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MHA tells States to register more FIRs for cybercrime

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all States to examine and register FIRs based on the complaints received on National Cybercrime Reporting Portal- www.cybercrime.gov.in.

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As per data available with the Ministry, only 2.5% of total complaints registered on the portal are converted into First Information Reports (FIRs).

Through the portal, MHA also aims to raise a group of “cybercrime volunteers” to flag “unlawful content” on the Internet.

“Good Samaritans are welcome to register as Cyber Crime Volunteers in the role of Unlawful Content Flaggers for facilitating law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removal of illegal / unlawful online content,” says the website. The unlawful content is categorised as content against the sovereignty and integrity of India, against defence of India, against security of the State, against friendly relations with foreign States, content aimed at disturbing public order, disturbing communal harmony and child sex abuse material. The volunteers will have to submit photograph, name and address proof to be enlisted as a volunteer.

Also read: Cybercrime: Online payment systems to be prime targets in 2020

Low conversion

Since its launch last year, the portal has received over 2 lakh complaints, but FIRs have been registered only in 5,000 cases. A senior government official said that on an average around 1,000 cybercrimes complaints from across the country are received. The rate of conversion of complaints to FIRs is very low. In July, of the over 30,000 complaints registered, only 273 FIRs were registered, the data shows.

The portal was launched on August 30, 2019 to help people report all kinds of cybercrimes on a centralised platform. An earlier version of the portal launched in September 2018 on the directions of the Supreme Court, catered only to complaints of child pornography, sexual harassment crimes against women and children. The total number of complaints received against child pornography, rape and gang rape from January-September this year stood at 13,244.

On February 4, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy had informed the Rajya Sabha that from August 30, 2019- January 30, 2020, as many as 33,152 cybercrime incidents were reported on the portal where 790 FIRs were registered by the concerned law enforcement agencies.

Also read: Cyber crimes on the rise during pandemic, says U.N. disarmament chief

Rising numbers

According to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of registered cybercrimes increased by 63.5% in the year 2019 compared to the previous year.

A total of 44,546 cases were registered under cybercrimes compared to 27,248 cases in 2018. In 2019, 60.4% of cybercrime cases registered were for the motive of fraud (26,891 out of 44,546 cases) followed by sexual exploitation with 5.1% (2,266 cases) and causing disrepute with 4.2% (1,874 cases).

The portal has started a helpline only for victims of financial cyber fraud in Delhi who can dial the number 155260 or report the incident on www.cybercrime.gov.in.

On receiving the complaint, the designated Police Officer after verifying the matter will report to concerned bank and financial intermediary or payment wallet, etc., for blocking the money involved in the cyber fraud. “Use of this facility will help a victim of financial cyber fraud in retrieving the money and help Police in identifying the cyber criminal[s] and take legal action as per law,” MHA said.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 3:24:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mha-tells-states-to-register-more-firs-for-cyber-crime/article32997209.ece

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