CYBERCRIME VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME
It was launched by the Ministry of home affairs in March.
It is a constituent of The National Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit which in itself is a part of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) scheme, launched in january.
It has allowed registered volunteers citizens to act as spies on the social media platform.
They have been bestowed with the responsibility of judging if the post threatens the sovereignty of the nation and the public order, international order and child rights and alert the national-level agency.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) and the Ministry of Home Affair have allowed a person to register as a ‘Cyber Volunteer Unlawful Content Flagger’ even without fulfilling the requirement of any prior verification (KYC).
The scheme was launched as a part of cyber hygiene promotion to bring together citizens to contribute in the fight against cybercrime in the country and assist State/UT in their endeavour to curb cyber crimes.
Issues associated with it:
The Internet Freedom Foundation had asked the MHA to withdraw the programme immediately. As the offences included in the scope of this programme and in the ‘National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal’ are already cognizable and can be reported to the police by any person. Therefore, there is a lack of clarity of the necessity of this programme.
Further, as there is no verification required and the nature of the position itself is voluntary, it absolves the I4C and the MHA of any liability or guilt in cases of misuse.
It lacks any underlying legal framework or Standard Operating Procedure in place. Thus there is no regulation of the functioning of this programme and definite parameters, making it arbitrary.