Cybercrimes Current Affairs

TK Viswanathan Committee Recommendations to deal with hate speech on internet

An expert committee headed by former Lok Sabha secretary general TK Viswanathan to deal with cybercrimes especially online hate speech has submitted its report to Union Home Ministry.

The committee was formed after Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India. Section 66 A of IT Act was added to criminalize sending of offensive messages through a computer or other communication devices.

Recommendations

The committee has recommended appointing cybercrime coordinators in all states and establishing cybercrime cells in each district. They will deal with those fomenting trouble or spreading hate against anybody on rounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, place of birth or residence, disability or tribe through any means of communication.

It has suggested replacing some clauses of the IT Act, 2000 and amending some sections of IPC like 153 (want only giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505A (false and mischievous reports intended to upset public tranquillity) to deal with online hate crimes.

It has recommended punishment under amended clause dealing with prohibiting incitement to hatred of two years imprisonment or fine of Rs 5,000 or both. It has suggested that offences under amended Section 505A be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or fine or Rs 5,000 or both.

The committee suggested that state cybercrime coordinator should be an officer not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP). The district cybercrime cell should be headed by an officer not below the rank of sub-inspector of police.

Background

The Union Home Ministry had constituted committee under chairmanship of former Law Secretary TK Viswanathan to assist government in establishing effective legal framework to deal with cybercrimes related to hate speech on internet. It was having members from Law Ministry, CBI and Ministry of Home Affairs.

It was tasked to study and examine existing domestic cyber laws and international cyber legislations and propose measures, amendments to present laws. It was also mandated to recommend amendments to Information Technology Act, 2000 and corresponding provisions in IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act to facilitate establishment of strong legal framework to fight cybercrimes. It was also mandated to draw a roadmap taking into account the need of legal competence and expertise on cyber laws from investigation, prosecution and judiciary angles.

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Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis.

It was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad as part of Union Government’s ambitious digital India initiative to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections.

Besides, minister also launched some cyber security tools. They are

  • USB Pratirodh: It is a desktop security solution to protect from USB mass storage device threats.
  • AppSamvid: It is a desktop solution to protect systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. It helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.
  • M-Kavach: It is an indigenously developed mobile application to address the security threats in mobiles.

About Cyber Swachhta Kendra

  • The centre mission is to create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end users so as to prevent further infections.
  • It is being operated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under provisions of Section 70B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
  • The centre complies with the objectives of the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 which aims at creating a secure cyber eco-system in the country.
  • It operates in close coordination and collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), academia, banks and Product and Antivirus companies.

Botnet: It is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Such infected computer is referred to as a zombie. It is used to steal data, send spam. Botnet is a combination of the words robot and network.The popular attacks that happen these days using botnets are called the Distributed Detail of Service (DDOS) attacks.

Malware: It is malicious software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system. It is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive malicious softwares including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, ransomware, adware, scareware etc.

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