“Cybercrime Volunteer Programme” – No Centralised list of Volunteers Maintained

What is the News?

Union Home Ministry has said that it does not maintain a centralised list of volunteers enrolled under the cybercrime volunteer programme. The ministry also said that it is because the police is a “State subject” under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

What is the issue?

  • A Right to Information Act(RTI) application was filed to know the total number of volunteers applied under the Cybercrime Volunteer Programme.
  • But the Union Home Ministry replied to claim for such information directly to the respective States and Union Territories. As it does not maintain a centralised list of volunteers enrolled under the cybercrime volunteer programme.
  • Further, the Ministry said that “police” and “public order” were State subjects in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Hence, the States were primarily responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement agencies(LEAs).
 About Cybercrime Volunteer Programme:
  • Firstly, the Ministry of Home Affairs launched the Cybercrime Volunteer programme.
  • Secondly, the programme aims to bring together citizens to contribute to the fight against cybercrime in the country. The scheme also aims to assist State/UT in their endeavour to curb cybercrimes.
  • Thirdly, under the programme, citizens can register themselves as Cyber Crime volunteers. They will help the law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removing illegal/unlawful online content.
  • Fourthly, the program is a constituent of the National Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit. This unit is in turn a part of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre(I4C) scheme.

Click Here to Read more about Cyber Volunteers Programme

Concerns against the Programme:
  • Culture of Surveillance: Internet Freedom Foundation(IFF), a digital rights group has said that the programme enables a culture of surveillance. The IFF also mentions that the programme could create a potential social distrust by encouraging civilians to report the online activities of other citizens.
  • Chances of Misuse: There is no information available on how the Ministry will ensure that the program is not misused to extract misguided personal or political vendettas.

Source: The Hindu

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