What are the legislative regulations of online dating?

 What are the legislative regulations of online dating?


With every passing day there are new trends and ideas being discovered and followed by people. Traditional dating culture is slowly vanishing as people don't want to be involved in any sort of commitment. Women nowadays have lots to do, they want to focus on their career but at the same time want someone who can give them time and attention. More and more women are opting for online dating.

What is online dating?

Online dating is a system where people are enabled to find and introduce themselves to their potential connections over the internet usually with a goal of developing personal, romantic or sexual relationship. There are a number of websites and apps for online dating through the use of internet connected computers or mobile devices. Most of the matchmaking made in online dating is usually profile based. Users are allowed to be a member of the dating service by creating a profile and uploading personal information like age, gender, sexual orientation, location, appearance, etc. Some of the apps also ask to add photos or videos. Once the profile is made you can view others profile and personal information and decide whether to initiate contact. Online dating services differ widely in their revenue streams. Some sites are completely free and depend on advertising for revenue, while others offer free registration and use, with optional, paid, premium services.

What are the benefits of online dating?

The following are some of the benefits of online dating: 

  • Online dating is easy. Joining a date site is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your love life. Once you choose your site, you can make your profile and start searching for matches within seconds. The browsing and messaging features of most of the dating sites are intuitive that anyone can figure out.

  • Online dating is convenient as compared to offline dating. You can date anyone, anywhere, anytime without spending much of your time getting ready to meet your partner.

  • Online dating is affordable. Most dating sites don't charge money. And if it charges, it is cheaper as compared to offline dating as you spend money on clubs, restaurants, food, etc. With online dating, you’re guaranteed to meet tons of single people, and you won’t have to spend a penny to do so.

  • Online dating apps scan through a dozen profiles to connect you with a match. Depending on the filter options, you get suggestions for people within your preferred location, age limit, or other factors you chose. There is a probability of getting the perfect match.

  • Online dating allows you to date anyone irrespective of any location. 

  • Although we cannot completely understand and know a person just by mere talking but through online dating you know a glimpse of their personality. 

  • You can set the pace of your relationship in online dating. You have control over how to set things up considering there are no social obligations and you are not meeting the person in real life. 

  • In online dating, there is the benefit of putting less effort with no or less hesitation. 

Legislative regulations of online dating

While dating apps have a lot of advantages, people are still hesitant in using these as they have privacy concerns. Most dating apps ask for your basic information to make a profile. It seems like your information is safe but all this information is shared with third parties. 

There are a few laws governing dating apps. The applicable provisions in the Indian context are: 

  1. The constitution of India: The right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the ‘right to be forgotten’, as was opined by Justice SK Kaul in judgment. An individual who is no longer desirous of his personal data to be processed or stored, is able to remove it from the system where the personal data/information is no longer necessary, relevant, or is incorrect and serves no legitimate interest.

  2. The Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 509 penalizes words, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman with imprisonment that may extend to 3 years. Section 383 read with 384 prescribes imprisonment which may extend to 3 years for extortion, section 416 read with 419 punishes cheating by personation with the same period of imprisonment, defamation under Section 499 read with 500, is punishable by imprisonment which may extend to 2 years. 

  3. The Information Technology Act, 2000: Section 66 of the IT Act concerns computer-related offences for example impersonation of another person using a communication device/computer resource for cheating would amount to imprisonment or a fine of INR 1 lakh under Section 66D. Section 66E prescribes imprisonment or a fine of upto INR 2 lakh for non-consensual capturing, publishing or transmitting images of one’s bodily private parts. Both the sections could lead to imprisonment which may extend to 3 years.

  4. Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019: The intention of the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’)- the European Union’s data protection legislation  is to ensure that one’s personal data is neither collected nor utilized without the user’s consent. 



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