The government is planning to bring in a piece of legislation to deal with the rising number of cyber crimes, including the misuse of internet and mobile phones.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told the Assembly on Friday that it had come to light that women and under-aged girls in the state were subjected to lot of fraud and torture through the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Orkut.
Against this backdrop, a draft law is being formulated, for which preliminary discussions have been held with women MLAs’ and leaders of women empowerment organisations, the Minister said.
Replying to a calling attention motion of C Mammootty, the Minister said that it was estimated that in Kerala, which had a population of over 3.25 crore, there were around three crore mobile phone connections and more than 15 lakh internet connections. The extent of misuse is growing along with the rise in the number of mobile phones.
In the absence of stringent laws, pornographic sites in the internet can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, he pointed out. If the number of cases on mobile phone misuse in 2009 was 42, it rose to 106 in 2010 and 240 in 2011. But in the current year, as on July 3, the number of cyber crimes registered is 139.
The number of cases registered for the misuse of social networking sites is also on the rise, from just four in 2009 to 16 in 2010 and 32 in 2011.
In this year, so far, 32 cases have been registered already. With regard to the e-mail crimes, the cases had risen from 17 (2009) to 70 (2011), whereas in the current year, already 44 cases have been registered.
Internet pornography cases also climbed up, with the first half of this year accounting for nine cases. In 2009, such cases registered were only two.
Mammootty said that the situation was turning grave with the state setting records as second in the country noted for crimes such as posting women in nude after morphing their images. While Andhra Pradesh accounted for 98 such cases, Kerala followed with 85 cases.
He pointed out that the number of cyber complaints in Kerala in 2011- 12 was a whopping 12,600, which was registering a consistent rise when compared to the past years.
In many cases, animosity and blackmailing for money are also being detected as reasons, he said.
Though a slew of measures to zero in and investigate the cyber crimes at the district and state-levels are in vogue, much more is needed to stem the tide, the Minister observed.
“The government is keen to protect the privacy and decency of our sisters and mothers”, he said. Awareness programmes are being regularly conducted at the school and college-levels to address the vulnerability of youngsters to the menace.
At present, action is being taken under the provisions of IT Act, Indian Penal Code and Copy Right Act, when a cyber crime is detected, he said.