While the Justice Dharmadhikari committee in its report has suggested that offending and obscene content on the web and social networking sites should be clamped down on, cyber experts and the police are unsure about how monitoring the internet could be arranged.
When asked about the steps they could take to control such content online, an officer from the cyber wing of the Mumbai police confessed they were struggling to concentrate on cyber crimes like credit card frauds and phishing, which did not leave them much time to keep tabs on potentially explicit content derogatory to women.
The official, however, added: “Our officers from time to time do engage in cyber patrolling, an exercise where an officer browses various sites to look for illegal or inflammatory content.”
But cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said that the internet is too large to be monitored, which is why for the past few years, several attempts like filtering websites using keywords have failed. “Also, certain websites are hosted by servers in foreign countries, hence it’s not easy to block all sites,” he said. He added that as obscenity was subjective, what’s obscene in one country might not be so in another.
Another expert Vicky Shah mentioned that not only do various intermediaries like cyber cafés and telecom operators have an important role to play, but the general public can self-regulate as well. “Internet users should take steps like putting up only low-resolution photos on networking sites, as this would lessen the possibility of photographs being morphed.