Updated: January 16, 2018 5:57:46 am
To tackle cyber crime, racial abuse and communal propaganda on social media, the Centre has directed states “to gear up institutional mechanism” and “maintain data of suspects” which may also help deal with child pornography and blackmail, among others.
Expressing concern over sudden spurt in cyber crime, a letter sent by MHA joint secretary Kumar Alok to states and Union territories on January 13 laid down eight-point guidelines to prevent, detect and strengthen the tools to investigate such crimes.
“Cyber crime cases pose technical, administrative as well as legal challenges in investigation. There is a need to gear up the institutional mechanism to tackle the cyber crimes,” noted the advisory. The letter also identified some of these crimes as defacement of government websites, online stalking/harassment and data theft, among others.
The home ministry has further directed the states to set up state cyber crime coordination cells at the headquarters level and district cyber crime cells. The head of district cell may report to the district SP but may seek guidance from the State Cyber Crime Controller. The suggestions were based on reports of the expert committee headed by former Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Viswanathan in September last year.
MHA has suggested “deep monitoring of web” and setting up of “social media monitoring with due emphasis on vernacular content”. “It may be recalled that there has been exodus of students from the Northeast region from Bangalore after rumours targeting Northeastern community were spread on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Similar instances of racial discrimination on social media platforms have been reported against Kashmiris and Biharis, “ a senior government official said.
A list of suspects should be maintained and leads generated during investigations in cyber crime cases should be shared with other law enforcement agencies through a “secured internal network”, according to the advisory.
Announcing the soft launch of an online portal, the advisory asked the states and UTs to use it to access data and facilitate filing of complaints through Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). The portal was launched on the directions of Supreme Court after a plea by NGO Prajwala.
The advisory further suggested expediting the setting up of cyber forensics and mobile forensics labs. States were asked “to identify the need for research and development in specific areas of cyber space” and come up with “suggestions for amendments into legal and policy framework dealing with cyber crime”.
The advisory stressed on training police officers in investigations and creating awareness about cyber crime through media campaigns.
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