Police ill-equipped to handle cyber crimes

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At a time when Mumbai is witnessing a sharp rise in cyber crime incidents, questions are being raised about how effectively will the Mumbai Police resolve these cases? The police department is planning to establish cyber crime cells at police stations across Mumbai to address technology related offences in the metropolis, but do they possess necessary infrastructure to prevent new age crime? Already 4,172 cyber crime cases have been reported in Mumbai last year followed by Bengaluru with 762 cases and Jaipur with 532 cases. According to cyber crime experts, Mumbai is more vulnerable to cyber crime as it is the financial capital of India. Crime rate is increasing in Mumbai and Maharashtra and at the same time the underground cyber hackers’ community is also rising. The Modi government is speaking highly about Digital India but no results are visible at the ground level.

Often concern has been raised about increasing technological offences in the metropolis but the police department and state government lacks clear road map to make Mumbai safe from cyber crimes. The police department is ill-equipped to resolve technology related crimes due to shortage of manpower. Police personnel lack technological knowledge to overcome such issues. They will have to undergo intensive training to detect and crack cyber crimes.

Hackers group Root (R007) said underground cyber group is so well connected that it gets very difficult to track source of origination of the crime.

Keval Domadia, Director, MeasureGate International said, “It is a double edged sword. To cut down cyber crime (prevention) government will have to monitor who does what. It may result in fewer cyber crimes but then the privacy of a user is compromised. There is very little which can be done.”

Akancha Srivastava, Founder, Akancha Srivastava Foundation said, “The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was formed in 1860 and meant for crimes of the land. It addressed crimes where there were physical evidences of DNA samples, fingerprints etc. The IT Act of 2000 primarily covered financial crimes. Today, these two are being applied in a complimentary manner to cyber crimes. So, in many ways internet is leaping but our law is still trying to catch up to its various interpretations. In the estimated 250 mn social network users in India, 71 per cent men and 29 per cent only are women. This disproportionate access to internet also adds to increasing cyber abuse cases against women. In 2015, 11,592 cases were registered – an increase of 20 per cent in registration of cases from the previous year – and 8121 persons arrested. That’s such a small number compared to the number of cases we hear. Stricter laws, swift action, more cyber education and empowering victims would certainly improve this scenario.”

Akbar Pathan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Crime Cell) said, “We are planning to open cyber cell at every police station in the city. The police personnel will undergo training for four days. Since people are using various devices today like mobile phones, laptops for performing online transactions hence there has been a surge in cyber crimes. However, we will set up a dedicated task force to address this issue.”

Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Finance, Rural Development, Deepak Kesarkar had said that the government has connected all the districts in Maharashtra with cyber labs. He also said that the government is constantly recruiting additional personnel to address cyber crimes. Kesarkar expressed that state government is under severe financial stress but certain departments (like police dept) are given the liberty to employ people and district level recruitment is in progress.

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