As we grow increasingly dependent on the computer both at work and at home, we become more susceptible to attacks by cyber criminals. This can range from identity theft to phising, where your bank account and other details are stolen and misused.
Are our laws good enough to deal with such crimes?
Vijay Shankar, director of Naavi Cyber Law College, and the author of Cyber Laws for Every Netizen in India and the e-book Cyber Laws... ITA-2000 and Beyond., is probably one of the best-known cyber-crime experts in the country. He has not only helped the local police convict several cyber criminals, his college organizes workshops on cyber-laws and cyber-crimes for corporates, BPOs and banks.
In an interview with Anjali Menon, Shankar elaborates on the vulnerabilities that plague the Indian cyberspace, and what we can do to promote a ''Responsible Cyber Society''.
What is cyber crime?
Cyber Crime is any Contravention of law in which a Computer or an Electronic Document is either the target or tool.
The offence could be either as defined in ITA 2008 or in IPC or in any other law. There are many names for Cyber Crimes that are strictly not relevant. However ''hacking'' which is basically 'unauthorised access' to a computer system causing a wrongful harm to some body is one popular name. Similarly 'denial of access' is prevention of access to a computer system authorized users. 'phishing' is stealing of passwords through deception,'cyber stalking' is harassment through communication etc. Additionally there is 'cyber terrorism', Video Voyeurism, transmission and publication of obscene information, child pornography etc.
What are the current trends of cyber crime in India (And has the Govt been able to check the growth of cyber crime)?
Cyber Crime is a product of technological development. As more and more people use computers and computer like devices for carrying on their day-to-day activities such as social interaction, e-commerce or e-governance, the incidence of misuse of the system naturally will increase. Like in any other instance, the Government needs to make continuous efforts to prevent occurrence of crimes and also to detect crimes after incidence and punishing of the offenders. This is a process that will continue as long as we use technology. In this race, we may now be in a phase where the law enforcement is lagging behind the growth of crimes but if proper effort is put in, the problem can be contained though it cannot be eliminated.
Images: Vijay Shankar (inset)