Role of the Cyber Crime Cell in India

In the cyber age of the twenty-first century, people have shifted to virtual platforms. Information technology has drastically changed the lives of people. Excess computing has resulted in people being defrauded by various cyber crimes.

‘Cyber Crime refers to the crimes committed through the computers and Internet. Indulgence in cyberspace has provided people with numerous opportunities, and overindulgence has resulted in the misuse of this technology.

To protect individuals from the various crimes committed through the internet, the Government of India set up a Cyber Crime Cell.

Cyber Crimes, Cyber laws, and role played by Cyber crime cell?

Not only individuals but government and corporate houses heavily rely on the Information Technology infrastructure to run their operations. Thus, increased dependence on technology requires security measures to run smoothly and legitimately. However, protecting the data and other relevant information provided online may sometimes become difficult.

Consequently, the digital age keeps the law enforcers on their toes to perpetually lookout for cyber laws.

The alarming nature of information technology and computing renders it necessary for the government to educate people about cyber law and security practices to prevent potential cyber fraud.

Such security practices include preserving sensitive data, records, and transactions and using security technologies like firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection tools and authentication services to shield sensitive data on computer systems.

Therefore, individuals using the internet should be aware of cyber laws to prevent cyber crimes.

Cyber crimes can be classified into the following two categories:

Crimes targeting networks or devices

  • Viruses
  • Malware
  • Denial of service attacks

Crimes using devices to participate in criminal activities

  • Phishing emails
  • Cyberstalking
  • Identity theft

Therefore, considering the intense interaction of the cyber world and humans, cyber laws were enacted. To ensure that cyber laws were adhered to, a cyber crime cell was enacted.

Digital India Vision

The Government of India introduced the Digital India campaign to digitalise government services. The Indian government intends to make government services electronically available through online infrastructure. Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commenced the Digital India Vision on 1st July 2015. The vision aimed to enlarge the domain of technology.

Digital India initiative promised high-speed internet networks to rural areas. The initiative was introduced in conjunction with other government schemes, including Make in India, Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Startup India, BharatNet, and Standup India.

Objectives Of Digital India

With ‘Power to Empower’ as its guiding principle, the ‘Digital India Initiative’ works extensively for ‘digital infrastructure creation’, ‘digital delivery of services’, and ‘digital literacy’. Thus, the initiative promised the following:

  • High-speed internet in all village areas.
  • Secure access to ‘Common Service Centre (CSC)’ in all localities.
  • Aiding already initiated digital programmes.
  • Synchronising existing digital schemes to achieve subsequent goals.

Advantages of Digital India Vision

  • Booming auto electronic transactions concerning e-governance
  • Wide optical fibre network connecting Gram Panchayats under the Bharat Net programme.
  • CSC constituted under the ‘National e-Governance Project’ of the Indian government provides access to ‘Information and Communication Technology (ICT)’ relating to e-governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment, and other government and private services.
  • Development of ‘Digital Villages’ with well-equipped modern facilities

Drives Under Digital India Scheme

The Government initiated the following drives under the Digital India campaign:

DigiLockers

DigiLockers was introduced to empower Indian citizens digitally. It acts as a digital wallet for storing legal documents that can be stored securely.

E-Hospitals

Under the Hospital Management Information System (HMIS), the government plans to onboard patients, hospitals, and doctors through a single digital platform. Currently, approximately 420 e-Hospitals have joined the Digital India campaign.

E-Pathshala

An initiative by National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT) to showcase and disseminate academic e-resources such as textbooks, audio, video, periodicals, and various other print and non-print materials through the website and mobile apps

Bharat Interface for Money

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) application supports simple, easy, and quick transactions using Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

Cyber Crimes against Women and Children

The easy usage and availability of the internet make cyberspace a greater threat. Lack of know-how about the working of cyberspace and cyber law accentuates the criminal element in it. Cyber illiteracy typically leads people to commit crimes.

The complex environment of cyberspace establishes a relationship between people, software, and services assisted by the global distribution of ICT devices and networks and increasing the penetration of technology in society and ICT innovations exacerbates cyberspace’s crime against women and children.

