The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) will set up a cyber cell as part of a pilot project to conduct in-depth research on online harassment of women and girls.
The Commission will seek the cooperation of police and social networking sites for redressal of online complaints received by it, said DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal in a letter to Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi.
Maliwal congratulated Gandhi for her decision to address harassment of women and girls in cyberspace, especially on social media networking websites, saying “it is the duty of the government to ensure that women and girls are able to use the cyberspace and social network without any fear of harassment.”
“DCW is already in talks with Twitter Inc. and Facebook to explore the possibility of directly referring complaints of online harassment to them for immediate action.
“Not only will the proposed cyber cell aid women and girls in distress but also the information that will emanate from such an initiative can play a pivotal role in shaping policies that can protect women and girls from cyber abuse. Through this initiative, we can ascertain the extent of implementation of the present laws and policies, identify loopholes if any, in the same and give recommendations to the government to improve the same,” Maliwal said in the letter.
The Commission, she said, has already identified some potential roadblocks for there are many impediments to immediate removal of abusive content or blocking of abusive users in micro-blogging sites.
“For instance, we have observed that the rate of resolution of complaints against abuse occurring in vernacular languages in social networking sites appears to be lower as they have not allocated resources to properly assess the same. Therefore, these complaints are seldom resolved.
“We have also realized that sharing of profile information of an abusive individual is shrouded in a maze of privacy restrictions and guidelines, making it difficult to obtain data from these micro blogging sites. Finally, because many cyber offences are cognizable in nature, the response of the police force also needs to be significantly strengthened to handle such forms of complaints,” she said.
Maliwal also sought an appointment with Gandhi in order to discuss further avenues of cooperation in this regard.
“Internet permeability is occurring rapidly and in order to ensure that women and girls benefit equally from the increased access to the World Wide Web, it is imperative that we recognize and eliminate obstacles to the same.
“Sad NCW dismissed Maneka ji idea of protecting women from online abuse. Setting up such cyber cells v much a duty of women commissions,” Maliwal tweeted.