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Net crime shield for women

New Delhi, Sept. 3: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has proposed making cyber crimes against women non-bailable offences along with other measures such as a “right to be forgotten” provision in the IT Act and compensation.

The recommendations are part of a panel report, the first of its kind by a government agency on the issue, submitted to the government.

The report, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, comes at a time cyber crimes against women are on the rise in the country.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, out of a total 5,693 police complaints on cyber crimes in 2013, around 1,203 — over 20 per cent — related to “obscene publication/ transmission (of obscene material) in electronic form”.

In 2012, of the 3,477 cases, 589 (16 per cent) related to offences against women, with the number of arrests rising from 497 to 737 over the two years.

The “right to be forgotten” provision seems to draw on a European Court judgment that offensive contents should be removed from search engines and social media. The Luxembourg-based court had in May asked Google to remove links to any content that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” or face a fine.

The NCW report stressed that the “right to be forgotten” should be given the status of a fundamental right.

Another key suggestion is to make an online “uniform identification number” mandatory under the law, with the aim of track down offenders who seek to exploit the Web’s anonymity. “There is no policy in any law to create a uniform ID number systemů(this) can be used to verify identity while creating profiles/accounts in the social media,” the report said.

The NCW had also termed the current penal provisions in the IT Act and the IPC on online crimes against women “insufficient”. It has suggested that the punishments be enhanced from the current six months to a year, to between three and five years, and up to seven years in grave offences.

While the report said both the IT Act and the IPC should be amended to make them more women-centric, it criticised the infotech law for focusing more on “commercial frauds”.

“The IT Act is not constructive enough to deal with cyber crimes against women. This law was made to concentrate on commercial frauds and, as such, it has not highlighted creation of enough forensic labs to assist the investigation in crimes, especially crimes targeting women. Neither this act nor any policy emphasises on training of police officers to deal with cyber crimes against women,” the report states.