In an attempt to keep a more stringent check on the activities of cyberspace, the government of India is now asking its citizens to help them monitor and report cybercrimes. In February 2021, the Union Home Ministry of India initiated a Cyber Crime Volunteers Program under the Cybercrime Coordination Center (I4C). Under this program, ordinary citizens can sign up as cybercrime volunteers to help identify fraudsters who indulge in cybercrimes or circulate illegal content.
What is a Cybercrime?
Cybercrime refers to all illegal activities carried out in the digital space using a computer or an internet network. Due to the rapid advancement in digital technology, unlawful cybercrime activities are also rising. Different types of cybercrimes are:
- Identity Theft
- Social Engineering
The Cyber Crimes Volunteer Program
The program has been launched to facilitate a common connection between ordinary citizens and the government to prevent and report cybercrime. Since its launch in 2021, the program aims to appoint a minimum of 500 cybercrime volunteers. Volunteers can register themselves under three major categories:
- Cyber Volunteer Unlawful Content Flagger – no prior verification required
- Cyber Awareness Promoter – prior verification and authentication required
- Cyber Expert - prior verification and authentication required
Who Can Be a Volunteer?
Every citizen of the country, aged 18 or above, is welcome to come forward and join the Cybercrime Coordination Center as a volunteer. However, the centre is particularly looking for some academicians, technical experts, and cyber professionals who can tackle various problems that arise in the cyber world. The objective behind this is to create a diverse ecosystem of volunteers from both public and private sectors who can effectively prevent, identify, investigate, and prosecute cybercrimes and unlawful content.
How to Register as a Cyber Crime Volunteer?
Kindly refer to the steps below to register as a cybercrime volunteer:
- Visit the official portal of the Cybercrime Coordination Center.
- Create a login ID and fill in all the required details like name, address, and mobile number.
- Complete the OTP verification.
- Fill out the required details under ‘User Volunteer Profile Details.’
- Upload all the required documents, like a resume, ID proof, and passport size photograph.
- Choose the type of volunteer you want to be.
- Mention valid reasons why you want to be a cybercrime volunteer along with your skillsets.
- Click on ‘Submit’ after previewing your final submission.
- Wait for KYC verification if applied for Cyber Awareness Promoter or Cyber Expert.
Reporting by Cybercrime Volunteers
Every cybercrime volunteer is expected to report the cybercrime on the official portal. All the crimes on the portal can be reported under two main categories, crime against children/women and other cybercrimes.
Crime Against Women/Children
Under this category, volunteers can report complaints involving minors and women like child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit content, etc. Under this category, a complaint filed once cannot be withdrawn.
All the other cybercrimes can be reported under this category, like online identity theft, crypto-jacking, cyberstalking, cyber trafficking, malware, ransomware, etc. Unlike the first category, a complaint filed under this category can be withdrawn if need be.
The Indian government has given no clear information regarding how the program can be misused. Hence, cyber crime volunteers need to follow a strictly ethical and moral code themselves. Volunteers are also expected to maintain strict confidentiality and are prohibited from using the name of the Ministry of Home Affairs outside their volunteering work.
FAQs on Cyber Crime Volunteer
Q.1. Are cybercrime volunteers paid?
This is a voluntary activity, and no kind of financial reimbursement is provided.
Q.2. What if cyber crime volunteers are caught falsely reporting?
In such cases, the cybercrime volunteer will be charged under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Q.3. Who started the Cybercrime program?
The Union Home Ministry of India initiated the Cybercrime Volunteers Program under the Cybercrime Coordination Center (I4C).
Q.4. Are there any documents required for registering as a cybercrime volunteer?
All cybercrime volunteers must submit their resume, ID proof, and passport size photograph.