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In First-Of-Its-Kind Move, MHA Plans To Block Mobile Numbers Involved In Cyber Crimes

NEW DELHI: In what could be a first-of-its-kind step, the government is considering blocking mobile numbers associated with cybercrime in real-time.

The strategy is being examined by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as part of a bigger plan to combat cybercrime effectively.

According to MHA officials, the government is also thinking about building a national-level cyber-crime database to identify and track perpetrators.

Citizens can report cybercrime through a National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. Officials said the goal is to improve the portal’s effectiveness.

According to an official, the recommendation to restrict cellphone numbers was made during the recent DGP-IGP summit, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah attended.

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Prevention and detection of cybercrime must be prioritised, which necessitates the establishment of a national-level structure to trace, block, and reclaim funds from fraudsters.

It is also necessary to block numbers and International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) codes associated with such frauds in real-time. The IMEI number is a 15-digit number that is unique to each mobile handset.

Stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) standards for banks, wallet providers, and telecom service providers are also on the government’s agenda.

This measure is anticipated to reduce cybercrime, such as financial fraud, stalking, data theft, online harassment, fake news, and disinformation campaigns, to a great extent.

According to a top government official, the rising incidence of cyber crimes in India is impeding ambitions to promote digitalisation in the country.

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Digitisation is the way forward, and many individuals are benefiting from the digital push. However, financial fraud is preventing some people from using the internet. As a result, one of the government’s top priorities is to combat cybercrime.

Aside from making modifications to the system for dealing with cybercrime, efforts are being made to increase inter-agency and inter-state coordination for effective cybercrime control, as well as to raise awareness.

In 2020, India registered 50,035 occurrences of cybercrime, an 11.8 per cent increase over the previous year.

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