Is it legal to share nude pictures over WhatsApp?

Nitish ChandanLaw64 Comments

One of the major reasons the title says so is that a lot of readers want an answer to this question. Surveys, studies and researches have all suggested the same thing over and over again. It is that more than half of the young population of the country is involved in sharing nude pictures, semi-nude selfies and intimate moments over WhatsApp and other chat messaging applications. Is the reason cultural? No, statistics indicate that the same is the position in the west as well and other nations with a different culture than ours.

Is it legal to share nude pictures over WhatsApp

We received a message on our WhatsApp helpline a few months ago from a girl who had sent certain objectionable pictures of hers to a boy who she was in love with. The interesting fact was that she was not even 16 and now being blackmailed to keep sending her pictures to him. The threat was that he would put the pictures online and distribute them among his and her friends as well. The sad thing is that this was one of the tens others that we receive every single day. So the best advice to give to you right away is not to indulge in sending any nude pictures or videos over chats and emails that can cause problems to you. If you are a couple getting married tomorrow or you have been married for ten years, it doesn’t matter because believe me when you read this, we have seen cases from both these fronts.

So is it legal to share nude pictures, anyway?

No! Sharing nude pictures over WhatsApp can be illegal even if both the sender and the receiver consent. If there is to be a situation later where you need to defend yourself after sending such content to anyone, it can be problematic and I am writing about this from experience of a case. But don’t worry the police isn’t spying on you to see pictures you send and will not catch you for this offence. However if there is any criminal action later on, this act can be in question.  There is no specific law against it and neither is there enough precedent. But if we look closely at Section 67 of the IT Act, 2008, it goes on to say that if somebody publishes or transmits any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years.

The gist is that, if you send something to someone or publish online that is lascivious (tending to excite lust, obscene etc.) it can land you up in prison for three years. Moreover, if it is a minor in question that you entice or induce (basically, get a person below 18 years of age to send you nude pictures or even get in a relationship with you), according to Section 67B the punishment can be for five years. But do not worry, the law also protects your privacy if someone tries to blackmail you or uploads your private pictures at any place or sends them to anyone. The law in India does not talk about sexting or revenge porn but these are the things that all of this relates to. If you need to know more about this, you can get in touch with us over Facebook or our WhatsApp Helpline.

To read about How to take down Revenge Porn depicting you off the Internet, follow this link.

64 Comments on “Is it legal to share nude pictures over WhatsApp?”

  1. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of
    your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. If someone send vulger comment or picture on whatsapp to whom we should contact.give number or website who can take action.

  3. Dear Sir
    I have shared the Nude Painting of President Trump to thirty people, which was published in The Guardian, Newspaper, New York. Is it a crime? Please advise.

  4. I’m being blackmailed from a person who lives in Oman… I need my information to be completely private….I was in a relationship with him online …He always coaxed me to send such pictures… He has my phone no. Obviously n always pressurises me to send ….

  5. I was in a relationship with someone who is now threatening me that he is going to upload my porn video and private part to social media can I have a case against him?please help

  6. What if a girl send her nude image / video to bf on Whatsapp. is it illegal and if yes, how will authorities will track them down if none registered any FIR?

    1. Hi,
      Sharing obscene content to anybody via any messaging platform is illegal, as per Sec 67 & 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Law enforcement agencies will start the investigation only after being informed about a particular crime.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  7. Sir, some one write text under a girl’s nude bathing video , mentioning our family, parent names . My daughter is just 11 years old. And when someone sent to me on 1st March 2017, I had seen it and it was not my daughter. So I deleted. But after one year again it came with family details. What should we do sir? We don’t have that message. Is it possible to find out who has done it? Please advice

  8. Hi sir, if someone leaks an another persons smoking video in which he/she is smoking a cigarette but is below 18. and the video was shot with his/her consent but leaked against his/her consent, then is it a crime?

