Save the internet

Trust and safety starts with safeguarding vulnerable groups on the Internet

Another key aspect is that while the world views online child safety and women’s cyber safety as two separate issues, India still treats and classifies it as a single subject.
IT spending across the world is expected to total $3.9 trillion in 2021.

By Kanishk Gaur

While the world rattles with accepting or not accepting changes in a major messaging platform’s privacy policy, a key question that remains unaddressed is the trust and safety of the vulnerable population?

In India, law enforcement agencies have been battling the bigger issue of cooperation from tech companies/platforms, to share data given the rapid increase in crime against women and children.

The affordable smartphone revolution has helped the population in hinterlands get access to thousands of app broadcast and share content. With no formal education, training on using the internet and internet-enabled platforms, users are uploading viral content, which is hateful, extremist, violent and dangerous.

This includes children performing extremely dangerous stunts. While platforms make enough effort to use algorithms, tracing and tracking down content is a crucial challenge.

While the minimum age for accessing any social media and messaging platforms remain 13 years, millions of underage children access these platforms in India.
With apps offering live video recording feature, any kind of content can be made live on social media platforms.

India has the largest youth population in the world and almost all are using these platforms. Thus, the platforms, which are popular among youth, need to offer safety and security features, and educate the youth on do’s and don’ts’ of social media.

India also needs a central and as well distributed authority to monitor content on social media. The much-debated data protection law, if implemented, could offer a solution to this problem with central regulatory body monitoring and regulating guidelines ensuring trust, safety and privacy.

Another key aspect is that while the world views online child safety and women’s cyber safety as two separate issues, India still treats and classifies it as a single subject. The central and state government divide on tackling this issue is another key problem as crime against children and women remains within the domain of the state police bodies, whereas perpetrators reside in multiple states.

Countries such as United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have made significant effort to track crime against children perpetrated through use of technology. WePROTECT Global Alliance is one such initiative launched by the UK government.

WePROTECT Global Alliance is an international movement dedicated to national and global action to end the sexual exploitation of children online. Ninty-eight countries across the world are signatory to it.

Indian Government must ask schools to train children, adolescents about online best practises. It should also make platforms responsible for teaching kids basic hygiene.

Author is founder, India Future Foundation. Views are personal

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