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India to Develop Fraud Checking Framework for E-Commerce Websites

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has announced it will develop a framework to identify fake reviews on e-commerce websites. After studying the present mechanisms followed by e-commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, DoCA will formulate the framework, a press release wrote.

During a recent meeting, DoCA, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), and various stakeholders like consumer forums, law universities, trade associations, and consumer rights activists discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites. Since e-commerce revolves around virtual shopping experiences without the opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on product reviews posted on e-commerce platforms.

According to Secretary DoCA, Rohit Kumar Singh, traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues. E-commerce players must disclose how they choose to display the “most relevant reviews”, ideally fairly and transparently, he stated.

Participants at the meeting agreed that the issue requires close monitoring and an appropriate framework to govern fake reviews must be developed to protect consumer interests. Stakeholders from e-commerce companies claimed that they have frameworks in place by which they monitor fake reviews and would be pleased to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue.

Experts at the event highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest. Paid reviews, unverifiable reviews, and the absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews make it challenging for consumers to recognise genuine reviews.

Cybercrimes incidents like fraud are becoming more common as the world grows increasingly digital. The government is working to protect citizens, public agencies, and private organisations against cyber-attacks by launching cybersecurity initiatives, workshops, and training sessions. Earlier this year, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) launched a cybersecurity handbook for women and children.

C-DAC also developed a wireless communication network and an android-based mobile device to secure the smartphone ecosystem. The TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) communication network is based on TETRA technology for critical communications. The mobile device helps the users identify security and privacy misconfigurations and provides advisories related to locking the device, password protection, and notification settings to avoid leakage of OTPs. It makes the user’s device a better platform for mobile governance, e-commerce, and mobile payments, among others. It is available for free download on app stores.

In April, the National Security Advisor held the National Cyber Security Incident Response Exercise (NCX) event. It set out to train 140 senior management and technical personnel in government and critical sector organisations on how to handle and respond to contemporary cyber threats. As reported on OpenGov Asia, participants explored key cybersecurity areas like intrusion detection techniques, malware information-sharing platforms (MISP), vulnerability handling and penetration testing, network protocols and data flows, and digital forensics.

The programme aimed to help strategic leaders better understand cyber threats, assess readiness and develop the necessary skills for cyber crisis management and cooperation. The exercises helped develop and test cybersecurity capabilities, teamwork, planning, communication, critical thinking, and decision-making.

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