National Conference on Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws-2008- An Overview
“As Curtis Karnow says, it is in this digital soup, this hyper-relational environment, that we see the death of the barrier. . . . What we have today, is the network, and the death of dichotomy. This is fatal for the legal system, which depends, for its very life, on the existence of barriers- after all, that's what the law does: it punishes the transgressor”.
On the 7th of February, 2008, Agra, the city of the Taj, became the proud host to the first-ever National Conference on Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws to have been organised by the Uttar Pradesh Police. It left its organisers proud at their maiden effort, and the participants happy at the fruitful learning experience.
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It all began with an informal meeting at the Office of the DIG Agra Range, Agra, Sh. Kamal Saksena, the moving-force behind the Conference, in December 2007. The thought initially was to organize a District- level Seminar. Soon enough, and before anybody could realize it, the idea had metamorphosed into one of a National-level Conference. This took things to a totally different plane, and to a higher orbit. Virtually the entire leadership of Indian Police would be converging in at Agra. Their transportation, stay, venue of the Conference, Guest Speakers, all had to be taken care of. The DIG Agra Range, true to his meticulous ways, put together a Team, and formed them into independent, yet inter-linked Committees. The then SSP Agra, Sh. Naveen Arora played a pivotal role in several of these Committees.
Several sleepless nights, and multiple days of multi-tasking later, came the D- Day, the 7th of February, 2008. Heads of CPMFs, all State Police forces, and all District/ Sub-divisional level Police officers from Uttar Pradesh were invited. The DGP, Uttar Pradesh Police was its Chief Guest.
A logical question would be, why was this Conference being organised at all?
The following may be counted as the major Objectives of the Conference:
- To begin with, there is an ever-increasing role of networked computers in our lives:
This is true for our jobs, e.g. , in the Police, as part of CCIS, networking is being leveraged to form crime-,and criminal-data-bases, by pooling in information from Police Stations across the State or Country; similarly, the Uttar Pradesh Police has recently kick-started the process of launching CIPA across the State. With its implementation, the record-maintenance aspect of the Investigation process will be fully computerised, right from registration of FIR onwards.
Computers are also gradually taking over,our daily routine chores , as shopping, banking transactions, payment of bills and so on. In fact, people are also choosing their life-partners using Information Technology!
Clearly, we are increasingly becoming dependent on computers.
Combined with such dependence sadly, is our lack of awareness of this technology, and its risk factors. Thus we see people asking computers to remember their e-mail passwords, even in Cyber-cafes. Similarly, people write their ATM passwords on pieces of paper. Most of us do not use original software for our computers, not even when it comes to Anti-virus software.
As a result of such ignorance, Cyber Crime is increasing in India today. Thus, we have Credit Card frauds, Password thefts, malicious circulation of viruses, spam e-mail, hacking into websites of Defence and Commercial organizations, and so on.
This is putting to severe risk, socio-economic development in our country, of which, IT is today the driver. Directly, there are various e-commerce ventures contributing to the GDP, and indirectly, IT and its tools lend precision, sophistication and speed, to nearly all economic enterprise.
Especially for us in Uttar Pradesh, given the different manifestations of Cyber Crime, the policy of the Government demands a direct attack on this menace. Thus, it is the commitment of the Government of Uttar Pradesh to provide to people, an environment free of fear, injustice and crime. If Cyber Crime is allowed a free run, such an environment cannot be ensured. Abuse of social-networking sites and on-line distribution of pornographic content is a threat to the dignity and safety of women and girls, a top priority of the Government. Similarly, if Cyber Crime impedes socio-economic development as seen already, it also hinders thereby, the progress of the weaker sections, again a focus area for the Government.
- And with Cyber Crime defying the definitions of Crime as we know it, there is obviously the need for new legislation to combat it as well. It is this legal stream that is today called, Cyber Law. It too needs to be explored by the Police, the primary enforcement agency of the State for Criminal Law.
