Cyber crime prosecution and defense

Cyber crime

Cyber Crime ProsecutionThe development of information technology has given rise to new types of crime called cyber crimes. In general, cyber crimes can be defined as crimes committed using computer as a target or tool or sometimes both.  Increased use of internet, World Wide Web and other web enabled technology evolved the cyber world. Unlike the real world, the cyber world virtually has no physical boundaries and it is a seamless world providing complete anonymity.

Cyber World constitutes cyber space which can be compared to the space in the real world.  Criminals committing the crime in the cyber world can be called cyber criminals. The anonymous nature of internet and web technology has given rise to different types of cyber crimes facilitating cyber criminals to perpetuate crimes across the world protecting their identity.

cyber babyCyber crimes are increasing day by day having serious global impacts over nations and the world.  Identification of cyber criminals is a difficult task since they may belong to different countries and might escape before they are tracked. However, the legislations are enacted to prevent cyber crimes and provide remedies to victims of cyber crimes. Collection of evidence is a challenge to the enforcement agencies due to the nature and advancement in technology.

One of the drawbacks is that the legislations are not being updated with technology developments. The cyber criminals make use of loopholes in law and destroy evidence. Cyber Crime has all the elements of a crime and procedure laid down in CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE may be used to try various cyber crimes.  The major problem with cyber crime is very few crimes are reported.

Cyber Crime Prosecution

The preparation for prosecution of cyber crimes can be explained as:

  • All the evidence available should be collected
  • The snapshots of evidence must be saved
  • Immediate assistance of a cyber law expert may be sought
  • Expert advice on preparing for prosecution is necessary
  • Background history of facts must be prepared in a chronological manner
  • Names and addresses of suspected accused must be noted
  • A complaint and remedies a victim seeks should be drafted
  • Assistance of police and cyber law expert can help in gathering further evidence like tracing the IP address in case of emails, search & seizure, arrest in appropriate situations
  • Cyber Forensic study of equipment like hardware, networks, server  relating to cyber crime is essential
  • Pen down the chain of events table
  • Probing where the evidence could be traced like files,folders,emails, web history
  • Expert tracing to check if there is use of any tools or software by accused to erase evidence
  • Forensic screening of data, files, prints, usb flash drives, digital cameras, hardware and others which are of evidential value.
Important parameters – before lodging a cyber crime case

These are some of the parameters that need to be considered before lodging a cyber crime case

  • Ample Evidence must be gathered and collected
  • The evidence collected should be admissible in a court of law
  • Criteria concerning jurisdiction of the court should be met -A case may be filed in the place where offence is committed or where effect of the offence is felt.
  • Pecuniary, territorial and subject matter jurisdiction of the court must be fulfilled

COLLECTION OF EVIDENCE
ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE COLLECTED
DETERMINING JURISDICTION
PECUNIARY, TERRITORIAL SUBJECT  MATTER

Cyber crime prosecution- real time legal case study

In recent times, a cyber crime case involving email snooping has come into limelight. A special investigation team is probing the controversial case and has started inquiry, investigation. Latest survey indicates Email remains more popular than social media as a method of communication. 68 % people in India are connected online, send and receive emails according to a global research firm.

The police nabbed cyber criminal how has disclosed confidential intelligence information to persons outside the department .He is also alleged of disclosing list of about 268 email ids to a section of media along with a forged letter. The cyber criminal made use of the electronic equipment inside the office to duplicate the intelligence data.

The criminal also revealed that fake medical certifications were made by a doctor who also is under the police custody and the second accused in this case. The ample evidence has been collected by the investigation team including the mobile conversations, meeting of criminal with banned extremists etc.

This case illustrates a cyber crime prosecution case where the cyber criminal is prosecuted by the law enforcement agencies along with supportive evidence.

Possible reliefs/ remedies to a victim of cyber crime

  • Report the matter to a local police station and nearest cyber crime cell
  • Civil and Criminal remedies available based on nature of crime
  • Civil remedies may include Injunction and restrain orders, along with damages, account for profit, delivery up of infringing matter
  • Criminal Remedies may include registration of cyber crime case by police in case of cognizable offences; a complaint needs to be filed with Magistrate in cases of non cognizable offences.
  • In certain offences, the civil and criminal both may be available to a cyber crime victim

BASIC CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN CYBER CRIME CASES

CONVICTION and ACQUITTAL
TRIAL
CONTENTS OF CHARGE
ISSUE OF PROCESS – SUMMONS, WARRANTS
EXAMINE THE WITNESS
EXAMINE THE COMPLAINANT ON OATH
INSTITUTION OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDING

Cyber crime defense – defending cyber criminal

The defense mechanisms taken by a cyber criminal are:

  • The chain of events table is prepared
  • Examination of evidence produced against  him
  • Is the evidence admissible?
  • Any trace regarding use of tools or software for deleting evidence
  • If Forensic Analysis – items of evidence value is it in a proper way
  • Formatting  may not be a solution
  • Application for anticipatory bail
  • Challenging evidence produced by opposite party
  • Finding loopholes to escape
  • Filing of Cross complaint

Despite challenges in cyber law and legal framework, the cyber criminals cannot go unpunished for the crimes they commit. Many new techniques in cyber crime investigation, analysis, evidence collection are being developed by various premiere institutes to solve various cyber crime cases; however efforts are being made to rectify loopholes and prosecute the cyber criminal.

SAI SUSHANTH,
FINAL YR MS IN CYBER LAW AND SECURITY,
NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, JODHPUR

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