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MHA to keep an eye on online content

social media Updated: Jan 17, 2012 14:42 IST
Aloke Tikku
Aloke Tikku
Hindustan Times
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Now, it is the home ministry’s turn to red flag social networking sites for the risk they expose children to. Picking up from where telecom minister Kapil Sibal left it, the home ministry has stressed on monitoring social networking sites which host obscene material that induces children to sexually explicit acts or crimes.

The ministry has told states it was “essential to monitor and regulate” these websites and to train teachers, cybercafé owners and parents on deploying parental control software to mitigate spoofing of age, gender and identity.

‘In appropriate cases, the police should request social networking sites to remove undesirable contents,” B Bhamathi, additional secretary at the home ministry said in her letter to all state police chiefs and chief secretaries.

Bhamathi suggested that police officers “carry out undercover cyber patrol operations” to identify internet criminals, lure them out by posing as minors and send them to jail.

The advisory – aimed at nudging states to prevent cyber crimes targeting children – comes in the backdrop of social networking sites such as Facebook facing flak from telecom minister Kapil Sibal as well as courts for their failure to act against individuals uploading objectionable material on their websites.

The missive was issued over mounting concerns within the home ministry at the net-savvy generation being exposed to child pornography, harassment, cyber stalking and cyber bullying online.

“The younger generation which uses the internet and other online technologies for staying connected… is more vulnerable to targeted cyber-crime,” the home ministry advisory – that encouraged states to seek help from specialised central agencies – said.