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Q: The Toolkit Case spans several countries including India, Canada and France. How difficult is it to interrogate the accused sitting in these countries or bring them to India?
answer: There is no specific Cyber Expert at the level of the United Nations or any other agency at the international level, which applies to all countries or forces them to cooperate. For this reason, it is impossible to tighten the screws on the accused in Internet related cases and crimes, extraditing them to the affected country. India is not a member of any international treaty related to cybercrime. In such cases, members cooperate in quick exchange of information related to cyber crime and action on criminals.
Question: So can anyone from any corner of the world incite violence-craze in other countries without any legal gripes through the medium of social media?
answer: The Convention of Cybercrime (Budapest Convention) was entered into for the cooperation in the legal cooperation, investigation and exchange of information in cyber matters. There are 67 countries in it, but India is not included in them. Had India been its member, it would have been easy to exchange digital data, identify the accused, interrogate and extradite them in case of cybercrime.
Q: How ready is the Indian police to crack down on criminals in cyber cases?
answer: Conviction rate in cyber cases in India is less than 1 percent. Digital records are destroyed due to prolonged trial or the police is not able to authenticate them. Hearing is very poor in general public affairs. We have started filing cases on crimes in cyberspace, but where these cases will end, it is uncertain.
Question: What is the special police unit or fasttrack court for cyber crimes in India?
answer: There is no specialized force in our country for cyber matters. Some metros have cyber cells only, but they are not enough. Cyber crime has seen a manifold increase since the Corona era, yet we have not woken up.
Q: How big is the digital or electronic record in cyber crimes?
answer: Digital records are valid under the IT Act, but the police have to prove in the court that they have not been tampered with, changed. They have to be certified. The accused can also challenge it. So prosecution on the basis of digital records is a big challenge.
Question: Is there any important order given by the court regarding the electronic record?
answer: Digital records are valid under Section 65B of the Evidence Act. In the Arjun Pandit Rao case, the Supreme Court had said that many conditions have to be fulfilled for the electronic record to be considered evidence. 65B says that under the IT Act 2000, electronic records, computers, computer-generated print outs, emails, electronic files are valid, but you have to give a certificate in the court that there is no alteration, tampering and it is kept safe. The other party can then challenge your e-record. You have to prove again that tempering, manipulation has not taken place.
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Q: How capable is IT Act 2000 in India dealing with cyber crimes?
answer: India’s IT Act was formed in the year 2000, ie 21 years ago, there was an amendment in 2008 after the Mumbai attack. For the last 13 years it has remained the same, whereas in these 13 years itself, the danger has increased manifold with the digital revolution. Social media has emerged as a major force and threat.