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India: Onus of cyber-safety to vest with social media engines

November 12, 2018

Losing touch with the physical world around, the world is becoming increasingly glued to the social media over the cyber-world. A number of users take recourse to the online media for connecting with one another thus making the social media platforms very popular amongst them. Social networking plays an imperative part of lives of the people all around the world by offering an interactive, participative and open virtual community.

Potential Risks of using the Social media

While the social platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. connect the individuals separated at a large distance by integrating them on a unified electronic platform, these often serve as a source of criminal activities on the virtual space.

Notorious elements rely the power of technology to their advantage by using the same to carry out nefarious activities, spread of false information, sending offensive messages, identity theft, cheating by impersonation, stalking, harassment by threats, cyberbullying, fraud, illegal transaction, cyber-terrorism, violation of privacy, publishing or transmitting obscene material, etc.

Steps to curb the menace

In order to monitor and regulate the occurrence of crimes over the cyber-space, the Government has enforced the Information Technology Act, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) which provides penal consequences to the offenders of the online mode.

The Government makes constant efforts to curb the menace of cyber-crimes by devising policies and guidelines ensuring the safety of the personal and sensitive data being transmitted over the electronic media. With a view to enforce stringent regulatory mechanism, the Government may soon formulate a scheme to shift the responsibility of the content being transferred with the social media platform allowing such circulation.

[1]

With the new approach, the Government may hold the social media platforms accountable for the content shared through them by their users. Since these platforms use algorithms and artificial intelligence for their operations, it is believed that they can better regulate the content and its dissemination being made through their medium in furtherance of public safety. The Government recognizes the need of adequate precautionary measures and identification of source of the information by the social media platforms in order to ensure that they do not become the vehicles for conduct of criminal activities. This step of the Government may require the platforms to develop their controlling framework, policies and appointment of regulatory authority as a way to prevent their misuse. Unregulated participation in transferring unauthentic/ improper information in fact facilitates the execution of cyber-crime. Efforts are needed to filter the criminal activities by these social media engines.

[1] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/onus-of-keeping-social-media-safe-may-shift-from-users-to-facebook-whatsapp-telecom-secy/articleshow/65907922.cms

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