Law enforcement agencies of India have been facing the conflict of law situation in Indian cyberspace for long. As a result any cyber crime that has a foreign element is very difficult to solve for Indian law enforcement agencies. This is more so when the Internet intermediary is located in United States as Internet intermediaries like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, etc are very fussy while sharing information about cyber criminals.
In fact companies like Google, Facebook, etc are openly violating Indian laws and Indian government is in a helpless situation in this regard. There is no other option left for the Indian government but to formulate stringent techno legal measures against these foreign companies.
Not only these foreign companies are harbouring cyber criminals by not providing their details but e-mail service providers like G-mail actually abets and encourages commission of cyber crimes in India. As an urgent measure Indian government must ban G-mail in India for official and private communications to avoid increase in cyber crimes in India. The Maharashtra government has already issued an advisory to use official e-mails for official communications.
Business Standard has reported that with growing reluctance of service providers to furnish real time information in cyber crime cases, India will seek active cooperation from the US for setting a joint mechanism to overcome such difficulties. As the two countries plan to meet at the India-US Homeland Security dialogue here on December 4, the difficulties faced by Indian security agencies in cyber-crime related cases top the agenda.
The two-day meet will be inaugurated by Home Minister Sushi Kumar Shinde and attended by US Assistant Secretary for Policy (Homeland Security) David Heyman and US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell among others. In the agenda papers it was stated that India, which ranks fifth in the world in the incidence of cyber crime, has seen hacking of 9,000 websites in three years thus posing a serious threat to the government.
Highlighting the difficulties faced by Indian security agencies, the papers said most of the prominent service providers like Hotmail, Google, Facebook, Twitter are based in the US and a general request takes anywhere between 15 and 80 days. “Further there is no guarantee that the required information would be provided at all. “However, despite urgent requests, there have never been provided by any of the service providers even in single case,” it was stated.
According to TOI, US servers almost take a “lifetime” to respond to India’s requests in cases of cyber crime investigations and still do not deliver many times, leading to situations like communal tensions spiral out of hand. The lengthy process of mutual legal assistance treaty and the route of letter rogatory are not helping matters either.
India is likely to push for easier and quicker methods of sharing information on cyber crimes with the US in the two day meet as most servers are based in that country. India will ask for setting up of an Indo-American Alert, Watch and Warn Network of participating law enforcement agencies of both countries for real-time sharing of information to manage crises and threats. It will also push for setting up of an expert group that will promote legal mechanisms that encourage cyber cooperation and facilitate creation of training materials and technical assistance.
“In addition to internet logs, in many cases profile and email contents etc are also required for investigations. However, despite urgent requests, there have never been provided by any of the service providers even in single case,” the document further states.
It also points out the futility of MLTA and LR regimes. “The LR process is time consuming and the resultant delays invariably make the entire investigation a futile exercise,” it says.
Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have already provided their suggestions (PDF) to Indian government and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in this regard on similar lines. Most of these suggestions are already part of the proposed meet.