Some Indian Case Studies:
1. Cyber Jurisdiction
Internet creates virtual world. There are no demarcated boundaries between the people who utilize the web. The utility extends to information, e-banking, e-commerce, communication etc. the technology is open to hacking, pornography, gambling, identity-theft etc.
This requires understanding of jurisdiction. Various principles have been evolved to decide the jurisdiction. To mention (1) minimum contest test (2) personal jurisdiction (3) long arm statutes. With reference to Indian situation section 75 of Information Technology Act, 2000 contents the provisions regarding jurisdiction. Section 13(3), (4) and (5) also deal with cause of action which is of significance in internet transactions.
Jurisdiction can also be decided on the basis of choice of law, location of server, defendant’s domicile, and place of performance of contract, plaintiff’s domicile and purposeful availment.
2. Open Source Licensing
Open source licensing is resorted to by many sites. However this has certain legal issues. Basically there can be an issue of copyright. Other relevant issues are questions of enforceability on account of clash of local legislation and international agreement. The rights of a programmer warranties and software patent also needs to detailed study.
3. Pune Citibank MphasiS Call Center Fraud
US $ 3,50,000 from accounts of four US customers
were dishonestly transferred to bogus accounts. This
will give a lot of ammunition to those lobbying
against outsourcing in US. Such cases happen all
over the world but when it happens in India it is a
serious matter and we can not ignore it. It is a
case of sourcing engineering. Some employees gained
the confidence of the customer and obtained their
PIN numbers to commit fraud. They got these under
the guise of helping the customers out of difficult
situations. Highest security prevails in the call
centers in India as they know that they will lose
their business. There was not as much of breach of
security but of sourcing engineering.
The call center employees are checked when they go
in and out so they can not copy down numbers and
therefore they could not have noted these down. They
must have remembered these numbers, gone out
immediately to a cyber café and accessed the
Citibank accounts of the customers.
All accounts were opened in Pune and the customers
complained that the money from their accounts was
transferred to Pune accounts and that’s how the
criminals were traced. Police has been able to prove
the honesty of the call center and has frozen the
accounts where the money was transferred.
There is need for a strict background check of the
call center executives. However, best of background
checks can not eliminate the bad elements from
coming in and breaching security. We must still
ensure such checks when a person is hired. There is
need for a national ID and a national data base
where a name can be referred to. In this case
preliminary investigations do not reveal that the
criminals had any crime history. Customer education
is very important so customers do not get taken for
a ride. Most banks are guilt of not doing this.
4. Baazee.com case
CEO of Baazee.com was arrested in December 2004
because a CD with objectionable material was being
sold on the website. The CD was also being sold in
the markets in Delhi. The Mumbai city police and the
Delhi Police got into action. The CEO was later
released on bail. This opened up the question as to
what kind of distinction do we draw between Internet
Service Provider and Content Provider. The burden
rests on the accused that he was the Service
Provider and not the Content Provider. It also
raises a lot of issues regarding how the police
should handle the cyber crime cases and a lot of
education is required.
5. State of Tamil Nadu Vs Suhas Katti
The Case of Suhas Katti is notable for the fact that
the conviction was achieved successfully within a
relatively quick time of 7 months from the filing of
the FIR. Considering that similar cases have been
pending in other states for a much longer time, the
efficient handling of the case which happened to be
the first case of the Chennai Cyber Crime Cell going
to trial deserves a special mention.
The case related to posting of obscene, defamatory
and annoying message about a divorcee woman in the
yahoo message group. E-Mails were also forwarded to
the victim for information by the accused through a
false e-mail account opened by him in the name of
the victim. The posting of the message resulted in
annoying phone calls to the lady in the belief that
she was soliciting.
Based on a complaint made by the victim in February
2004, the Police traced the accused to Mumbai and
arrested him within the next few days. The accused
was a known family friend of the victim and was
reportedly interested in marrying her. She however
married another person. This marriage later ended in
divorce and the accused started contacting her once
again. On her reluctance to marry him, the accused
took up the harassment through the Internet.
On 24-3-2004 Charge Sheet was filed u/s 67 of IT Act
2000, 469 and 509 IPC before The Hon’ble Addl. CMM
Egmore by citing 18 witnesses and 34 documents and
material objects. The same was taken on file in
C.C.NO.4680/2004. On the prosecution side 12
witnesses were examined and entire documents were
marked as Exhibits.
The Defence argued that the offending mails would
have been given either by ex-husband of the
complainant or the complainant her self to implicate
the accused as accused alleged to have turned down
the request of the complainant to marry her.
