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Saturday, April 14, 2012

MHA puts cops on duty to net young cyber criminals

Mumbai: The Union home ministry has issued an unusual advisory to cops across the country—it has listed various measures to reduce growing instances of cyber crime among minors. Among them is a suggestion that young policemen visit cyber cafes under cover "pretending to be minors" to monitor children's activities. 

    According to the advisory, "if any cyber cafe owner allows minors to surf porn sites or carry out other crimes, he could be arrested". It has mentioned the kinds of cyber crimes children have been found to indulge in, such as stalking, harassment, defamation, character assassination and sending threat emails, and suggested what sections of the Information Technology Act can be invoked in the cases. 
    The advisory, which the city police received recently, states that in today's technology-savvy era, children are prone to using the computer, hence the need to concentrate on how the police can make the use of internet and electronic gadgets safer for them. 
    Observing that children are also exposed to sexually explicit material, the MHA has said it must be controlled. "For this, awareness programmes can be conducted at schools and colleges. Moreover, the police cell handling the juvenile section could conduct meetings with parents and suggest what can be done to save children from indulging in cyber crimes," the advisory says. 
Cop site may list safety tips for young cyber users Home Ministry To Police: Minors Involved In Identity Theft, Hacking 
    The Union home ministry recently issued an advisory for police across the country to curb growing instances of cyber crime amongst minors. 
    The advisory also included suggestions such as listing out safety measures or tips on internet usage on the state police's web site, or creating a children's corner where internet tips could be explained to children in a simple and easy-to-understand language. Assistance on the subject could be sought from Nasscom, the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) as well as the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), it stated. 
    Police sources said these days, even school-going children have internet facility on their mobile phones. "Parents must therefore keep monitoring their phones. It could help them find out whether their child is misusing the internet," said an officer. 
    There have been cases where school-going children were found to have made derogatory remarks about their classmates on socialnetworking web sites. 
    Some are more serious. A young boy, for instance, had sent out a threat email following the Delhi High Court bomb blast. The email's origin was traced and the boy was arrested. Then, around half a dozen minors were caught by Mumbai's cyber police for sending terror or threat emails to television channels claiming to be members of terror outfits, simply as attention-seeking stunts. A 16-year-old was convicted in 
one such case in Mumbai. 
    "Some minors have been found involved in identity theft, hacking of emails or 
accounts on social networking web sites, and there is unwanted exposure of sexually explicit material. There is a need to conduct special programmes and skill development for those manning child lines," the advisory stated. 
Home ministry advisory says: 
Pose as minors and visit cyber cafés Conduct meetings with parents; interact with them and generate awareness about children's internet habits Those manning child lines should be aware about internet use and misuse 
Monitor children's internet browsing history regularly Also, monitor content of web sites children visit as well as their e-activities Ensure that children aren't using any fake email account 

Do not deal too strictly with children Do not expect them to behave in a mature fashion; they are kids, after all Do not pass value judgements if found guilty Schools should create a friendly and democratic environment for kids Take what kids say with a pinch of salt Educate them about cyber space and its dangers Take the child to a counsellor if found misusing internet despite being told of its dangers 
Sections of the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code that can be invoked in case of cyber crimes: 
When a victim is repeatedly and persistently followed and pursued online or with electronic gadgets. 
    Sections 66A, 66C, 66E of the IT Act for hacking could be invoked, along with Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended 

    to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code 
Acts of harassment, embarrassment, and taunts, insults or threatening behaviour towards a victim by the use of internet 
    Sections for cyber stalking could be invoked for cyber 
bullying as well 
This is a serious offence Sections 67, 57A and 67B of the IT Act, and sections 292 and 293 (for sale etc of obscene books or material) of the IPC could be invoked 
Section 66 of the IT Act could be invoked


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