Cyber Crime Cells in India: What We Have Versus What We Need

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Our lives today are inextricably bound with technology. The cyber world is very much a part of our real lives and thus also has the massive power to impact the same. While, the internet along with the various other technologies that enhance our experiences in the cyber world, has made life much simpler, it has also given the rise to a new kind of threat to our security in the form of cyber crimes.

Acknowledging the potential of negative impact that these cyber crimes may have on the minds of its users, governments across the world are working on mechanisms that provide support to victims and initiate action against cyber offenders. In India too, as a part of the Criminal Investigation Department there are a number of cyber cell units set up in various states that also have cyber crime police stations to take the matter forward swiftly. However, the situation is rather discouraging in most states in the country.

In Bihar, for example, besides 900 cases of cyber crime being formally reported to the police stations very few are forwarded to the cyber crime cells for action to be taken. Bihar accounts for 2%-3% of the total cyber crimes in India, which amounts to almost 2100 cyber crimes every year. This number however, is still just a part of the actual number of cyber crimes in Bihar since most people, due to lack of knowledge still do not know cyber bullying and harassment online is a punishable offence, and thus most often do not report it. The people who do report cyber crimes in Bihar also do not get much relief since the Bihar Police treats cyber crime cases subpar any other crime and thus do not respond to it with the level of seriousness that it requires. In the wake of the Wannacry ransomware attacks in May 2017, one person affected by it in Bihar approached the police and lodged an FIR, however, the police failed to forward the same to the cyber crime cell in time, leading to a total loss of his data.

This highlights the urgency and the need to not only set up more redressal units across the country but also to educate the people and raise awareness about the possibility of cyber crimes along with the procedure to report the same. More that 210 million people in India are active social media users, which makes social media a powerful platform to educate people about cyber crimes and the various mechanisms that exist to protect people and prosecute criminals. When it comes to redressal mechanisms, the various cyber crime cells establish in different cities have police officers who are trained to look into matters of cyber crime and violence and are equipped with the required knowledge however, there still exists a twofold problem in the same. On the one hand, most of these cyber crime cells do not have enough people with expertise on the subject to manage the vast number of cases that are filed, thus delaying the process. On the other hand there are still various police departments where people do not recognize cyber crimes as a real threat and thus do not pursue the same. There is thus, an urgent need to train more people to be able to tackle the quantum of crimes being reported and to sensitize and educate others on the seriousness of these crimes. The current rate of the total amount of cyber crimes solved by these units is a meager 20%. With the rate of growing number of victims of cyber crimes, there is an urgent need to make the present mechanism more effective to maintain the internet and the cyber world as a healthy space.

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