Government asks people to register as cybercrime volunteers to check unlawful online content
In a bid to keep an eye on the cyber world in a "coordinated and comprehensive manner", the government has asked common people to register as cybercrime volunteers to help check posts against the sovereignty of the nation, on child and women abuse and attempts to disturb the law and order situation.
The project known as Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) is an initiative of the Union Home Ministry. It was started in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir last week where the police issued a circular asking citizens to register themselves as volunteers.
The volunteers are asked to keep an eye on posts which are against the sovereignty and integrity of India, against the defence of India, against the security of the State, against friendly relations with foreign States, content aimed at disturbing public order, disturbing communal harmony and child sex abuse material.
A spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir police said that any Indian citizen can get associated with this programme by registering in any of three categories of cyber volunteers — Cyber Volunteer Unlawful Content Flagger, Cyber Awareness Promoter, and Cyber Expert.
While the first category will help identify illegal and unlawful online content like child pornography, rape, gang rape, terrorism, radicalisation, anti-national activities etc, the second category will help create awareness about cybercrime among citizens, including vulnerable groups like women, children, the elderly, rural population etc.
Cyber Expert category volunteer will help deal with specific domains of cybercrime, forensics, network forensics, malware analysis, memory analysis and cryptography.
While there is no prior verification required for the first category, a background verification of volunteers of other two categories will be done as per the norms of Know Your Customers (KYC) by the respective state governments and union territories.
The volunteers are required to furnish personal particulars like full name, father's name, mobile number, email address, residential address.
Once the registration process is complete, the details of the volunteers would be accessible to the Union Territory Inspector General of Police (crime branch) who is the nodal officer for cybercrime.
The I4C is an idea conceived to fight against cybercrime in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
"One of the important objectives of I4C is to create an ecosystem that brings together academia, industry, public and government in prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes," a document of the Home Ministry said.
This programme also envisages bringing together citizens with a passion to serve the nation on a single platform and contribute in the fight against cybercrime in the country.
The Home Ministry document made it clear that the programme is "purely volunteer" with no monetary benefits and a volunteer shall not use it for any commercial gain.
The volunteers are barred from issuing any public statement about their association with this program and are also "strictly prohibited" from using the name of Ministry of Home Affairs or claim to have an association with the ministry on any social media or public platform.
While asking volunteers to read Article 19 of the Constitution which deals with freedom of expression, the Home Ministry said that they shall maintain strict confidentiality of task assigned or carried out by them as a part of this programme, and any violations would lead to their re-registration.