IT Act Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has designated National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as nodal authority to curb online child pornography, sexual violence and rape videos. It was decided by high-level meeting to discuss recommendations on ways to curb “sexual violence” videos involving women and children.
NCRB can act on such online child pornography, sexual violence and rape videos content either on the basis of complaints or by taking suo motu cognizance. It also has been mandated to launch online portal for receiving complaints and acting on them. The powers were delegated to NCRD under section 79 of Information Technology Act, 2000 to perform the functions under clause (b) of sub-section (3) of section 79 of IT Act, 2000 and to notify the instance as per the order issued.
The meeting was convened ahead of upcoming hearing before Supreme Court on plea by NGO Prajwala highlighting availability of child porn and rape videos online while seeking measures to check this. The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, NSA Ajit Doval, Director of Intelligence Bureau. In this meeting, ways to filter objectionable materials, including rape videos on laptops and smartphones were discussed. It was also decided to share list of 500 key words used in searching such child porn and rape videos with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
NCRB is nodal agency under Home Ministry for authentic source of data on crime on various parameters including accidents, suicides from across all the states of the country and prisons for policy matters and research. It was established on 11 March 1986 as the central police organisation. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It is implementing and monitoring agency of Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a Mission Mode Project under National e-Governance Plan of Government. It also imparts training in Information Technology (IT) and Finger Print Science for Indian Police Officers as well Foreign Police officers. It publishes 4 annual publications on Crime, Prison Statistics, Accidental Deaths & Suicides and Finger Prints. These publications serve as principal reference points on crime statistics.
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.
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.
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.