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Cyber Surveillance: Softer Laws For First Time Offenders, Dedicated Monitoring Agency & More

– The home ministry and IT department are reportedly working on softening the IT Act with graded responses for cyber crimes involving teens and first-time offenders, according to a report by TOI. Although the discussions over the graded response are still at a nascent stage, the report states that a graded response involving a warning, and parental guidance for first-time offenders will be invoked instead of a penal action, straight away under the Information Technology Act.

The report also stated that National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) was instrumental in mooting the idea of softening the response to net crimes. Currently, under the IT law, uploading and disseminating objectionable, sexually explicit and communally sensitive messages, images and videos can lead up to seven years of maximum penalty. Read more.

– The Government of India (GOI) is planning to set up a dedicated cyber surveillance agency to monitor the web and social media networks for malicious content, according to a report by TOI. This is in response to the recent turmoil caused by the alleged misuse of the Internet in last few weeks. The cyber surveillance agency will keep an eye on the web content that gets published on the public domain. If they agency finds any content with a potential to create an unrest forewarn security agencies and state police for taking preventive steps.

However, such agency will be put forward only after considering issues such as individuals’ privacy and citizens’ freedom of speech/expression. This matter was discussed at a recent meeting chaired by national security advisor Shivshankar Menon. Read more.

– Chandigarh’s Henna Bakshi and Kamalpreet Singh were booked under the IT Act for posting abusive messages on  the Union Territory traffic police’s Facebook page. Under the IT act, the charges levelled against her are non-bailable and she could be seen serving a jail time of three years.

On August 15, Bakshi posted abusive comments on the Union Territory traffic police’s Facebook page after the police failed to address her complaint about the theft of her car, which was stolen on August 11. Read more.

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