    1. Hi,
      As per my understanding, the above-mentioned situation would not amount to “obscene or lascivious content, or content appealing to the prurient interest of the public.” Hence, it isn’t a crime as per Section 292 of IPC and Section 67 & 67A of the IT Act.

      Thanks

  9. my ex tries to leak our pics,,those are not nudes but we are kissing and hugging and cuddling together,, is there any legal action against it,,we are both in that pic,,im afraid that my parents would know!

    1. Hi,
      Whether a piece of content comes under the umbrella of the word obscene or not is a highly subjective issue. Please mail your problem at contact@cyberblogindia.in so that we can help you out accordingly.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  10. How can I remotely control my daughter’s activity in social media as she keeps on sending porn photos of her in different sites. How can I deactivate her account without her knowledge as she becomes a psychiatric patient due to heavy use of social media. Kindly help

    1. Hi Vandana,
      We would be more than happy to help you out. Can you please share the incident on our email id (contact@cyberblogindia.in) so that your identity is not disclosed in the public domain?

      Thanks,
      Raj

  11. Very good initiative for someone who is living in India where these things are as vulnerable as ppl commiting sucide bcz of this thing. Kudos to you !

    1. Hi Shweta,
      Thanks for your kind words. Keep reading them and sharing with your friends and family.

      Thanks,
      Raj

    1. Though not explicitly, but the IT Act does prohibit publication and transmission of obscene content and sexually explicit content under Section 67, 67A, and 67B.

    1. That’s true. However, existing laws such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 are interpreted constructively for the purpose.

  12. I am an Indian n met an US lady online n she asked me to add her on whatsapp which i did.
    She chatted with me n asked my name pkace n photo of mine which also i gave

    Next day she asked for a nude photo of mine which j stupidly send again
    After that she started to blackmail me n told me if i dont pay her INR 3 lacs US$ 4500/- then she will send my pics to Indian Media n Television
    She has given me 10 days time
    I have no alternative other than ending my life if she really does
    Pls help me

  13. Is. It crime to send porn gif and porn pics to my wife? She just blaming me for this we are newly married and now she want divorce in 15 days. Can you plz help me

    1. Hi,
      As per Indian laws, sharing obscene/sexually explicit content to anybody (irrespective of the relationship between the sender and the receiver) over social media platforms is a crime.

      For further help, feel free to write us at contact@cyberblogindia.in.

      Thanks.

  14. My friend sent a vulgar video to a whatapp group by mistake( Actually he never does so and i have found him always against it). Now one of the group member is trying to blackmail him.What he should do?

  15. Hi
    I want to confirm that if anyone ( like my office coligue) share of any photo of mine (which is hanging on the wall of my office) in a official WhatsApp Group so can I take any legal action ???? My photo was a normal passport photo only ….

  16. Hi
    I want to confirm that if anyone ( like my office coligue) share of any photo of mine (which is hanging on the wall of my office) in a official WhatsApp Group so can I take any legal action ???? My photo was a normal passport photo only ….

  17. Sir some one spread me and my wife mobile no over whats app and both of us getting call as well as lots of message from lots of country please help us to find them. i also got a mail from some one and all people telling us that they got our no from whats app as we are call girl provider please help us sir

    1. Hi Nitesh,

      Please reach out to us at contact@cyberblogindia so that we can help you out at the earliest.

      Thanks.

  18. Someone has uploaded our daughter’s regular Facebook photos to xvideos. Can we take legal action against the unknown offender and claim monetary damages from web site? We don’t know who the person is but we have taken screenshots of his account profile and his comments. We also have screenshots of other characters who have commented sickly on the photos.

    1. Hi,
      A legal action can definitely be taken against the person who has uploaded her photos on xvideos. Claiming monetary damages from the website may or may not be possible.

      Please get in touch with us at contact@cyberblogindia.in so that we are able to help you out accordingly.

