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AP Police log in experts to crack cyber crimes

Investigating Officers not adequately trained in investigation of cyber offences

Written by Agencies | Hyderabad |
February 24, 2011 9:15:40 am

Andhra Pradesh Police have roped in information technology experts to help investigating officers overcome lack of expertise in dealing with cyber crimes by training them.

“Investigating Officers (IOs) were not adequately trained in investigation of cyber offences and collection of electronic evidence,” said Additional Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime) U Rama Mohan.

“Cyber crime inquiry requires tracking the offender who sends a particular e-mail or fraudulent bank transaction over the Internet. If the IO does not have the proper skill,he will find it difficult to track and nab the criminal,” he said.

“Crime scene preservation,search and seizure of electronic evidence require a different approach than that of conventional method,” added Mohan.

“The police have taken up various training programmes with the help of experts in IT law. There are,however,practical problems in the enforcement of cyber law due to issues like jurisdiction,collection of evidence and inadequate knowledge of cyber laws,” said Mohan.

Besides training police personnel to deal with new age crime,there was a need to orient judicial magistracy and prosecutors to appreciate the special conditions and technical aspects of evidence relating to cyber law,he said.

There is a need to be sensitised to appreciate the ‘electronic evidence’ presented in the courts. Some legal officers may not have proper knowledge of computer jargon like IP address,full header,hacking or e-banking,he said.

Certain offences like phishing (a practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to extract financial data from computer users for purposes of identity theft) and cyber stalking may appear relatively new to some investigators,who need to be trained to deal with such cases,the officer said.

On the issue of jurisdiction,Mohan said the police operate within local boundaries,focusing on crime occurring within their area.

“But the global nature of Internet and cyber space brings together the offenders,victims and targets,who were otherwise situated in different countries,” he added.

Cyber offences often go beyond the purview of national boundaries,making it difficult for investigators to collect evidence and apprehend the culprit,he said.

The CrPC provides for writing Letter Rogatory (LR) and seeking information from abroad,and also processing requests coming in from other countries. But the process of securing evidence through LR is lengthy and time-consuming. This delay allows the offender to repeat his offences with impunity,said the officer.

The Government should have Mutual Legal Assistance treaties with a large number of countries to ensure speedy probe of cyber crime,said Mohan,who was a forensic expert.

At present,three cyber crime police stations are functional in Andhra Pradesh,which is an IT hub with Hyderabad as the main centre. While the CID cyber crime station was set up in 2002,one in Hyderabad and another under the jurisdiction of Cyberabad Commissionerate were working since last year. The CID cyber crime station,which has jurisdiction of the entire state,has so far registered 169 cases under various Sections of IPC and Information Technology (IT) Act.

It has arrested 41 persons,including Nigerians,during the last four years in various cases including hacking,source code alteration and theft,debit card and ATM card fraud,publishing pornography and obscene text in the form of electronic photo,said Mohan.

Of the 41 persons,12 persons belonged to other states like Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu,Delhi,Orissa and Karnataka,he said.

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