Keeping in tandem with the global needs of cyber safety and acknowledging the importance of cyber hygiene, National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and UN Women India today jointly organised a webinar on “Cyber Safety for Women and Girls” on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child coinciding with the National Cyber Security Awareness Month celebrations. The webinar marked the beginning of jointly launched series of initiatives by NeGD & UN Women India under the broader theme of ‘India’s digital dreams and cyber safety’ to encourage safe and equal online spaces for women and girls. The webinar acknowledged the gravity of rising cyber crimes and violence, and the need to encourage safe and equal online spaces for women and girlcelebrations. In his keynote address, Abhishek Singh, P&CEO, NeGD, CEO, MyGov & CEO and MD, Digital India Corporation emphasized on the need for enhanced cyber security awareness and noted that it is critical for all citizens to be digitally smart so that they don’t fall prey to cyber frauds, bullying, exploitation, cyber and gender-based violence.
He underlined various steps being planned and undertaken by the Government of India in this regard. “Through The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, brought out in February 2021, Government of India is bringing sanity to the social media platforms that are commonly used and ensuring that the rights of everyone, especially women and girls, are protected,” he said. Ms. Susan Ferguson, UN Women’s Country Representative for India, expressed her optimism towards bringing about awareness and attitude change. She said, “UN Women has a long-standing partnership with MeitY to advance the rights of women through various initiatives like Shri Shakti Challenge 2021 edition and UN Women stands committed to work with NeGD in building back a better environment by creating safer and equal cyberspaces for women and girls”. During the webinar, the panelists stressed upon the grave impact of cyber crime incidents on women and girls, and explained how the victims can be assisted. Ms. Vrinda Bhandari, Consultant, UN Women India shared, “Online violence against women is a serious cause of concern due to five broad factors – Anonymity, Accessibility, Perpetuity, Action at a distance, & Automation.
To assist a victim of cyber violence, four steps are needed viz. Support the victim, Record the incident, Block the offender and Report the offence & the offender.” Rakesh Maheshwari, Senior Director and Group Co-ordinator, Cyber Law & eSecurity at Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, highlighted the legal and technical aspects of cyber security, especially for women and girls. Speaking about the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, he shared that November 25, 2021 onwards, the Government is going to publicize in a big way the safety, security, & accountability features as available in the IT Rules, 2021. “We are going to come up with a set of FAQs on this particular document to ensure that people are able to understand it in simple language,” he said. Worldwide, the month of October is dedicated to Cyber Security and is observed as the “National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)”. The theme for NCSAM 2021 is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart”. The theme envisages that individuals and organisations own their role in protecting their part of activities in cyberspace. The webinar was successful in providing information on cyber safety protocols and simple and easy complaint process available for citizens to report cyber fraud and gender based cyber violence.