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How safe are our children over the Internet?-Cyber safety law and policy in India Lina Acca Mathew Assistant Professor of Law Govt. Law College, Ernakulam.

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Presentation on theme: "How safe are our children over the Internet?-Cyber safety law and policy in India Lina Acca Mathew Assistant Professor of Law Govt. Law College, Ernakulam."— Presentation transcript:

1 How safe are our children over the Internet?-Cyber safety law and policy in India Lina Acca Mathew Assistant Professor of Law Govt. Law College, Ernakulam

2 Ministry of Women and Child Development: Study on Child Abuse: India 2007 Highest percentage of boys in Kerala are being exposed to dirty pictures among the states of India (86.7%). Among children being photographed in the nude, children in the category of 15- 18 in Kerala reported the second highest of 51.61%, topped by Mizoram (57.14%)

3 Kerala Most cyber crimes being reported are regarding Facebook and other social networking sites - defamatory/pornographic material posted on fake ids Various instances of sexual abuse of school girls being filmed on mobile camera have been reported Frequent chances of school children to visit pornographic sites at school and home.

4 The Hindu, KOCHI, June 26, 2013 National Crimes Records Bureau report Kerala topped the list of under-18 teens arrested for violating the Information Technology (IT) Act in 2012. Out of the cases registered under IT Act in the Kerala State, 147 were for publishing or electronic transmission of obscene material, which is the highest among other States.

5 The Hindu, KOCHI, June 26, 2013 The NCRB (2012) figures also gave an interesting insight into the changing mind-set of Kerala State: in 96 cases registered under cyber crimes, the motive was harassment of women 48 cases were for committing fraud or illegal gain 44 cases were for money 19 for causing disrepute to others. out of 312 persons arrested as suspects in cases for cyber crimes, 73 were neighbours, friends or relatives.

6 Risks faced by children over the internet 1. Privacy Intrusion- Online harassment/cyber bullying; Cyber stalking and Violation of body privacy 2. Exposure to sites offering illegal information 3. Exposure to online fraudsters 4. Exposure to online sexual predators--- soliciting children for sexual favours 5. Production and viewing of child pornography 6. Children watching age-inappropriate content like adult pornography

7 1. Online/Mobile harassment/Cyber bullying and Cyber stalking Harassment through electronic means by sending grossly offensive or menacing information, and persistently causing annoyance, injury, insult etc punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine- Section 66A, Information Technology Act

8 Violation of Body Privacy Capturing the image of a private body part (of a child) is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or both- Section 66E, Information Technology Act

9 2. Exposure to sites offering illegal information The Computer Emergency Response Team India (CERT-In) has been given authority under the Information Technology Act 2000 to block such websites 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 vide Section 69A read with Section 70B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

10 Rule 4(4) of the Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011 specifies that a minor without photo Identity card shall be accompanied by an adult having any of the documents specified for identity proof. Rule 6(3) states that any Cyber Cafe having cubicles or partitions shall not allow minors to use any computer resource in cubicles or partitions except when they are accompanied by their guardians or parents.

11 3. Exposure to Online Fraudsters Punishment for identity theft for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to rupees one lakh is specified under Section 66C of the ITA. Punishment for cheating is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees under Section 66D of the ITA

12 4. Exposure to online sexual predators of children Section 67B of the ITA criminalises abusing children through the medium of information technology. This would mean all kinds of abuse including online solicitation for further offline abuse. Punishment for first conviction is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with a fine which my extend to ten lakh rupees.

13 5. Usage of children in creation of child pornography and viewing of child pornography The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, to which India is a signatory, defines child pornography as any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes. Section 67B of Information Technology Act punishes the creation, publication, downloading and browsing of child pornography with imprisonment of either description up to 5 years and Rs. 10 lakh fine. Section 28 of the POCSOA gives jurisdiction to the Special Court (Childrens Court in every district) to try cases relating to children under Section 67B of the ITA

14 Section 13 of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSOA) punishes the using of a child in any form of media for the purposes of sexual gratification, including representation of the sexual organs of a child, usage of a child engaged in real or simulated sexual acts (with or without penetration) the indecent or obscene representation of a child. Punishment is awarded under Section 14 of the POCSOA.

15 Section 14, POCSOA Punishment for Section 13 offence alone is imprisonment up to 5 years and fine, and for subsequent conviction, imprisonment up to 7 years. + penetrative sexual assault--Not less than ten years imprisonment to life imprisonment + fine +aggravated penetrative sexual assault- Imprisonment for life +fine +sexual assaultnot less than 6 years imprisonment up to 8 years + fine +aggravated sexual assault– not less than 8 years imprisonment up to 10 years + fine

16 6. Online access to children for viewing age- inappropriate content like adult pornography Children watching age-inappropriate content results in children misusing the internet and inadvertently getting abused as a result. Viewing of any pornography other than child pornography is not an offence in India. So any person including a child who merely views adult pornography is not committing a crime (so long as there is no publication/transmission of such obscene and sexually explicit material which is prohibited under Section 67 and 67A).

