In light of the rising instances of cyber crime in the country, the government reportedly has some changes lined up. The Times of India reports that the government wants every piece of computer hardware sold in the country to come with Cyber Security Awareness Brochures – similar to statutory warnings on cigarette packets. The move, however, is giving manufacturers sleepless nights, the report adds. “Hardware firms briefed about the government's plan are concerned that they will be faced with a logistical nightmare, all for the sake of an archaic but well-intentioned step of doubtful effectiveness,” it says.
Computer hardware with statutory warnings!
TV Mohandas Pai, an IT industry veteran and chairman of the Karnataka government's panel on information and communication technology, opines that the government should first get some credibility on its side, before it expects citizens to listen to it on issues of cyber security. He was quoted as saying, “Government websites continue to get attacked as a matter of regular routine. Authorities should first try to secure those before intruding into citizens' life by proffering pamphlets.” Industry executives who'd put the plans to action, reportedly are not to keen to discuss their issues to avoid inviting the wrath of the government. “They are negotiating with the authorities to reach a consensus on the proposal that communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal wanted to roll out at the beginning of the year.”
As per government revelations made recently, in 2011 more than 1,600 people were arrested for cyber crimes registered under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and under sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications noted, “As per the crime data maintained by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 154, 178, 288, 799 and 1,184 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under IT Act, 2000 during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.”
The IT Act, 2000 allows detection/tracking on cyber crimes and punishment to culprits, thereby providing a legal framework to address issues pertaining to such crimes in the cyber space. Deora added that a total of 429, 195, 263, 394 and 446 persons were arrested for cyber crimes registered under sections of IPC relating to cyber crime cases during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. “As per the crime data maintained by NCRB, a total of 217, 288, 420, 966 and 1,791 cyber crime cases were registered under IT Act, 2000 during the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, thereby showing a rising trend,” he added further.
It has been further known that the cases in question pertain to tampering computer source documents, hacking, obscene publication/transmission in electronic form and failure of compliance/order of certifying Authority, among other reasons. Importantly, in his response to another query, Deora shared that on the request of law enforcement agencies, the Computer Authority issued direction for blocking of 310 webpages/URLs carrying anti-social, anti-national and hateful content, under section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.
“In addition, a total of 339, 176, 276, 356 and 422 cyber crime cases were reported under sections of IPC during 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively,” Deora said. He added that these related to false electronic evidence, destruction of electronic evidence and forgery. “The government is in regular dialogue with the intermediaries, including social networking sites for effective and efficient disablement of such content,” he added.