‘Conventional laws enough to deal with all cybercrime’

Former IPS officer YP Singh speaks to Hindustan Times on the recent move to open a social media lab to monitor activity.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2013 01:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

How do you view the move to have a social media lab? Is the police being pro-active or intrusive?
If the police is going through public forums where everyone has access, it is non-intrusive and can help. However, if they try getting access to a group of private individuals or individual profiles, then it is intrusion.

In case it is a case of intrusion, is there any legal recourse available to the common man?
If the police are accessing private accounts, a case can actually be registered against them under the Telegraph Act as it is illegal to go through communication of private groups or individual accounts.

In case the police come across a video/comment/ tweet/ blog that they find objectionable, can they approach the user and ask them to delete it?
The police cannot approach anyone directly without the relevant paperwork and permission. They have to first register an FIR and then approach the person concerned.
There is no provision whereby the police can directly approach the person without the valid paperwork.

Is there not a fear of rampant misuse of the law against the netizens then?
It is true that certain sections of the Information Technology Act (IT), under which internet offenders are booked, like 66 (A) have been misused. While telling someone a joke in private is not an offence, sending the same through e-mail may land you in trouble if the person finds it objectionable.

If not the IT act, then what could cyber offenders be booked under?
The conventional laws like the Indian Penal Code are sufficient to take care of most of these crimes. These laws are broad enough to deal with all aspects of cybercrime.

What is your opinion on Section 66A of the IT Act?
I think the section undermines the freedom of speech and expression. It is not required because there are already laws on obscenity, defamation, hurting religious sentiments and indecent representation of women.

First Published: Apr 10, 2013 01:31 IST