GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
QUESTION NO. 2899
ANSWERED ON 18TH JULY 2019
Digital Exploitation of Children
Will the Minister WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT be pleased to state:
(a)Whether Government proposes to create a permanent institutional framework to monitor and regulate online content that falls under the category of digital exploitation of children and create awareness and proper accountability measures to reduce online child harassment; and
(b)The further action taken by Government to protect children from digital sexual exploitation/abuse in the country, expedite the disposal of such cases and create public awareness against it keeping confidentiality of the complainant?
MINISTER OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
(SHRIMATI SMRITI ZUBIN IRANI)
(a)” Police” and “Public Order” are State subjects as per the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes including crimes related to exploitation of children; through their law enforcement machinery. The law enforcement agencies take legal action as per provisions of law against persons involved in digital sexual exploitation/ abuse of children. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has adequate provisions to deal with prevailing cybercrimes. Section 67B of the Act specifically provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form. Further, sections 354A and 354D of Indian Penal Code provide punishment for cyber bullying and cyber stalking against women.
(b)Details of further action taken by the Government are placed at Annexure.
1.Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a scheme namely ‘Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC)’ under which an online Cyber Crime reporting portal, (www.cybercrime.gov.in) has been launched to enable public to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/ Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content. This portal facilitates the public to lodge complaints anonymously or through Report and track option. Steps have also been taken to spread awareness, issue of alerts/advisories, training of law enforcement agencies, improving cyber forensic facilities etc. These steps help to prevent such cases and speed up investigation. A handbook on Cyber Safety for Adolescents/Students has been released (Copy available on www.cybercrime.gov.in and www.mha.gov.in) and sent to all States/ Union Territories for wide circulation. Cyber Crime awareness campaign has been launched through twitter handle (@CyberDost) and radio across the country.
2.The Ministry of Women and Child Development had enacted the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) as a special law to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. Section 13 to Section 15 deals with the issue of child pornography.
Section 14 and Section 15 lays down the punishment for using child for pornographic purposes and for storage of pornographic material involving child.
Further Section 28 of the POCSO Act 2012 provides for establishment of Special Courts for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences under the Act.
Section 43 of the POCSO Act, 2012 provides that the Central Government and every State Government takes all measures to give wide publicity to the provisions of the Act. In accordance with this, MWCD has taken various steps from time to time to create awareness of the provisions of the POCSO Act through electronic and print media, consultations, workshops and training programmes with stakeholders concerned. Further, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) are also mandated to monitor the implementation of the POCSO Act, 2012.
3.Government has taken a number of steps to be implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to protect children from sexual abuse online. These include:
(i)Government blocks the websites containing extreme Child sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) based on INTERPOL’s “Worst-of-list” shared periodically by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is the National Nodal Agency for Interpol. The list is shared with Department of Telecommunications (DoT), who then directs major ISPs to block such websites.
(ii)Government ordered major ISPs in India to adopt and disable/remove the online CSAM dynamically based on Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), UK list.
(iii)MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) has implemented a major programme on Information Security Education and Awareness (ISEA). A dedicated website for information security awareness (https://www.infosecawareness.in) has also been set up.