Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cyber Crimes And Social Media Websites In India

Social media websites are popular places for building new relationships and contacts. However, social media websites are also becoming a place for cyber criminals to indulge in various cyber crimes. In fact, the share of offences related to social media websites among cyber crimes registered in India is showing an upward trend. Most of these cases are of posting defamatory or obscene matter or images on various social media websites.

For instance, Facebook users are experiencing attacks from hackers and morphed images having pornographic contents are being uploaded on Facebook accounts without the knowledge of actual users. Cases related to account hacking, morphed photographs and data laundering are very common these days.

Many crimes related to social networking sites involving personation, defamation and anti-national activities have been reported recently. Data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau shows that in cities like Bangalore, those between 30 and 45 years of age are involved more in cyber crimes than youngsters. The bureau records suggest that most cyber offences are for illegal gain, eve-teasing and harassment.

We have no dedicated social media laws in India although guidelines for social media contents monitoring in India may be prescribed. Although we have a cyber law in India in the form of information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) yet we have no dedicated social networking laws in India. The cyber law for social media in India needs to be strengthened further keeping in mind a balance between civil liberties and law enforcement requirements.

Human rights protection in cyberspace in India is also required to be considered by Indian government. Presently, protecting civil liberties protection in Indian cyberspace is not a priority for India and this is a serious problem.

For instance, till now we have no social media policy in India. Even we do not have dedicated social networking laws in India that can take care of the misuses of social platforms. However, the framework and guidelines for use of social media for government organisations has been recently suggested by department of information technology. Theses guidelines provide an Indian social media framework for governmental departments and organisations that employees of these organisations must follow.

Social media is considered to be an Internet intermediary as per Indian cyber law. The recent controversy of Internet censorship in India has once again reiterated the importance of effective social media laws in India.

Cyber law due diligence in India has become very stringent. This applies to various fields and to multiple stakeholders. For instance, cyber due diligence for banks in India is now a well known requirement for banks in India. However, Internet intermediaries are the most widely covered stakeholders in this regard. Intermediaries liability for cyber law due diligence in India is really tough and they must take it very seriously. Similarly, social media users must have basic level awareness about cyber laws and cyber crimes. Many of these cyber crimes can be prevented if public awareness about the same is spread in India.

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