New Delhi: India will soon have a new cyber security policy, announced Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech on India’s 74th Independence Day Saturday.
Modi said that his government is aware of the threats emanating from cyber space and how they had the potential to impact India’s society, economy and development.
“Cyber security is a very important aspect, which cannot be ignored. The government is alert on this and is working on a new, robust policy,” he added.
The announcement was made in the backdrop of the government’s initiative to connect 1.5 lakh gram panchayats through optical fibre network, thereby increasing the country’s internet connectivity.
Policy needed to check increase in cyber crime
Modi said that when there is an increase in internet connectivity, cyber crime activity will also increase rapidly. This will happen with online transactions, data phishing activities and, therefore, a cyber security policy is a must to control cyber-related crimes.
“When the internet comes, there is always an increase in cyber crime risk. So we will soon come up with a new cyber security policy,” Modi added.
The Internet Crime Report for 2019, released by the USA’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has revealed that India stands third in the world among top 20 countries that are victims of internet crimes.
According to the report, the UK tops the list with 93,796 victims of internet crimes, followed by Canada, which has 3,721, and then India with 2,901 victims.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), cyber crimes in India almost doubled in 2017 from the previous year. In 2016, there were 12,317 cases reported, which spiked to 21,796 cases in 2017. In 2018, the number further rose to 27,248 cases.
The report said that most cyber crime cases registered were for the motive of fraud, followed by sexual exploitation and causing disrepute.
What will the policy entail?
The main aim of this policy will be to protect information and information infrastructure in cyberspace and build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats, said a government official.
According to the official, the policy will work on reducing vulnerabilities and minimising damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology and cooperation.
“The objective is to create a secure cyber ecosystem in the country,” he said.
The official added that the policy will strengthen the regulatory framework for ensuring a secure cyberspace ecosystem, which will further enhance and create 24X7 mechanisms for obtaining strategic information regarding threats.
Moreover, the policy aims at enhancing the protection of India’s critical information infrastructure.
According to the official, a workforce of professionals skilled in cyber security will be roped in for the purpose.
“This policy will enable protection of information and also effectively safeguard citizen’s data, (thereby) minimising chances of data theft and bringing down cyber crime in the process,” he said.
Apart from keeping cyber crime in check, the policy will also work on cracking down upon “misinformation being spread”.
According to a second government official, during the border tensions at the Line of Actual Control, Chinese and Pakistani social media activists had seemingly started campaigns on social media to allegedly spread misinformation against India.
“Spreading of such misinformation for propaganda also needs to be checked and will be a focus of the policy,” the official added.