By ANSHUMAN BHARGAVA :
Combat Cybercrime Various steps are taken by the Government to provide cyber security but efforts must be made by all stakeholders to supplement the efforts of the Government. This is not a one-time task. Cyber insecurity is not just about terror threats but financial frauds and harassment as well.
New tools and technologies must be developed at a faster rate for cyber security, even as cyberspace is becoming the new battlefield. India is the third-largest user of the Internet and due to lack of proper checks and monitoring and legal loopholes, cybercrime has increased manifold in recent years.
THE UN General Assembly has approved a resolution that will start the process of drafting a new international treaty to combat cybercrime. The Russian-drafted resolution was approved by the 193-member world body by a vote of 79-60 with 33 abstentions. The resolution establishes an expert committee representing all regions of the world “to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.” It says the committee will meet in August 2020 to agree on an outline of its activities. Though many countries including the US have opposed the resolution. US deputy ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet told the assembly before the vote that “this resolution will undermine international cooperation to combat cybercrime at a time when enhanced coordination is essential.”
“There is no consensus among member States on the need or value of drafting a new treaty,” she said. “It will only serve to stifle global efforts to combat cybercrime.” As the US said, “It is wrong to make a political decision on a new treaty before cybercrime experts can give their advice,” adding that the resolution “prejudges” and “will undermine” the experts’ work, Russia’s representative underscored that the resolution requires that the new committee must take into account the results of the work of the expert group on cybercrime, expected next year, which Moscow supports. Taking that into account, the Russian representative said substantive work on the new convention will begin in 2021.
Cyber technology is a big boon nowadays. But the same technology has become one of the greatest threats too. We live in a digital world and security is one of the challenging areas that all of us have to think upon. New tools and technologies must be developed at a faster rate for cyber security, even as cyberspace is becoming the new battlefield. India is the third-largest user of the Internet and due to lack of proper checks and monitoring and legal loopholes, cybercrime has increased manifold in recent years. Various steps are taken by the Government to provide cyber security but efforts must be made by all stakeholders to supplement the efforts of the Government.
This is not a one-time task but an ongoing and joint responsibility of all. Cyber insecurity is not just about terror threats but financial frauds and harassment as well. Online harassment is on the rise in India, with eight out of 10 surveyed reporting to have encountered some form of online harassment, cyber bullying and cyber stalking, according to the findings of global cyber security firm Norton by Symantec. The highest threats of physical violence were reported by victims from Mumbai (51 percent), Delhi (47 percent) and Hyderabad (46 percent), with Delhi victims (51 percent) experiencing the highest incidence of cyber bullying. With India’s growing population spending more time on social media platforms and mobile applications, it is important that online users take basic precautions to protect their safety and security to avoid unwanted contact. Online harassment often triggers emotional reactions, with one in four women finding their experience frightening.
The Internet can prove a boon for instant communication, transfer of funds, photos or important files/documents in seconds, and getting to know about important phone numbers or directions to a destination, etc. But the same Internet facility, if used to befriend unknown people just out of curiosity or adventure, can turn into a bane. The Internet can become an addiction where the charm of making new friends becomes an obsessive craving. Here comes the pitfall.
Those unknown persons who pose as friends can be anything behind the screen—criminals, louts, smugglers, rapists, molesters, abusers, drug peddlers—virtually anything, because identities can be safely hidden in the virtual world. For these people, it is very easy to trap young boys and girls in their sinister design by faking their identity. These are the people who show themselves as students, doctors, professionals, artists, stars and flaunt other such attractive portfolios to impress the young and susceptible. The falsity extends so far that in many cases this ends up even in failed, marriages, heartbreaks, murders and rapes. Parents too must check the activities of their kids and be privy to the friend circle they associate with. The police too must be sensitised and better equipped technically to deal with cyber cases promptly.
We need many more cyber police stations across the country because, with deeper penetration and rapid spread of mobile and Internet, the cases of cyber abuses and attacks are only set to rise phenomenally. There is, unfortunately, no foolproof way to stop interactions in the cyber world, nor that is ethically very agreeable to stop people from people’s communication for fear of certain bad elements. It is the sole prerogative of the net user to be responsible and cautious in disseminating all details about one’s self liberally without cross-checking the credentials of the person on the other side.
It is a face value reckoning and simply a trust-based relationship that has no legal or technical grounding, no safety net to hold, which is why it is always easy for a perpetrator to have his way without the fear of being getting caught easily. By the way, Internet users must recognise their own vulnerability and comparative immunity of the culprit and act accordingly in the light of their best wisdom and judgment, without getting deluded by the glitter of a chimera that is far removed from reality. At least that is the best way from our side till the time a global consensus and framework on the ways to tackle cybercrime come into effect.