After the gory gang rape in Delhi which has attracted unprecedented national attention, the Government of India which is directly in charge of the security of the National Capital, Delhi has announced that they will start a national database of Rape Convicts in an attempt to “Name and Shame” offenders as a “Deterrence”.
“Naming and Shaming” has been earlier suggested for “Bank Defaulters”, “Corrupt Politicians”. In South Africa it has been suggested for “Drunken Drivers”. However it is not clear if the scheme has succeeded.
First of all any database of this nature runs the risk of being breached by hackers and modified. Modifications may mean removal of select entries or insertion of wrong entries to defame some body. Knowing the record of information security of the Government of India a lot has to be done for maintaining a secure data base of this kind. This however need not be the reason to discredit the move. But one technical problem that needs to be addressed is whether the names entered here will be that of “Convicts” or “Accused”.
I feel that if a person is convicted of rape charge he will them be found inside a jail and not outside. It will therefore be of no use to defame them as they are already recognized as convicted criminal and any database of convicted criminals will contain their name.
Of course naming and shaming of accused will be effective but there will be unconfirmed accusations which make entering the names of “Accused” impractical. Since there will be many legislators in this list, it is also difficult to see how the suggestion will ever be implemented if “accused” are to be named.
There will also be issues of “Why only rapists? and Why not all criminals?”.
The move therefore appears to be a knee jerk reaction and not of much practical value.