C. Gouridasan Nair

Training programme for law enforcement agencies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As part of its global campaign to counter online child sex abuse, Microsoft, the global IT major, is reaching out to Kerala to curb computer-facilitated crimes against children.

Microsoft has teamed up with the Chennai-based NGO Tulir Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse to create greater awareness in society of online child sex abuse and to train law enforcement agencies on the technology to investigate online crimes against children. A training programme titled `Advanced Workshop on Cyber Crimes and Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children' will be organised by Microsoft and Tulir for Kerala Police in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the initiative.

This is the second training programme under the initiative, the first being in Ghaziabad.

Rakesh Bakshi, legal and corporate director, Microsoft (India), told The Hindu in a telephonic interview that Microsoft has brought in global experts to train Indian law enforcement agencies on technology to investigate online crimes committed against children. The course topics range from Malicious Software, Phishing, Botnet Attacks, Advanced Windows/XP Forensics, Windows Vista Security Enhancements and Log Analysis of specific methods used by predators to facilitate crimes against children such as use of technology to look for victims through newsgroups, chat rooms, and email and global sharing of abusive images and videos of children through the Net.

Mr. Bakshi pointed out that with the increasing usage of Internet, the potential for its abuse has also increased. It is increasingly important for computer users, policy makers and others to understand the risks that children could encounter online and the challenges law enforcement authorities face in countries world-wide on this issue. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in India alone, the proportion of cyber crimes is increasingly proliferating with 38.6 per cent rise in 2005 as compared to 2004, he said.

In April 2004, Microsoft, Interpol and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) had jointly announced the launch of the International Centre's Global Campaign Against Child Pornography. As part of this campaign, Microsoft has contributed 1.5 million U.S. dollars to develop and implement a global training program for law enforcement. This program is designed to educate law enforcement officers around the world on identifying and investigating online criminal conduct against children; how to interact with victims and prevent further abuses, key issues such as human rights, data protection and compliance with national laws and management of complex international investigations.

As of October 2006, more than 1,800 law enforcement officers from 93 countries have been trained in 19 regional training sessions around the world.