India: Kerala police in drive to bust child porn, demystify dark web

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There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Thiruvananthapuram: Police in Kerala have intensified the drive against digital child porn, picking up few dozens of people over the past week from different parts of the state, and is also attempting to demystify the dark web, a hub of internet-enabled crimes.

A week ago, as many as 370 cases were registered in a surprise police drive against child pornography. The operation titled ‘P-hunt 21.1’ also witnessed arrest of 28 people from different parts of the state.

Police have been tracking the sharing of paedophile pornographic content in recent years, and the latest arrests and cases were the result of action by a team of 310 police personnel, coordinated by district police chiefs.

Additional director general of police, Manoj Abraham, who is also the nodal officer of the state’s cyber dome that tracks cyber crimes said simultaneous searches were conducted at nearly 500 centres, and mobile phones, memory cards, hard drives and similar devices were seized, alleged to contain incriminating material.

More time on net

“If you consider the life spent in the physical world and life spent in the virtual world, the proportion is increasing in the virtual world and reducing in the physical world. So the crime pattern will also shift”, Manoj Abraham told Gulf News.

“Internet has made crime an international phenomenon in the sense that the issue of jurisdiction has changed. Earlier we used to have, say, bank heists. Today, someone sitting in a country can do a bank fraud in a different country through the internet”, Abraham said.

Using available software, police are already able to track uploading or downloading of paedophile content from anywhere in the country, and it is only jurisdictional issues that are stopping police from making arrests in other states.

Demystifying dark web

Abraham says the dark web was a hub of international crime where sales of arms and drugs and several other criminal activities flourished. The state police force is focusing on demystifying the dark web in order to crack down on crimes enabled by it.

“What the dark web offers is anonymity, and we want to tear that mask apart. We are trying to harness freely available resources through crowd sourcing towards building one unified solution to demystifying the dark web”, Abraham said.

This year’s hackathon organised by Kerala Police titled ‘HacKP’ is focused on such a crowd solution to unravel the dark net.

Community policing

Besides the progress in tackling paedophile activity on the web, Kerala Police has also made advances in implementing community policing norms, that have a citizen orientation in policing.

“The game changer was Kerala’s decision to legislate in 2011 the guidelines given by India’s apex court and create the Kerala Police Act, 2011. That gave a head start to the state police department in implementing citizen-friendly policing,” former state police chief and former head of India’s external intelligence agency, Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), P.K. Hormis Tharakan told Gulf News.

Indian Police Act, 1861 had defined police functioning all over India for 150 years until the Kerala Police Act, 2011 came into being, changing the manner of police operations in Kerala.