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India’s initiative for cyber crimes against women and children

In a press statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that the main objective of the Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children (CCPWC) scheme is to develop effective mechanisms to handle cyber crimes against women and children in the country.

According to India’s Constitution, the police and public are State subjects, this means that the State is primarily responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crime through their law enforcement machinery.

Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) take legal action in line with the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, 2000 against cyber fraud and offenders. The CCPWC is one of the Ministry’s initiatives to enforce these laws.

Key components of the CCPWC include an online cybercrime reporting platform, a national-level cyber forensic laboratory and a capacity building unit.

According to the Ministry, the online platform is a central citizen portal under the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems) project. Using this portal, a cybercrime victim can file a complaint, the portal will then provide a central repository to identify the cybercrime. The complaint will be used and published in the annual analytical report regarding cybercrimes, their trends and remedial measures.

The portal also includes a repository of references to law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the national, state and local level for cybercrime-related information.

The CCPWC’s forensic laboratory properly collects and preserves evidence related to cybercrime and its analysis in line with the provisions of the IT Act.

The laboratory is operational around-the-clock and is equipped with the latest forensic tool setup that is accessible to all States and Union Territories (UTs).

The forensic unit consists of a team of cybersecurity professionals that carry out thorough electronic forensic studies and assist the LEAs in forensic analysis across the country.

Through programmes under the CCPWC capacity building unit, police officers, judges and prosecutors are trained to handle cybercrime cases specifically ones that involve women and children. In April 2018, the North Eastern Police Academy (NEPA) conducted a five-day course on ‘Cybercrime Investigation’ for twenty-three officers from the Meghalaya Police Force.

Around US $13.2 million has been issued to the country’s States and UTs for capacity building and to establish other cyber forensic training laboratories.

The scheme also facilitates cybercrime awareness activities and R&D. In fact, the Ministry has received several proposals to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for R&D in cybercrime prevention and control.

The CCPWC’s Awareness Creation unit provides a well-defined citizen awareness programme that outlines cybercrime dos and don’ts as a proactive mitigation initiative. Awareness about cybercrime is introduced in schools at the early stages of education as a component of the school curriculum.

The Ministry has released a handbook on cyber Safety for adolescents and students. Through its Twitter (@CyberDost, Hindi for ‘friend’) and radio campaigns that are broadcast across the country, the Government hopes to spread awareness against cybercrimes and to teach Indian citizens how to use technology to protect themselves.

The press release said that a helpline to report cyber complaints under the scheme is yet to be operationalised.

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