      Thanks

    1. Hi Nikhil,
      It is definitely not recommended to use modified apps. You should always prefer using original and verified applications.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  19. Dear sir,
    If some one send nude photos to someone through whatsApp, is there any chances to leak that photo through whataApp.

    1. Hi Ananda,

      WhatsApp assures that your data remains encrypted throughout the transmission process.

      Thanks,
      Raj

  20. Sir, I have a friend, he got a call from unknown number. and he told him, he called from cybercrime.And bi -mistakes he has sent a nude pic after1min he deleted that pic everyone. Is there any chances to call from cybercrime.kindly help him. Bcoz he is in Problem.

  21. I m 35 year old lady. My ex is blackmailing me, he has my nudes which we shared voluntarily on whatsapp in 2014. Recently I came to know he has made a video of me with me on his CCTV and he is showing it to others. I m totally stuck. You saying that it’s a crime to do share nudes.. will I be punished for this? I m scared I want to take action against him. Please guide me what to do.

    1. Hi,

      If your photos are being used to blackmail you, you can definitely take an action against the said person. Do write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in so that we are better able to understand your case and assist you accordingly.

      Thanks,
      Raj P

  22. Does mutual exchange of normal message and i demand meeting somewhere lead me in trouble i have not used any wrong word please advise

    1. If you are exchanging normal messages with mutual consent and accordingly planning to meet, it is not illegal. However, messages containing threats, or asking the other person to forcefully meet by blackmailing or any such activity is definitely a crime.

  23. Nude pic pass on to other u know is not a crime but if the other has objections then it could be a crime . If sending pic to beloved friends and vice versa was crime then even the law makers n law keepers would b behind bars along with 99% citizens. It depends on ur intentions to harras the receivers.

    1. Hi

      As per my understanding of the existing Indian laws, consent of the receiver is not essential when a picture containing obscene/sexually explicit content is sent over the internet. However, the police takes cognizance when the same incident is reported to them. For further clarity on the issue, you can also check Section 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

      Thanks,
      Raj P

  24. Hello sir,
    In a particular WhatsApp group someone sent pics of my sister that he took from Facebook and also sent some other girls nude pic but as her face was similar to.my sisters he said they are the same person and shared the pics can legal action be taken against him we have his no. And screenshots.

  25. Hi Sir,

    Can we trace an unknown number that send the pica through WhatsApp, what details can we get, can we find the sender if we don’t know whose number it was ,as it’s some online number.

    1. Hi Shraddha

      If you are receiving such pictures, please block the said number. In cases like these, it is highly unlikely to actually trace a number and tracing can only be carried out by a law enforcement agency. Even after blocking this number, if the sender sends you pictures from a different number, feel free to get in touch with Abhay on our WhatsApp helpline at +91 7832085146.

      Thanks,
      Raj P

  26. Hi sir,
    I just wanted to ask that someone is sending me my nudes photo with my partner I am only 17 years old that person is sending my photo in messenger . What can I do sir please help me fast

  27. Hi raj,u said Wtsap is encrypted means sexting indirectly encouraged n then u said its illegal discouraging it. Plz clear it then y actions not being taken on ppl’s setting,etc?

    1. Hi Ankita

      WhatsApp states that it has end-to-end encryption which means that if there is a sender A and a receiver B, then the message gets encrypted the moment it is sent from A’s device and it only gets decrypted when it reaches B’s device. Throughout the communication channel established in between, the message remains encrypted and if this is true, even a person having access to WhatsApp servers cannot read the contents of the message sent from A to B.
      With the plethora of privacy debates going across the world, many applications like Telegram offer end-to-end encryption. But at the same time, incidents of sexting cannot be denied. End-to-end encryption has its pros as well as cons. The onus then lies on an end user as to how he utilises any service provided by a service provider. It can be used as an instant messaging platform, while at the same time, it can be used to share sexually explicit content.

      In case you have any further queries, feel free to write to us at contact@cyberblogindia.in and I will be more than happy to revert you.

      Thanks
      Raj P

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