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Use of e-mails for cyber-crimes and terrorism
The technical aspects of cyber-law are a headache for the law enforcement agencies and judicial system in India. Very few law enforcement officers, public prosecutors and judges are aware about the technical aspects of ICT and its uses and abuses.

CYBER LAW in India is facing tremendous pressure from the law enforcement requirements of the Indian society. Despite repeated cautions from leading cyber-law experts of India, the government has not deemed it fit to make suitable amendments in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) - the sole cyber-law of India. This is resulting in an increased use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for committing cyber-crimes and traditional crimes.

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading techno-legal ICT cyber-law and cyber-security specialist of India, "Use of e-mails for committing cyber-crimes and allied terrorist activities is increasing these days. The situation becomes worse due to lack of cyber-forensics and cyber-security expertise in India. The lack of computer forensics and cyber-security expertise accompanied by a weak cyber-law in India is evident whether we see the case of murder of the 14 year old girl from Noida or the latest detention of the two Americans regarding the recent bomb blasts. To make the situation worse, the law enforcement agencies are blatantly violating the ’privacy rights’ of the suspects and even innocent persons."

The responsibility of media and press becomes absolute in such a sad situation. Ironically, media and press instead of protecting the ’privacy rights’ of suspects, victims, and innocent persons is too eager to disclose their identities and details. The blind tele-rating points (TRP) race has crossed all the boundaries of decencies and has violated various human rights in the most culpable manner under the garb of ’public interest’.

According to Dalal, "Privacy violation is tolerated in India even to ridiculous levels. Whether it is an issue of data protection, telemarketing or privacy violation by law enforcement, very few eyebrows are raised. Even at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and judicial courts levels, privacy violations dealings have not proved to be deterrent enough to prevent their violations by others for purely ’commercial reasons’.

The lack of cyber-security and cyber-forensics expertise, weak IT Act, 2000, regular violations of privacy rights, etc are the ’greatest nightmare’ for suspects who are ’branded as criminals’ by the media and the press even before the courts start dealing with the same.

Dalal adds, "Interestingly, the popular concepts of Indian criminal justice system like establishment of guilt ’beyond reasonable doubt’, right to fair trial, right to legal representation, protection of privacy rights etc are simply treated as non-existent in cases of cyber-crimes and terrorism related cases. The requirements of search and seizure warrants for computers and allied hardware, individuals and places must be as per the Constitutional and Statutory requirements. The lack of cyber-forensics expertise in India results in violation of these Constitutional and Statutory provisions."

The technical aspects of cyber-law are also a headache for the law enforcement and judicial system in India. Very few law enforcement officers, public prosecutors and judges are aware about the technical aspects of ICT and its uses and abuses.

"It would be a ’dangerous trend’ to follow, to arrest or detain suspects on the basis of mere ’IP addresses’ or ’e-mail addresses’, as they are very easy to be spoofed and forged. It is most important to apply common sense and first ascertain the identity of real culprits. Of course, it requires tremendous cyber-forensics expertise to correctly trace the culprit. The recent case of wrongfully arresting an innocent person and imprisoning him for a considerable time is a glaring example of faulty and novice cyber-forensics application in India. The inability of the government of India to meet these conspicuous deficiencies of the legal enablement of ICT systems in India is stifling the growth of ICT laws in India," Dalal says.

It seems until the time the law enforcement agencies and judicial system of India acquires expertise in the ICT laws and their application, the innocent victims will keep on facing the threats of false accusations and privacy violations.

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