Combating cybercrimes against women and children

:: M.Y.Siddiqui ::

Cyber Crime Reporting Portal launched on 20th September 2018 to provide a centralized platform for citizens to report online content concerning child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually  explicit content like rape, gang rape or obscenity has begun generating interests among the people so much so that as on March 31, 2019, more than 14 lakh (1.4 million) persons have visited the portal, over ten thousand complaints filed, 33 FIRs lodged and 71 contents taken down through the intermediaries.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has set up Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre at an estimated cost of rupees 415.86 crore to be implemented by March 31, 2020, while Cyber Crime Prevention for Women and Children Scheme (CCPWC) formulated by the MHA is underway.  Whatever it be, fighting cybercrime against women and children may not be effective unless the servers for Internet service providers that are abroad, are stationed in the country. Without such steps, fighting cybercrimes will be futile and hence, very challenging.In the present scheme, disciplining Internet service providers for any cybercrime is not workablewithout their servers in the country notwithstanding the Union Government’s laudable objectives.CCPWC will act as nodal point of contact for fight against cybercrime against women and children. It will work as an open platform for complainants as well as victims. National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory will provide logistics for scientific investigation, analysis, reporting and assist States and Union Territories in capacity building.

Meanwhile, Cyber Crime Reporting Portal launched on 20th September 2018 to provide a centralized platform for citizens to report online content concerning child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually  explicit content like rape, gang rape or obscenity has begun generating interests among the people so much so that as on March 31, 2019, more than 14 lakh (1.4 million) persons have visited the portal, over ten thousand complaints filed, 33 FIRs lodged and 71 contents taken down through the intermediaries. General public has used this portal for cybercrimes other than child pornography. Portal provides two options of reporting complaints, anonymous mode requiring complainants to not disclose their identity and report and track option enabling complainants to report complaints as well as track progress.

Complaints reported on this portal are dealt by respective police authorities of States and Union Territories based on the information furnished by the complainants and after collecting evidence. The portal provides easy-to-use reporting mechanism, complainant can report incident of online content of child pornography, rape and gang rape from anywhere in India. Complainant in anonymous mode for similar complaint can upload evidences alongside complaint, such as website addresses and attachments in common document, image and video format on the portal for online complaint tracking system. Complainant can use “Report and Track” option to check status of complaint. The portal also facilitates blocking/removal of the reported complaint if found unlawful. Complaints on the portal are directly handled by State police for investigation.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has been appointed as a nodal agency for operations and maintenance of the Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. NCRB has also been empowered to issue notices to intermediaries under Section 79 (3) (b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for removal of child pornography, rape and gang rape identified content. NCRB has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), USA for receiving of Tip line report on online child pornography and child sexual exploitation from NCMEC.

CCPWC has built up capacity through training of stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, public prosecutors and judges to improve the conviction rate in cybercrime cases. Curriculum covers basic and advanced concepts in cybercrimes investigation and forensics to help participants develop knowledge and skill to understand the nature of cybercrimes and computer forensics. Several workshops have been conducted for capacity building under the scheme. Law enforcement agencies of States and Union Territories have been trained in cybercrime investigations at the National Cybercrime Training Centre developed at a cost of rupees 82.80 crore.

For creating public awareness, a multi-lingual handbook on cyber safety for adolescents/students above 13 years has been issued targeting young students instilling in them the value of responsible cyber citizens for better standing of the cyber world and cybercrimes about children and women, process of reporting cybercrimes on www.cybercrime.gov.in for general public or Cybercrime Reporting Portal as also on Twitter and Radio. A Cybercrime Coordination Centre comprising National Cybercrime Threat Analytics, Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation Team, National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem, National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, National Cybercrime Training Centre, Cybercrime Ecosystem Management, National Cyber Research and Innovation Centre, Cyber Security Awareness at Centre, States, Union Territories and district levels has been set up. 

In addition, Interministerial Committee on Phone Frauds has been constitutedand FCORD-FICN Coordination Agency created as Central Nodal Agency for Coordination with States/Union Territories for phone frauds. Cyber security awareness activities have been undertaken to sensitise public about precaution to be taken.

But whatever it be, with all such precautionary, preventive and protective measures taken against cybercrimes against women and children sexual violence, obscenity and pornography, so long as pornographic literature/material including sexual violence against women and children are available on  encrypted computing carriage devices and obscene/pornographic material  available in abundance in the gray market in various forms including pen drive and servers of internet services in India stationed on foreign soils, it will be well-nigh impossible for the Government to contain cybercrimes in the country!
 

About the Author

M Y Siddiqui

Mr M Y Siddiqui is the former Director (PR&S) at Government of India, as Spokesman of various Ministries (New Delhi). After his retirement he is now a well known columnist and critic. He writes on government plans & implementation and issues of deprived segments of India.

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