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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
LOK SABHA
STARRED QUESTION NO: 26
ANSWERED ON:  03.02.2021
Digital Safety of Citizens
Pradyut Bordoloi
Will the Minister of



ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:-


Will the Minister of Electronics & Information Technology be pleased to state:-

(a) the existing content reporting mechanism made available to the users of digital services in the country by the Government;
(b) the steps taken by the Government to ensure digital safety of citizens, particularly women;
(c) the details of orders served by the Government to social media platforms to take down content hampering the digital safety of citizens during the last three years;
(d) whether the Government is maintaining data of sub-judice cases on cyber stalking, bullying and harassment across the country and if so, the details thereof, State/UT-wise; and
(e) whether the Government had any consultation with Social Media platforms on the aforementioned issues and if so, the details and the outcome thereof?


ANSWER
(a) to (e): A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.


STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO LOK SABHA STARRED
QUESTION NO. *26 FOR 03-02-2021 REGARDING DIGITAL SAFETY OF CITIZENS
..........

(a) and (b): Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) operates a National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, www.cybercrime.gov.in to enable citizens to report complaints pertaining to all types of cyber crimes with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children. As, “Police” and “Public Order” are State subjects, complaints reported on this portal are attended by the respective Law Enforcement Authorities of States/Union Territories. Further any unlawful content can be reported to police station.
MHA has also launched a programme for registration of citizens as ‘Cyber Volunteers’ on National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal to report for unlawful contents on the websites, social media etc including contents relating to women and children. Further, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) works with social media platforms to provide for ease of reporting by users of any abusive, harmful or unlawful content violative of their policy.

Government is committed for digital safety of people and has taken several steps that inter alia, include:

(i) There are adequate legal provisions to deal with digital safety of persons particularly women and children. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has adequate provisions to deal with prevalent cyber crimes including the ones related to women. Sections 66E, 67, and 67A of the Act provide for the punishment and fine for violation of bodily privacy and publishing or transmitting of obscene/sexually-explicit material in electronic form. Section 67B of the Act specifically provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form. Further, sections 354C and 354D of Indian Penal Code provide punishment for cyber bullying and cyber stalking.
(ii) Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 notified under section 79 of the IT Act require that the intermediaries shall observe due diligence while discharging their duties and shall publish the rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement for access or usage of the intermediary''s computer resource by any person; inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that is grossly harmful, harassing, obscene and invasive of another’s privacy or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever. The intermediary shall publish on its website the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details to address the grievances received from users and affected individuals / organizations. Intermediaries are also expected to remove any unlawful content relatable to Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India as and when brought to their knowledge either through a court order or through a notice by appropriate government or its agency or directed under section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.
(iii) Government periodically blocks the websites containing extreme child sexual abuse material (CSAM) based on INTERPOL’s “worst of list” received through Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the national nodal agency for Interpol in India.
(iv) Government has issued direction to concerned Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to work out a suitable arrangement for receiving Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), UK list of CSAM websites/webpages on a dynamic basis and block access to child pornography webpages/websites.
(v) National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has published a booklet on “Child Victims of Cyber Crime – Legal Tool Kit” as a guide for investigating officers for better understanding of the cyber crime related laws in simple language.
(vi) MeitY through a program, namely, Information Security Education & Awareness (ISEA), has been creating awareness among users highlighting the importance of following the ethics while using Internet and advising them not to share rumors/fake news. A dedicated website for information security awareness (https://www.infosecawareness.in) provides relevant awareness material. Under the progamme, 21 awareness workshops on Information Security exclusively for women have been organized covering 2,083 participants. The topics/content covered in these workshops includes cyber security, cyber stalking, online shopping, social media and privacy, password management, internet security, mobile security, browser security, online banking, instant messaging, etc. Besides this, an exclusive handbook namely ‘Information Security Awareness handbook for Women’, ‘Cyber Security tips for Women’ and ‘Online Safety tips for Women@Home during COVID 19’ have been designed. The awareness content designed/developed exclusively for women have been made available for download on the website https://www.infosecawareness.in/women.

(vii) MeitY on 20.03.2020 issued an advisory to major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Helo wherein the Intermediaries are urged to:

? initiate awareness campaign on their platforms for the users not to upload/circulate any false news/misinformation concerning corona virus which are likely to create panic among public and disturb the public order and social tranquillity;
? take immediate action to disable /remove such content hosted on their platforms on priority basis;
? promote dissemination of authentic information related to corona virus as far as possible.

(c): Section 69A of the IT Act empowers Government to block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above. The no. of websites/ webpages/ accounts blocked during the last 3 years are as follows :

Year No. of websites/webpages/accounts Blocked
2018 2799
2019 3635
2020 9849

The blocking of information for public access power is vested with Central Govt. and thus data for State/UT is not applicable.

(d): MeitY does not maintain data of sub-judice cases on cyber stalking, bullying and harassment.

(e): MeitY regularly interacts with social media platforms on issues related to spread of fake news, misinformation/disinformation on Internet. Social media platforms have implemented a number of steps to address the issue of fake news propagated using their platform.

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