17 Recently hundreds of children under 18 years of age gathered together in Gurgaon for a sex and smoke party. The message was circulated through Facebook. Thereafter, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in Delhi High Court against Facebook and Google-hoisted Orkut to prevent children under the age of 18 from entering social media networking sites and thereafter being lured into illegal activities, either knowingly or unknowingly. The PIL urged for guidelines to be framed for protection of the online safety of children. The counsel for Facebook submitted that the site operated under the US law wherein a child below 13 is not allowed to open an account. When the court asked Facebook why its site does not carry a notice stating that children under the age of 13 were not permitted to open accounts, the reply was that the Indian Information Technology Act and Rules do not make such a requirement necessary.

18 US legislations for regulating access of children to inappropriate content The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) allows children under the age of 13 to open a social networking account with the consent of their parent or guardian. But there are very strict guidelines to follow if such a child under 13 is to operate such an account. As a result of the heavy restrictions, usually US social networking sites altogether ban children under 13 from opening an account with them.

19 US legislations (continued) The Childrens Internet Protection Act of 2000(CIPA), provides that in order for public schools and libraries to receive federal funds and grants, they must certify that they have installed filtering technology that prevents adults and minors from accessing material deemed harmful to minors in school premises. Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to Tend Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act,2003 regulates the use of Misleading Domain Names which deceives a minor into viewing material harmful to minors. Such a person who knowingly uses such a misleading domain name can be fined and/or imprisoned for a period up to 4 years if the viewer is a minor.

20 U.K. legislation In addition to various legislations, Britain has a hotline of the British Telecom, which screens websites hoisting inappropriate content. A list of these websites are compiled by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a not-for-profit organisation that runs in collaboration with government, industry, the police and the public. ISPs, mobile network operators, content providers and search engines such as Google and Yahoo are provided with a copy of the list and are encouraged to remove access to websites listed on it. The law also enables police to forward the personal details of people who have accessed illegal content to banks, who will cancel their credit cards as a breach of service. Additional internet surveillance is conducted by the UKs Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

21 Virtual Global Taskforce Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT)-- international partnership of law enforcement agencies that helps to protect children from online child abuse. The current VGT members include 1)Australian Hi-Tech Crime Centre / Australian Federal Police (AFP) (2)Royal Canadian Mounted Police (3)United Kingdom: Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOPC) (4)U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (5)Interpol (6) the Korean National Police and (7) the Indonesian National Police. 21

22 Recommendations- Legislation Legislation is required which places liability upon every website operator in India to take reasonable steps to ensure and protect children's safety online, including restrictions on the marketing to those under 18 years of age. Such legislation should place criminal liability upon a website owner for the use of Misleading Domain Names which deceive a child below 18 into viewing obscene or sexually explicit material. Every Social Networking site should hoist a notice stating that every child below 18 accessing social networking sites shall provide verifiable consent from a parent or guardian.

23 Recommendations- Legislation Legislation is needed in order to enable police to forward the personal details of people who have accessed illegal content to banks. Banks thereafter would be required to cancel credit cards of such persons as a breach of service. All schools shall mandatorily have an e-safety policy. There shall be compulsory installation of filtering devices in all schools which provide internet facilities for students. Updating of filtering software and submission of due diligence reports regarding the same to be done compulsorily in all such schools.

24 Is there a Need for an E-child safety Policy for Kerala As understood from various reports, school children in Kerala are in the clutches of viewing pornographic material, which has wider social ramifications, like children growing into abusers, harassment of women children abusing other children. Also access to illegal material, fraudsters, terrorist organisations etc could be another dangerous trend.

25 Recommendations – Policy for Kerala As a first step, a state-wide E-safety policy compulsorily requiring all schools in the state to install e-filtering technology could be mandated. Media propaganda regarding e-safety in schools and homes could be concurrently given. At the next level, the State Child Rights Commission could formulate its own reports regarding the status of e-safety in schools in each district. At the third stage, legal liability upon the head of the institution and/or school managements for violation of the E-safety policy can be placed.

26 The way forward Contacting the cyber cell of concerned district to report cyber crimes involving children. Sensitization of social- service workers, healthcare practitioners, education imparters, law enforcement officers, photo developers, IT professionals, ISPs, credit card companies and banks about the need to collect statistics as well as report suspected internet child abuse including child pornography.

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