Further the Defence counsel argued that some of the
documentary evidence was not sustainable under
Section 65 B of the Indian Evidence Act. However,
the court relied upon the expert witnesses and other
evidence produced before it, including the witnesses
of the Cyber Cafe owners and came to the conclusion
that the crime was conclusively proved. Ld.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore,
delivered the judgement on 5-11-04 as follows:
“ The accused is found guilty of offences under
section 469, 509 IPC and 67 of IT Act 2000 and the
accused is convicted and is sentenced for the
offence to undergo RI for 2 years under 469 IPC and
to pay fine of Rs.500/-and for the offence u/s 509
IPC sentenced to undergo 1 year Simple imprisonment
and to pay fine of Rs.500/- and for the offence u/s
67 of IT Act 2000 to undergo RI for 2 years and to
pay fine of Rs.4000/- All sentences to run
The accused paid fine amount and he was lodged at
Central Prison, Chennai. This is considered as the
first case convicted under section 67 of Information
Technology Act 2000 in India.
6. PARLIAMENT ATTACK CASE
Bureau of Police Research and Development at
Hyderabad had handled some of the top cyber cases,
including analysing and retrieving information from
the laptop recovered from terrorist, who attacked
Parliament. The laptop which was seized from the two
terrorists, who were gunned down when Parliament was
under siege on December 13 2001, was sent to
Computer Forensics Division of BPRD after computer
experts at Delhi failed to trace much out of its
The laptop contained several evidences that
confirmed of the two terrorists’ motives, namely the
sticker of the Ministry of Home that they had made
on the laptop and pasted on their ambassador car to
gain entry into Parliament House and the the fake ID
card that one of the two terrorists was carrying
with a Government of India emblem and seal.
The emblems (of the three lions) were carefully
scanned and the seal was also craftly made along
with residential address of Jammu and Kashmir. But
careful detection proved that it was all forged and
made on the laptop.
7. Andhra Pradesh Tax Case
Dubious tactics of a prominent businessman from
Andhra Pradesh was exposed after officials of the
department got hold of computers used by the accused
person. The owner of a plastics firm was arrested
and Rs 22 crore cash was recovered from his house by
sleuths of the Vigilance Department. They sought an
explanation from him regarding the unaccounted cash
within 10 days.
The accused person submitted 6,000 vouchers to prove
the legitimacy of trade and thought his offence
would go undetected but after careful scrutiny of
vouchers and contents of his computers it revealed
that all of them were made after the raids were
It later revealed that the accused was running five
businesses under the guise of one company and used
fake and computerised vouchers to show sales records
and save tax.
SELECTED ASIA / PACIFIC CASES:
The following section provides a selection of
actions taken against file-sharing Web sites and P2P
services in the Asia/Pacific region, focusing on
Australia, China, Japan and South Korea.
1. In Australia’s largest copyright infringement
case, three university students received criminal
sentences for running a Web site called MP3/WMA
Land, which offered more than 1,800 pirated songs
for download. In light of their age at the time and
the fact that they never profited from their
actions, the court warranted 18-month suspended
sentences for two of the students and an additional
fine of US$5,000 for one of them. Moreover, one
student and a third participant were given 200 hours
of community service.
2. Reportedly, China has become a leading exporter
of counterfeit and pirated goods to the world. The
U.S. industry estimates the value of counterfeit
goods in China at US$19 billion to US$24 billion,
with losses to U.S. companies exceeding US$1.8
billion a year. The severe piracy problems derive
from a combination of cultural, historic and
economic factors and are further aggravated by
inconsistent, weak enforcement by officials.
File-sharing Web sites and networks such as Jelawat
and Kuro have been developing rapidly, too. The
distributors of P2P software claim that file-sharing
falls within the private use exception to copyright,
but the Supreme People’s Court of China rejected
this interpretation. Increasingly, copyright owners
and right organizations are challenging file-sharing
Web sites on copyright infringement claims.
3. The Beijing No 1 People’s Court ruled in April
2004 that the Web site chinamp3.com violated the IP
rights of Hong Kong-based entertainment companies Go
East Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment
(Hong Kong), and ordered the site to pay US$19,000
in damages. The suit concerned the unauthorized
distribution of MP3 music files. The defendant
argued that he had merely provided links for
download and not a direct download service, and
therefore should not be held responsible for the IP
rights violations. According to observers, the
court’s ruling may prove to be a significant
development in the nascent field of Chinese
copyright enforcement in the digital age.