Internet age needs better international policing

Source– The post is based on the article “Internet age needs better international policing” published in The Times of India on 17th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Vulnerable sections. GS1- Social empowerment

Relevance– Sexual exploitation of children

News- This article explains the issue of online child sex abuse. It also explains the steps taken by India to deal with this challenge and suggests the way forward.

What are challenges associated with tackling online child sexual abuse?

Online child sex abuse is increasing exponentially. Large number of images and videos related to child pornography are available online.

Encryption makes it difficult to trace the source of these pornographic material.

The continuous production and distribution of such material demands for new and more bad images. It helps to further perpetuate the abuse of children.

Law enforcement agencies across various countries lack credible and coordinated response. There is a lack of real-time actionable data for investigation due to territoriality, complications in sharing data across countries and fake IDs.

What steps has been taken by India to curb such practices?

India has one of the largest populations of children in the world. The 2011 census shows that there are 472 million children below the age of 18.

Online child sex abuse is criminalised through IT Act and POSCO Act. It includes mechanisms for child-friendly reporting, recording of evidence and investigation through designated special courts. NCPCR monitors the status of POSCO implementation.

CBI has setup a dedicated cell to collect, collate, investigate and disseminate information regarding online child sex abuse. It has joined International Child Sexual Exploitation database by Interpol for support on child sexual abuse material.

CBI has also conducted three pan-India operations in recent years like operation Megh Chakra in 2022.

What is the way forward?

There is a need for a multidimensional fight against online child abuse. Criminalization o of offenses, proper investigation, identification of victims, and prosecution of offenders need to be ensured. Prevention and proactive detention and curbing the propagation are key to stopping such practices.

Children must be educated about the use of the digital world.

There is a need for synergy across law enforcement agencies of various countries.

Social media platforms need to develop protocols for proactive detention and blocking of such content.

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