Cybercrime, generally, means any internet activity which constitutes an offence. With the increasing use of computer and other gadgets based on internet, a wide range of new crimes have evolved in the society. Such offences are governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000 as amended thereof (the Act) in India.
In the recent times, there have been instances of circulation of malicious content such as hate speech, child pornography, fake news, etc through WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and/or other such social media platforms and has many a times instigated people to take violent and aggressive actions such as mob lynching, etc, thereby causing public nuisance and public disorder.
In view of the above, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently decided to form a panel under the Joint Secretary, Cyber and Information Security Division of MHA (Panel), for the purpose of monitoring cybercrimes at periodic intervals on social media platforms and other cyberspaces and for curbing the spread of offensive content which violate the provisions of laws in India. Thereafter, the Union Home Secretary, MHA would review the information collected by the Panel to determine whether the cooperation of any concerned social media platform is required during the conduct of any criminal investigation, etc.
The MHA has intimated various social media platforms to outline strategies and mechanism to address obscene material and disturbing content circulated through their platforms. WhatsApp has recently developed a new feature that labels forwarded messages as ‘Forwarded’, thereby informing the receivers that the sender has not created the message.
Further, the MHA has intimated the law enforcement agencies including the police to ensure that any form of objectionable material is blocked or removed or any other reasonable action may be taken to address the situation. Therefore, this may ensure that there is no violation of the provisions of the Act and/or any other law time being in force.
Senior Legal Associate
Amity Law School, Jaipur
The Indian Lawyer