Interview | Arvind Tiwari Mumbai

‘We need robust legal framework’

There is a need for a robust legal framework to deal with the increasing cyber crime, said Arvind Tiwari, president of the Indian Society of Criminology, and dean, School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. In an interview to The Hindu, the professor talked about the role of personnel with specialised training in tackling such crimes. Excerpts:

Has there been a rise in cyber crime in Maharashtra in the last two years and what type of cyber crimes are witnessed today?

Cyber crime is an increasing phenomenon. It is committed through phishing on email; social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Skype; app-based cabs — Ola and Uber; and online portals like Amazon. There is also an increase in frauds related to ATMs, internet banking, and mobile banking. Then you have ponzi schemes and chit funds.

Arvind Tiwari

Arvind Tiwari  

What are the measures adopted to deal with cyber crimes?

The Maharashtra police have set up cyber labs, which are headed by police officers. But they need to set up cyber police stations at district level like the one we have at Bandra Kurla Complex.

What is the expertise required to crack them?

We need information technology (IT) experts, who should either be engineers or trained in IT. The police need people with science and technical background, who ought to be apprised of the new forms of cyber-related crimes. For example, how many police officials are aware of lottery-related emails, WhatsApp messages, and similar gimmicks on social media? The police should give training like the one given by agencies like KPMG, which does a lot of forensic audit. So, we can have police officers go to IIT or any other institution and take some specialised training.

Why is it challenging to tackle cyber crimes?

Dealing with cyber crimes is challenging. If you see the example of Facebook, people give out all their private details. So, it is easy for hackers to profile these people. We need dedicated personnel to look into it, right from the police to the prosecution to Magistrates and Judges. Educational institutes should include components of cyber crimes in their syllabus.

What are the elements required for a solid investigation?

At the police level, two to three things should be done. One of them is the standard operating procedure on the investigation into cyber crimes, computer-related crimes, or social media-related crimes, because one form is different from the other.

Do we have strong cyber crime laws?

We have the IT Act, the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, the Indian Telegraph Act, and the Bankers Book of Evidence Act. But we need data privacy, and cyber security laws need to be strong. We don’t have a robust legal framework for cyber crimes. As they are of international nature, somebody sitting somewhere commits a crime. So there is a need to strengthen the IT Act and frame new laws.

Are there any convictions under cyber crimes?

Yes, there have been convictions but the figure may be in single digit. So we have to find the lacuna and fix them. Also, conviction shouldn’t be the motto of the criminal justice system even in cyber crime. But, the process should be tightened right from the registration of the crime to investigation to prosecution.

Do people have responsibility to reduce the rate of cyber crimes?

Definitely, the consumer has to be sensitised. People should be advised about what they should not do. Like, don’t disclose your account numbers, your passwords, and don’t entertain fake calls. We as people should modify our behaviour, but we are also greedy; someone tells us if we put a sum in bank, it will be doubled or tripled, we do it and get trapped.

Will there be an increase in cyber crimes?

Cyber crimes will increase in the future. This will be a real threat because we are becoming a digitalised society and cash payment is being discouraged by the government. So we are looking at new types of cyber crimes.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 8:29:27 AM |

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