From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Indian evidence act
Mains level : Cybersecurity
- There has been a steady spike in cases of cybercrime in the last five years.
- Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. While most cybercrimes are carried out in order to generate profit for the cybercriminals, some cybercrimes are carried out against computers or devices directly to damage or disable them.
What data states?
- India reported 52,974 cases of cybercrime in 2021, an increase of over 5 per cent from 2020 (50,035 cases) and over 15 per cent from 2019 (44,735 cases), according to latest government data.
How many cyber criminals are caught in India?
In 2020, over 18.4 thousand people were arrested on account of cyber-crimes across India.
Who is responsible for cyber security centre or state?
- With ‘police’ and ‘public order’ being in the State List, the primary obligation to check crime and create the necessary cyberinfrastructure lies with States.
- At the same time, with the IT Act and major laws being central legislations, the central government is no less responsible to evolve uniform statutory procedures for the enforcement agencies.
Status of cyber investigation
- There is no separate procedural code for the investigation of cyber or computer-related offences.
- 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.
What are general guidelines for cyber investigation?
- The broad ‘guidelines for the identification, collection, acquisition and preservation of digital evidence’ are given in the Indian Standard IS/ISO/ IEC 27037: 2012, issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
- This document is fairly comprehensive and easy to comprehend for both the first responder (who could be an authorised and trained police officer of a police station) as well as the specialist (who has specialised knowledge, skills and the abilities to handle a wide range of technical issues).
- The guidelines, if followed meticulously, may ensure that electronic evidence is neither tampered with nor subject to spoliation during investigation.
What is the meaning of digital evidence or electronic evidence?
- Digital evidence is information stored or transmitted in binary form that may be relied on in court. It can be found on a computer hard drive, a mobile phone, among other places. Digital evidence is commonly associated with electronic crime, or e-crime, such as child pornography or credit card fraud.
Arjun Khotkar vs Kailash Gorantyal Judgement
- The Court held that a certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence (IE) Act was a mandatory pre-requisite for the admissibility of (secondary) electronic record if the original record could not be produced.
What is Indian evidence act?
- The Indian Evidence Act, originally passed in India by the Imperial Legislative Council in 1872, during the British Raj, contains a set of rules and allied issues governing admissibility of evidence in the Indian courts of law.
Judicial activism for cyber security
- A significant attempt has been made by the higher judiciary in this field also. 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 which could serve as a model for the reception of digital evidence by courts.
- The committee, after extensive deliberations with experts, the police and investigation agencies, finalised its report in November 2018, but the suggested Draft Rules for the Reception, Retrieval, Authentication and Preservation of Electronic Records are yet to be given a statutory force.
What needs to be done?
- Upgrade cyber labs: The cyber forensic laboratories of States must be upgraded with the advent of new technologies.
- Digital rupee: Offences related to cryptocurrency remain under-reported as the capacity to solve such crimes remains limited. The central government has proposed launching a digital rupee using block-chain technology soon.
- Empowering states: State enforcement agencies need to be ready for new technologies. The Centre helps in upgrading the State laboratories by providing modernisation funds, though the corpus has gradually shrunk over the years.
- Need for localisation of data: Most cybercrimes are trans-national in nature with extra-territorial jurisdiction. The collection of evidence from foreign territories is not only a difficult but also a tardy process.
- Centre 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.
Q.With the increasing use of computers in society, cybercrime has become a major issue. Analyse the loopholes in cyber security regime of India by giving suggestions to rectify the same.