Govt plans new body to crack down on child porn, online abuse

New Delhi, (PTI): Tackling child pornography and online abuse will be the top priority of a highly sophisticated centre to be set up by the government to deal with cyber crime.

The initiative comes after an expert committee constituted to prepare a roadmap for effectively tackling cyber crime submitted its report to the Home Ministry.

Reuters file photo

According to the recommendations of the committee, there is a need to drastically reduce crimes against children and women, especially online abuse.

“These kinds of content and websites need to be monitored and blocked. The supporting laws need to be strengthened, parents need to be educated to monitor children’s activities in cyber space and educate children about good cyber behaviour,” the committee has said in its report.

A Rs 400 crore cybercrime control hub, to be called ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre’ (IC4), will be set up to check all cyber crime, including child pornography and online abuse, as per the recommendations of the committee.

“Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already directed speedy implementation of recommendations of the committee,” an official said.

The government has taken seriously the issue of pornography and asked Internet Service Providers to block over 800 sites which had child porn content.

The Supreme Court too had pulled up the government for not doing much to check child pornography.

There has been almost 40 per cent annual increase in cyber crimes registered in the country during the past two-three years, according to an official estimate.

The expert committee found that India lacks centralised online reporting mechanism, inadequate infrastructure for cyber crime monitoring and investigation, besides skilled cyber professionals.

Other drawbacks include challenges related to technology and research and development, lack of citizen awareness, legal and jurisdictional issues and lack of Standard Operating Procedure for cyber crime investigation.

The IC4 will have linkages with CCTNS and NATGRID, the two databases having information related to various kinds of crime and criminals.

One of the priorities of IC4 will be to check attempts by international gangs to penetrate Indian government’s official communication network and hack them.

Key objectives of IC4 are: to act as a nodal point in the fight against cyber crime and as an early warning system for law enforcement agencies with active cyber crime monitoring.

It will also set up an open platform for victims to raise cyber crime complaints with the protocol for resolution such as online crime reporting, to support and coordinate electronic investigations of cyber crime and assist the law enforcement agencies in criminal investigation.

“IC4 should provide all necessary technical assistance to CBI and state police on all cyber crime related issues,” the committee has said.

The panel said the CBI needs to be further strengthened by improving its existing infrastructure, technology, forensic laboratory and manpower.

The CBI may continue to function as the central investigating agency for cyber crimes and collaborate with Interpol and Europol and at state level, while state police forces should undertake criminal investigation as per their jurisdiction.

The expert committee suggested enactment of a new Electronic Evidence Act similar to the UK and Singapore and regular review of existing laws.

An Advance Application for Social Media Analytics may also come up to monitor social media platforms’ activities related to Ministries of Home, External Affairs, Defence and other government organisations, the committee said.

The expert group was constituted by the Home Ministry on December 24, 2014.

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