Leading up to the Conference was its Curtain Raiser, on the 6th February, at the auditorium of St. Peter’s College, Agra. It was presided over by the IGP, Kanpur Zone, Sh. SN Singh. Besides setting the stage for the Conference, it also contributed towards achieving its objectives-
The need to generate awareness among Parents. They must know the dangers lurking behind the corners of the Information Super Highway that the Internet is. Only then can they better protect their innocent little ones, who are either unaware of, or are careless about, the intrigues of rogues on the Net.
Young users of the Internet, the children themselves, too need to be made aware of the dangers to which they are exposed, when they enter the Cyber Space
- To generate a wider public debate on the Internet, and thereby on, the acute need for a discussion on Cyber Crime & Cyber Laws.
It saw interesting Demonstrations on cutting- edge technology by Sh. Vikas Raizada, a Research Scholar at Agra, specializing in CDMA and GSM technology. For eg., he demonstrated shutting- off of a running car through SMS.
The venue of the Conference itself, was the Convention Centre of Hotel Jaypee Palace, Agra. To delve upon the major issues related to Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws, four eminent Guest Speakers had been invited.
Sh. M. Krishna is an Assistant Government Examiner of Questioned Documents at Hyderabad, and an expert in Cyber Forensics. He kicked-off proceedings with his Presentation on the Capabilities and Limitations of his field- Cyber Forensics- the discovery, analysis, and reconstruction of evidence extracted from any element of Computer Systems, that allows Investigators to solve the crime. He spoke about the cardinal rules of computer forensics, the computer forensics process, the hardware and software involved, and anti-Forensics- practices that undermine computer forensics.
Sh. Rakesh Aggarwal is an IPS officer of the 1994 batch, borne on Himachal Pradesh Cadre, presently on deputation to the CBI, New Delhi. He spoke about Enforcement of Cyber Law by the Police, the present scenario, and also laid down, a roadmap for the future. He began with the prevalent Cyber Law in India, and went on to discuss shortcomings of the Police in tackling Cyber Crime. As part of the roadmap, he suggested an effective legal framework plugging the loopholes in cyber law today, and capacity- building in the Police, including, Public- Private Partnerships.
In the post-lunch session, Sh. SD Mishra, ACP Cyber Cell, Delhi Police, spoke about the Investigation of Cyber Crime, and presentation of Evidence in Court. He began with a definition of Cyber Space and Cyber Crime, and went on to the technical aspects of Cyber Crime investigation, challenges faced in it, like, poor record-keeping by Internet Service Providers, their solution, as training of investigators, inter-agency cooperation, and a tighter regulatory framework.
Sh. Pavan Duggal is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a Member of the .Org Advisory Council.He spoke about Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws in India. He started off his Presentation with a few Case Studies on invocation of Cyber Law in India. He then delved at length on the IT Act 2000. He closed his address with a suggestion to amend the Act in the light of new challenges like social networking and emergent Cyber Terrorism.
Before they came on stage, as a conceptual introduction to the Conference, Sh. Rakshit Tandon, a Computer Expert from Agra dealt with the different forms of Cyber Crime in India today, and our vulnerability to it- Spam, Spoofing, Phishing, Cyber Stalking and so on.
A highlight of the Conference was the address by the Chief Guest, Dr. Vikram Singh, IPS, DGP, Uttar Pradesh Police. He spoke about the changing dimensions of Policing and the need for Police to adapt itself to the realities of the Cyber Age. He also declared the setting-up of a Cyber Complaints Redressal Cell, at the Agra Range Head-Quarters at Agra. It would be a demonstration of the earnestness of UP Police to protect children from abuse on the Net, and to strengthen capability in the Police to counter Cyber Crime.
The IGP, Kanpur Zone, Kanpur, Sh. SN Singh proposed a Vote of Thanks for the Chief Guest.
The Conference ended with the DIG Agra Range, Agra expressing the hope that the Conference sets-off a tradition, and institutionalizes into an annual feature, thereby helping the Indian Police renew its preparedness to tackle an ever-mutating and an ever-evolving foe, Cyber Crime.