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Jammu and Kashmir Police looking to recruit ‘cyber volunteers’ who’ll report ‘anti national’ content to govt

The Jammu and Kashmir Police is looking for “cyber volunteers”, who can flag content on social media that is “anti national”, or promotes “radicalisation”, among other things, and report those to the government. Apart from that, the police is also looking to onboard volunteers who can create awareness about cybercrimes, and cyber experts for dealing with specific domains of cybercrime, forensics, network forensics, malware analysis, memory analysis, and cryptography among others. Free speech advocates fear the move may have a chilling effect on online speech, and result in increased self-censorship. Multiple calls made to the Jammu and Kashmir cybercrime cell went unanswered till publication. That the statement comes from the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been subject to unprecedented online communication curbs since the abrogation of its statehood in August 2019, makes it even more significant. A ban on high-speed 4G mobile internet in the region—which was in place for well over 550 days—was lifted on February 6. Journalists have also been slapped with sedition charges in Jammu and Kashmir and arrested for allegedly sharing “anti national” content on social media. The program to recruit such cyber volunteers was launched by the Union Home Ministry for “facilitating law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and removal of illegal / unlawful online content”. The Delhi Police, which falls under the control of the Union Home Ministry, has already recruited such cyber volunteers to amplify their social media posts, especially on Twitter. No disclosure of relationship with govt allowed Interestingly,…

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