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Boost for battle against child porn

india Updated: Jan 21, 2007 03:11 IST

As India grapples with the Nithari nightmare, our first organised platform to counter law-enforcers at the CBI Academy is on its way. The United States-based International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Microsoft and Interpol are training Indian law-enforcers at the CBI Academy in Ghaziabad and Thiruvananthapuram on how to track down offenders who abuse the Net through blogs, photos, films, and file sharing.

“This initiative comes to India after 21 sessions across the world,” says ICMEC’s Guillermo Galarza Abizaid. “For now it is a basic course. We will wait for the government to get back to us for a more advanced session.”

Already 93 Interpol-member countries have participated in the programme. “Germany has been the best implementer with law enforcers and legislators working in tandem,” says Interpol’s Yves Rolland.

Currently, Indian legislation on cyber sex crimes against children is extremely fuzzy, says Vidya Reddy of the Chennai-based TULIR-Centre for Prevention & Healing of Child Sexual Abuse. "There are three reasons why drastic measures are needed,” she says. “Child sex tourism, which has increased in India following crackdowns in Sri Lanka and Thailand; increasingly younger Internet users; and our social milieu where children are not taken seriously on such matters.”

Microsoft’s Rakesh Bakshi says the company will be monitoring IP hits and behavioural pattern of MSN, Hotmail and Messenger users. "There are no statistics in India that measure the gravity of the crime, but cyber crimes overall increased by 38.6 per cent in 2005," he says. “We hope to create awareness that will impel legislation.”

Currently, all five of ICMEC’s guidelines — legislation specific to child pornography, child pornography defined, computer-facilitated offences, simple possession, ISP reporting — are followed by only the US, France and South Africa. India does not follow even one.

“The government has to wake up and take note,” says Reddy. But, she adds, the fact that Nasscom’s Cyber Security Conference in Chennai next month will devote an entire session to child sex abuse is an encouraging move.

Email Sushmita Bose: sushmita .bose@hindustantimes.com

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