Mumbai: Maharashtra Cyber to concentrate on online 'grooming' to curb child pornography

In order to prevent cases of child pornography the state's cyber wing, Maharashtra Cyber has decided to concentrate on online 'grooming' in which minors are targeted via multimedia platforms such as games and interactive applications, to sexually exploit or abuse the child victim and make them engage in sexual acts.

The parents these days are well aware of how their children could be vulnerable and monitor their social media accounts. Due to this reason nowadays paedophiles target children over different platforms that are mostly used by minors for playing games and where players can interact with others or in a close group. Such people try to befriend minors and ask for their mobile number or social media accounts details following which they start chatting with them.

After chatting for a while they begin talking obscene and convince the minors to do the same and further indulge them to perform sexual activities before the web camera and record everything. Such contents could be used either to blackmail them or for self addiction, sometimes they sell it to pornographic websites, said an official.

To curb the menace of child pornography, the state cyber wing had started Operation Blackface in 2019, and so far over 50 cases of child pornography have been registered in the state, while 13 incidents are under investigation. Since the past couple of months, incidents of child pornography has reduced to almost negligible, said a senior officer from Maharashtra Cyber.

Recently, the Interpol has provided a software called 'Crawler' to state police to help them track down child pornographic content uploaded online. The Crawler was built in algorithm which searches keywords related to child pornography automatically and alerts law enforcement agencies about the people or forums indulged in such activities. The software also has a feature of detecting nudity in images and in videos and recognising the victim’s age through facial structures.

Maharashtra Cyber have formed a special team which is dedicated to the Crawler. The team has 12 members including six officers, two consultants and four interns which also interacts with Interpol whenever necessary, said an official

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