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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS :India’s cyber infrastructure needs more than patches

Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Linkage of organised crimes with terrorism, Right to privacy etc
  • Mains GS Paper III: Linkage of organised crimes with terrorism, implications of cybercrimes on security etc

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), from 12,317 cases of cybercrime in 2016, there were 50,035 cases registered in 2020.
  • In India, cybercrime is increasing with the increased use of information and communication technology (ICT).

 

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INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Cybercrime:

  • It is defined as a crime where a computer is the object of the crime or is used as a tool to commit an offense.
  • Cybercrimes are at an all-time high, impacting individuals, businesses, and countries.

 

Types of Cybercrimes:

Issues in India related to Cybercrimes:

  • No procedural code: There is no separate procedural code for the investigation of cyber or computer-related offenses.
    • The broad ‘guidelines for the identification, collection, acquisition and preservation of digital evidence’ are given in the Indian Standard issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
  • Shortage of technical staff: There have been half-hearted efforts by the States to recruit technical staff for the investigation of cybercrime.
    • It is only a technically qualified staff who could acquire and analyze digital evidence rather than regular police officers without training.
  • Issues with cyber labs: The cyber forensic laboratories of States must be upgraded with the advent of new technologies.
    • Offenses related to crypto-currency remain under-reported as the capacity to solve such crimes remains limited.
  • Trans-national crimes: Most cyber crimes are trans-national in nature with extra-territorial jurisdiction.
    • India has extradition treaties and extradition arrangements with 48 and 12 countries, respectively.

 

Judgements related to deficiencies:

  • Arjun Pandit Rao Khotkar vs Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal & Ors: The Court held that a certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence (IE) Act was a mandatory prerequisite for the admissibility of (secondary) electronic record if the original record could not be produced.
  • Nupur Talwar vs State of U.P. and Anr: The Allahabad High Court observed that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) expert was not provided with the details of the Internet logs, router logs and laptop logs to prove whether the Internet was physically operated on the fateful night.

 

 Steps taken by India:

 

Way Forward

  • Responsibility of states: With ‘police’ and ‘public order’ being in the State List, the primary obligation to check crime and create the necessary cyberinfrastructure lies with States.
  • Infrastructure deficit: Though the Government of India has taken steps that include the setting up of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with all types of cybercrime, much needs to be done to plug the infrastructural deficit.
  • Standard and uniform procedures: As electronic evidence is entirely different in nature when compared with evidence of traditional crime, laying down standard and uniform procedures to deal with electronic evidence is essential.
  • Digital evidence by courts: As resolved in the Conference of the Chief Justices of the High Court in April 2016, a five-judge committee was constituted in July 2018 to frame the draft rules that could serve as a model for the reception of digital evidence by courts.
  • Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Center (CyPAD): Since there is now a state-of-art National Cyber Forensic Lab and the Cyber Prevention, Awareness and Detection Center (CyPAD) of the Delhi Police, there may be an extension of professional help to States in getting their labs notified.
  • Data localisation: In most social media crimes, except for the prompt blocking of an objectionable website or suspect’s account, other details do not come forth quickly from large IT firms abroad.
    • Therefore, ‘data localisation’ must feature in the proposed Personal Data Protection law.
  • Online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM): As the police still get CyberTipline reports on online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from the U.S.’s non-profit agency, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
    • It would be a step forward if India develops its in-house capacity and/or makes intermediaries accountable to identify and remove online CSAM for immediate action by the police.
  • Funds to develop infrastructure: The Center and States must not only work in tandem and frame statutory guidelines to facilitate investigation of cybercrime but also need to commit sufficient funds to develop much-awaited and required cyber infrastructure.
  • State governments should build up sufficient capacity to deal with cybercrime: It could be done either by setting up a separate cyberpolice station in each district or range, or having technically qualified staff in every police station.
  • Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000: It insists that offenses registered under the Act should be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of an inspector.
    • As police inspectors are limited in number in districts, and most of the field investigation is done by sub-inspectors.
    • Therefore, it will be pragmatic to consider a suitable amendment in Section 80 of the Act and make sub-inspectors eligible to take up investigation of cybercrimes.

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Discuss different types of Cybercrimes and measures required to be taken to fight the menace.(UPSC 2020)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

  1. What is the CyberDome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India.(UPSC 2019)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)