Ram Rattan Sharma
Information Technology has undoubtedly increased the speed, the precision, and the volume of growth and business today, but the hazards of cyber threats are, extremely high. Right from treasury to defence, no department of the most advanced country is safe from Cyber threats today. What can be said about the risks in developing countries? Defined simply, Cyber Crime is the use of Computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property rights stealing identities, or violating privacy. Use of the internet has become wider and deeper as the computer has become Central to Commerce entertainment, and government owing to the early and wide spread adoption of computers and the internet, most of the earliest victims and villains of cyber crime were in the LIS. But by the 21st century, hardly a hamlet remained anywhere in the world that had not been touched by Cyber Crime of one sort or another the menace has spread everywhere.
There are now different names for different Cyber Crimes, such as Computer networking intrusions, password sniffers, industrial espionage, cyber fraud cyber stalking, computer sabotage identity theft, Password cracking, Hacking software privacy, Digital bulling, Cyber terrorism to name the important ones.
The creation of new technologies brings forth new criminal opportunities but few new types of crimes. What distinguishes cyber crime from traditional Criminal activity? Obviously, one difference is the use of digital computer technology alone is in sufficient technology alone is in sufficient for any distinction that might exist between different realims of criminal activity. Criminal do not need a computer to commit fraud, traffic in child pornography and intellectual property, steal in identity, or violate some one’s privacy. All those activities existed before the “Cyber” prefix became ubiquitous. Cyber Crime especially involving the internet, represents an extension of existing Criminal behavior alongside some novel illegal activities, As the process of globalization has increased the levels and dimension at which the nations of the world are interacting today, the threats of this crime have also multiplied in dimension. It seems as if greater globalisation leads to greater hazards of cyber crimes. Cyber crime, in most cases is an attack on information about individuals, corporations, or governments, the attacks are not on a physical body they take place on the personal or corporate virtual body, which is a set of information about people and institutions on the net . In the digital age, our virtual identities are essential elements of everyday life we are a bundle of numbers and identifiers in multiple computer data bases owned by governments and corporations. This crime high lights the centrality of net worked computers in our lives, as well as the fragility of such facts as identities. Its non local character is the most specific character of this crime actions of crime can occur in jurisdiction separated by vast distances. This poses severe problems for law enforcement since previously local or even national crimes now require international cooperation. If a person accesses a child pornography, is that individual committing a crime in a nation where such material is illegal? Where exactly does cyber crime take place? Cyber space is simply a richer version of the space where a telephone conversation takes place, somewhere between the two people having the conversation. As a planet-spanning network, the internet offers the criminals multiple hiding places, in the real world as well as in the network itself. However, just a individuals walking on the ground leave marks that a skilled tracker can follow, cyber criminals also do leave clues about their identity and location, despite their best efforts to cover their tracks. In order to follow such clues across national boundaries though, international cyber crime treaties must be ratified.
As the nature of this crime crosses physical boundaries of the nations, it is strongly felt that till there is an effective and consorted international cooperation, checking the menace of this crime will not be possible for one nation, whatever be the level of its digital preparedness, cannot stop such crimes from happening. The first set of initiatives towards international co-operation came from the western countries who were the main victims of this crime. In 1996, the council of Europe, together with Government representatives from the united states, Canada, and Japan, drafted a preliminary international treaty covering computer crime. Around the world, civil liberties groups immediately protested provisions in the treaty requiring internet service providers to store information on their customers transactions and to turn this information over on demand work on the treaty proceeded never the less, and on November 23rd 2001 the council of Europe cyber crime convention was signed by 30 nation states, Additional protocols, covering terrorist activities and racist and xenophobic cyber crimes were proposed in 2002, at the international level, many attempts have been made under the over arching united nation commission on international trade law, but they have till now been inconclusive. In late 2010 the UN rejected a Russian backed proposal for treaty on cyber crime, despite wide spread agreement that closer international co-operation is vital in a world more closely connected by global computer networks. Nations has a consensus on the point that there has been growth in legitimate cross-border computing, such as cloud computing, etc which has been accompanied by growth in cross border crime which calls for international laws to be brought up to speed. Talks at the UN were unable to reconcile, differences between developing countries & the most advanced capitalist countries, led by the Eu, US and Canada. A UN advisory committee would consider conducting a study on cyber crime, legislation and law enforcement. The process might bring opposing countries closer together and lead, in some years, to proposals that may open a way to preparatory talks for a global agreement. However, such talks might take years.
The Government of India, in order to check the crime, has also adopted some of the clauses of the UNICITRAL and passed the information technology act 2000. This act has been framed for according legal recognition to the authentication of information exchanged in respect of commercial transactions conducted by means of electronic communication technology. The act besides defining cyber crimes into two categories of liabilities civil and criminal has given legal recognition to digital signatures and electronic records.
As India is moving towards greater computerization putting more and more functions on the internet, from administration to surveillance and developmental programmes, the threats of cyber crimes are increasing day by day before thing take an ugly turn, the country needs to put in place an effective mechanism to check and prevent the rising menace of cyber crime. India has already started work on a dedicated network for the country which will not be dependent on the world wide web (www). The national knowledge network. However, this network does not provide India immunity from cyber attacks from external sources, as this network has to be linked in any case to the world wide web to get connected with the world, it will provide a high degree of independence to the country in the case of attack on this “www” itself as the concern of a possible terror attack on it has increased in recent times. There is an urgent need for structural adjustment, personnel motivation, technological development, training and attitudinal changes among the law enforcing personnel. Besides, the world immediately needs evolving of a global mechanism to check the expanding and perpetually changing face of cyber crime.
(The author is Former Dy. Librarian University of Jammu)
Ram Rattan Sharma