Such crimes against women and children in cyberspace have the following characteristics:

  • Act as a digital analogy to crimes committed in the physical world.
  • Advance and speedy requiring timely prevention and detection.
  • Difference in criminal mentality in cyberspace from that in the physical space.

The following are major cyber crimes committed against women and children:

  • Cyber pornography and obscenity
  • Cyber Stalking
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Cyber Morphing

NCRB data count for cyber crimes against women and children during the past three years (2017-2019) are as follows:

Year Number of registered cases
2017 4330
2018 6262
2019 8684

Furthermore, NCRB states that prime cyber crimes against women and children are cyber blackmailing and threatening, cyber pornography and hosting, cyberstalking and bullying, defamation and morphing, and creation of fake profiles.

Role of the Cyber Crime Cell

The cyber crime cell plays a crucial role in solving and preventing cyber crimes. Cyber crime cell provides a platform to file cyber complaints and redress victims.

Although India introduced cyber laws to shield individuals online, such enacted legislation does not suffice because of the dynamic nature of cyberspace. Such legislation cannot save victims in the event of the crime.;

To rectify the situation, Information Technology Act 2000 made specific changes in the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act and implemented new regulations to fulfil the requirements of cyber crime investigation.

Steps to File Cyber Crime Complaints

Cyber Crime complaints in India could be filed in the following simple steps:

  1. Registering a written complaint with the cyber crime cell. The IT Act has global jurisdiction. Such a complaint could be registered with any of the cyber cells in India, irrespective of where it was originally committed.
  2. A written complaint to the head of the Cyber Crime Cell of the city where the complaint is filed and personal details such as name, contact details, and email address are presented.
  3. Reporting the complaint to the police station with the help of legal counsel along with certain documents depending on the nature of the crime.
  4. Without access to the cyber crime cell, a first information report (FIR) could be registered at the police station.

Steps to file complaints related to social media cyber crimes

  1. Apart from the steps, it is necessary to register such a complaint on the corresponding platform in which the offence was committed.
  2. Social media platforms lay down procedures for reporting any abuse or other offences. It is beneficial to report such crimes at the initial stages of their occurrence. It would enable the concerned social media platform to take immediate steps to block further activities and protect personal information.
  3. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube have strict and clear redressal mechanisms to protect its users from online abuse and cybercrimes.

Documents Required to File a Cyber Crime Complaint

Complaints on mails

  • A written offence brief.
  • A copy of the suspected email received by the original receiver but forwarded emails are not valid.
  • The header of the suspected email
  • Alleged email and its header’s hard and soft copies
  • A soft copy of the email must be provided in a CD-R

Complaints on social media

  • A copy or screenshot of the alleged profile or the content
  • Screenshot of alleged content’s URL
  • Alleged content’s hard and soft copies
  • Soft copy of the content should be provided in a CD-R.

Conclusion

In the technological age, the Internet and cyberspace have reduced the distance between people and rendered the world as a microcosm of a social village. However, excessive intrusion of technology in people’s lives has opened novel avenues to complex cyber crime.

Cyber crime could harm people sharing the data online. However, such crimes are harmful to women and children. Cyber crime could be the form of cyberbullying, cyber molestation, cyberstalking, pornography, identity theft, and even more.

The Central Government introduced cyber laws to safeguard society and formulated cyber crime cells to regulate laws to prevent crime from shaping into more severe forms. However, the laws fall short in their approach despite serious changes made to both cyber and criminal laws. Despite the easy procedure to access the cyber crime cell, people lack awareness and find lodging a complaint difficult. Therefore, such a serious issue at hand requires thorough study to prevent its happening.

FAQs on Cyber Crime Cell

When was the first cyber crime cell set up?

The first cyber crime cell was set up In the year 2018 in New Delhi

Is it possible to file a cyber crime complaint based on WhatsApp chat?

A cyber crime cell complaint can be filed on WhatsApp chat.

Could a cyber crime complaint be withdrawn?

A cyber crime complaint can be withdrawn only if an FIR is not registered.

Where could an online cyber crime cell be registered?

An online complaint could be filed at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal.