Blocking of social media URLs on the rise, suggests government data

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The number of cyber crimes reported during 2014, 2015 and 2016 stood at 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317, respectively.


Social media URLs blocked on the recommendation of a government committee have increased from 10 in 2014 to 652 till June 2017, while those blocked on court orders during the same period came down from 432 to 83, the Lok Sabha was informed.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir also informed the House that the number of cyber crimes reported during 2014, 2015 and 2016 (provisional data) stood at 9,622, 11,592 and 12,317, respectively. The minister presented the data for the number of social media uniform resource locators (URLs) blocked during the last three years.

The data shows that a number of social media URLs blocked on the recommendation of the government committee under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act were 10 in 2014, 587 in 2015, 964 in 2016 and 652 till June 2017. It shows that 432 URLs were blocked through court orders in 2014, 632 in 2015, 100 in 2016 and 83 in 2017. The response says data for 2016 and 2017 (till June) is for blocking under Section 69A of the IT Act, based on court orders.

“Based on inputs received from designated nodal officers from central/state government departments, a mechanism for blocking of social media content/account under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 and on the basis of court orders, is available in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,” he said.

The government committee which recommends blocking of offensive content on social media is headed by a senior officer of the Home Ministry. “As per information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total no. of 44,679, 49,455, 50,362 and 27,482 cyber security incidents were observed during the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (until June), respectively,” he said. ALSO READ: Most users can’t detect fake news on social media: Research

Considering the fact that cyber attacks and cyber crimes, in general, have global and pan-India character, state wise estimates of losses suffered are not available, Ahir said. “As per information available, National Investigation Agency has investigated 20 ISIS-related cases in which it has been established that social media/the internet has been widely used to radicalise people. Such incidents are also registered in police stations across the country for which consolidated information is not available,” he said.

The minister said the government has adopted National Cyber Security Policy with a focus on capacity building, skill development, training, cyber research and development and international cooperation. The government has taken a holistic and comprehensive approach to strengthen cyber resilience and to defend its cyberspace from malicious activities, including cybercrime, he said. Ahir said Digital India has been underpinned by in-built cyber security measures and processes. ALSO READ: Researchers develop system to detect sarcasm on social media 

“National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) is a designated agency to protect the critical information infrastructure in the country. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) coordinates with all Internet Service Providers regarding cyber security incidents and response action,” he said.