India wants citizens to monitor social media sites for anti-national content

India anti-national content
Photo by szefei | Bigstockphoto

India has urged its citizens to become volunteers to report cybercrime related complaints including child pornography, rape, terrorism, radicalization, and anti-national activities. 

Under the new initiative, India has asked registered volunteers to monitor social media posts which are against the sovereignty, integrity and defence of the country. The initiative is already operational on a trial basis, as per various media reports.

This comes amid ongoing protests against new agriculture laws, which resulted in large-scale protests by farmers, mostly from northern states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 

Earlier this week, India asked micro-blogging platform Twitter to remove nearly 1,400 accounts related to farmers’ protest that it suspects to be linked to Khalistan sympathisers or backed by Pakistan. The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state, called Khalistan.

There is an on-going tussle between Twitter and India over the former’s move to restore about 250 accounts in the country. We reported that Twitter could face legal action if it fails to comply with repeated requests to delete about 1,400 handles.

The Indian government has launched the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir where local police issued a circular asking citizens to register themselves as volunteers.

“One of the important objectives of I4C is to create an ecosystem that brings together academia, industry, public and government in prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes,” a document of the Ministry of Home Affairs document revealed. 

According to media reports, any Indian citizen can be associated with this program by registering as cyber volunteers. There are three categories under which people can register as cyber volunteers: Cyber Volunteer Unlawful Content Flagger, Cyber Awareness Promoter and Cyber Expert.

Additionally, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has now launched “National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal” along with a helpline number to report cybercrime anywhere in the country.

The I4C program also envisages bringing together citizens with a passion for serving the nation on a single platform and contributing in the fight against cybercrime in the country, PTI reported citing the Ministry of Home Affairs document, which added that the program is “purely volunteer” with no monetary benefits.

Under the Cyber Expert category, a volunteer will help deal with specific domains of cybercrime, forensics, network forensics, malware analysis, memory analysis and cryptography, as per the PTI report.

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