A call centre worker in Noida, Arif Azim, age 24, was taken into custody for a possible cyber fraud. Arif had managed to gain access to Barbara Campa’s credit card information and signed in to sony.sambandh.com, a website used by non resident Indians to buy products from Sony to deliver to fellow kin back in India. He used the fake identity and illegally acquired credit card details to buy himself a television set and a cordless headphone. A considerable amount of time later when the real owner of the credit card launched a complaint against the credit card company for the deducted amount, news came to India through Sony. CBI looked into the matter and with the evidence they collected, Arif had no other way out other than admitting his guilt. The court had convicted Arif Azim under Section 418, 419, and 420 of the IPC. And so, the infamous case of SONY.SAMBANDH.COM had been registered in history and the first cybercrime conviction in India was given in 2013. And the events that led to the case had unfolded long ago in May 2002.
Cyber security has always been of great concern. Despite the recent rising amount of cases, the judicial and legislative bodies have not been very instrumental in stopping the rising rates. Surveys conducted ever since the case of SONY.SAMBANDH.COM, technology related crimes have been rising at a rate of 20% with each passing year. This is due to the fact that cyber security hasn’t been able to go hand in hand with the digitalization of the developing countries followed by the exposure of the young population to developments and the vast bone chilling capabilities of technology.
But why do we see such incompetency of our cyber laws ? there comes the loopholes in the IT Act, 2000. It has been described as a toothless tiger often, as Dr Pavan Duggal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India says, that IT Act is not a cybersecurity law. It doesn’t address privacy issues whereas privacy is one of the major fundamental rights. Although the IT Act was seen as a legislation marvel at the time, as it helped stopping multiple attacks, its lack of coverage over data privacy gives it certain weak points. the 21st century is the era of data based technology. Data available over the internet can pin point your location anywhere in the world. Shrinking of tech caused a mobilization of the devices we built to assist us. and now the machines that not only receives but also sends our data all over the internet is being carried by the next door neighbour to places his family doesn’t want him to be.
According to an official of Data Security Council of India, government officials responsible for handling such cases are not aware of their powers given to them by the new and improved IT Act, 2008. Sometimes the lack of sharing of information between bodies, responsible to lead the investigation causes lack of communication and team work between the organization which is another hinderance. Processes for gathering of digital evidence and their handling is always a key to providing fair justice. But processes for such key elements haven’t been standardized yet. So it wouldn’t be right to assert that the judiciary is ignorant of the rising rates in cyber crime. But lack of practice in handling such matters concerning security by the ones who are supposed to specialize in that is also a thorn in the path to the cherry. But with improving conditions and rising concerns, many states and citites have implemented special divisions in the local police force for cyber security.
Providing security is not a uni-targetted concern. Its not designed only to stop cyber terrorists, but are also meant to help protect the rights and interests of the millions of individuals over the digital world who deal with data usage and transaction made totally online. For example, there is no protection against transactions made in crypto currency. Physical currency all over the world is monitored by banks and a comparative value of different currency is in a dynamic but well maintained process that causes the rise and fall in the value of a certain currency. But crypto currency is a form of digital currency based on block chain. Such technological currency work on data sourcing from the permanent transactions made by users. Its value is always in a changing state and unlike the physical currencies, this might change every hour. It being based on blockchain technology, transactions made in crypto currency are permanent and hence even accidental transactions do not have the slightest of legal protection. Such advancements in technology can be straight away be called risky.
The young generation being exposed to such vast array of possibilities in the field of technology do not have a great concept of the legal safety they can possibly take shelter behind, when in the sea of data, the big waves arise. They might become the future hunters, or unfortunately, the future preys.
Just to add a few areas of concern, the Indian Judicial System is also modernizing its ways. The Indian judicial system uses AI in numerous ways including contract generation and legal research. The Modus Operandi Bureau along with the National Crime Records Bureau are together developing an AI based Judicial structure which will be accessible to 16,000 police stations across country, designed to solve similar criminal cases faster to ease the pressure on the prevailing justice system at the local level.
Indian Judiciary celebrates a historic day on 6th April 2021, as it launches SUPACE, an artificial intelligence tool. The AI Committee, Supreme Court of India launched the SUPACE portal for the supreme court for assistance in court efficiency using video conferencing. The artificial intelligence committee was established in 2019 to explore the use of artificial intelligence as a pivotal guide for judiciary. It has identified core areas where harnessing technology can help provide fruitful results, says Justice Rao. He has stated the areas to be, language technology in translation of judicial documents, automation of administrative state, and assistance on legal research. It has already been able to successfully translate documents and judgements into 11 languages. According to Justice Rao, a need was felt to introduce cutting edge technology into judicial domain.
And so the gradual development in technology and digitalization has always called for updates in the judicial structure and recent events in the last decade has opened up a new frontier for law enthusiasts to explore, develop, practice and proliferate.