salem al Mandhari, Director-General of Information Security, social and psychological harm can be caused due to such acts.
The Omani government has put in place laws that protect the individual’s privacy, and ensure miscreants are brought to justice. The official also said that the laws place obligations on individuals for the purpose of managing online security threats. Still self-education is critical, he said in an interview to Al Markazi magazine, published by the Central Bank of Oman. “Information and awareness materials of all kinds are available and mostly free of charge on the Internet. Therefore, every person should educate himself and work to inform and educate his family, especially the children”, he said.
Although it has been common practice to share images and comments, action can be taken both civilly or criminally for posting certain kinds of photos. The Facebook Terms of Service which have provisions relating to respect for the privacy of others, state, “You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law”.
According to laws, even uploading of photos of those of family and friends, think about the consequences of your actions.
Disclosing secrets relating to someone’s private life, without that person’s consent can attract liability. Similarly, disclosure of confidential information, such as information belonging to an employer, can also attract legal liability.
Thanks to the smartphone and apps such as Instagram, thousands of photos are uploaded to Facebook every day. Some people upload dozens of photos a week, capturing even the most mundane events to share with family and friends.
“You have a duty to respect those around you by not uploading photos that don’t belong to a public forum”, cautions Facebook.
Care must be taken when pictures of others are posted online, including via social media sites since the Cyber Crimes Law makes it an offence to use any IT means to breach someone else’s privacy, including by taking pictures of others, or publishing or displaying those pictures.

SAMUEL KUTTY