Amid more proliferation of the internet and increasing dependency on it, cyberspace is also being used for crimes by unscrupulous and immoral persons. Unfortunately, among others, fairer gender and children are targeted. The most common cybercrimes committed against women are cyber blackmail, threats, cyberpornography, posting and publishing of obscene content, stalking, bullying, defamation, morphing, and the creation of fake profiles.
While there are crimes, the local government as well as Centre have also stepped into it to prevent such occurrences. The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up the ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)’ to provide ecosystem for tackling all types of cyber crime in the country, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
The MHA has also operationalized the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) to provide a centralized mechanism to the citizens for online reporting of all types of cyber crime incidents, with a special focus on cyber crimes against women and children.
According to the government, the incidents reported on this portal are automatically routed to the State/UT law enforcement agency concerned for taking further steps as per the provisions of the law. A toll-free helpline number ‘1930’ has been operationalized to get assistance in lodging online cyber complaints.
Also, The Information Technology Act, 2000 and rules made thereunder contain several provisions for safeguarding users in the cyberspace. The IT Act penalizes various cybercrimes relating to computer resources, including dishonestly or fraudulently accessing a computer resource without the permission of its owner commonly referred to as hacking (section 66), identity theft (section 66C), cheating by impersonation (section 66D), violation of bodily privacy (section 66E), transmitting of obscene material (section 67), and publishing or transmission of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form (section 67A and 67B) and tampering with computer Source documents (section 65), etc. Each such cybercrime is punishable with imprisonment for a period that may extend to either three years or five years, and as per section 77B of the IT Act such cybercrimes are cognizable offences.
While laws are there, there is need to create awareness about them and ensure there is a proper and swift mechanism in place to make cyberspace safe, trusted and accountable for all including women and children. Among others, the government need to publish handbooks for adolescent students and organize regular events for cyber safety and security awareness. It’s also important to make users aware that they should not share sensitive information.