With the increasing cyber crime and stern need for e-governance in recent times foreseeing the latest incidents, people need to be more informed and careful while they use the internet, questioning themselves on are they following the netiquettes or not?
In an Interview with The Viewspaper Intern Shefali Saxena, “Never feel anonymous or think that you cannot be traced on the internet.”- said IT Expert Rakshit Tandon enlightening the Netizens over cyber laws and e-governance. He’s a Consultant with the Internet and Mobile Association of India, Advisor and Consultant with UP Police Cyber Cell, appointed Non European Expert to a Study Visit by the European Commission at the German Safer Internet Centre, imparting training to police cyber stations in various states, faculty to police academies, and has conducted Internet Security Programs for more than 5000 students, visiting 51 cities and 13 states.
Q- What does the IT Act say? How can it be implemented upon a cyber user for his misconduct?
RT: Under Section 66 and 67 under the IT Act;
Section 66 interprets the law as: publishing of any false, menacing, insulting and derogatory content (in words or in photographs) with a criminal intimidation, assassinating someone’s character, injuring his/her dignity, can be subjected to punishment for 3 yrs of imprisonment plus a fine.
Section 67: relates to obscenity, vulgarity, pornography posted on the internet by an individual for an individual against him is countered by imprisonment for 5yrs with a heavy penalty, and successive attempt shall be dealt with 7yrs of imprisonment with a heavier penalty of Rupees 10 Lakh.
Q- Do you think that Freedom of Speech and Expression is a hindrance in the path of E-governance? Or which one curbs another?
RT: Freedom of Speech and Expression never tells you to start abusing or menacing, spreading false news and vulgar content that may be injurious to one’s dignity. The Problem in E-Governance is the fact that people on the Internet think that they are anonymous, that they can’t be traced, which is not true. Internet users lack Netiquettes! Every user on the internet is traceable. There isn’t any hindrance because the law is clear. Writing a blog or expressing one’s opinion is acceptable until one intrudes into someone else’s character and starts defaming them. Offence comes when you give false information. The need of the hour is to focus and adhere more to the Article 19(2), the restriction imposed over Article 19 (1) (a) – Freedom of Speech and Expression.
Q- Is there a need for E-Governance?
RT: For instance when we use a small application either for online submission of forms or banking, or any other official work and its maintenance, its handling becomes easier. Things become clean requiring no paper modification, making it work better with one to one contact including less communication barriers. In the absence of any bulk file or paper handling E-governance sounds like a better idea to be a watchdog over the cyber world. The only requirement on the government’s part is to provide better internet security options for efficient functioning of E-governance.
Q- Some Safe Surfing and Netiquettes for Internet Users.
RT: 1. Never feel anonymous or think that you cannot be traced on the internet.
2. Never post information of your friend or relative on any public forum.
3. Do not post your geographical location like these days the blackberry users tag their locations on the internet.
4. No indecent comments should be posted online.
5. The maximum errors occur while shooting mails. So always use the bcc option.
6. Do not ever post pictures taken in public without the permission of the people in the photographs. Girls complain a lot about such sharing of pictures online and getting morphed or misused.
7. Use of derogatory language while chatting or posting comments is unacceptable.
8. Children should seek parental guidance or inform them while they make friends online or go outside to meet someone whom they’ve made friends with on the internet.
Q- Is social networking profitable on the internet?
RT: Interacting with the public has been profitable for officials. People are addressed and replied back with solutions to their problems more often due to social networks. Gurgaon traffic police for instance has a webpage that helps them coordinate easily.
While everyone is online you know their problems faster, rather than inviting people on a website to attend a web chat. It’s easier to address a person on Facebook and reply which is a good platform for E-governance. Get solution faster than Television, Newspaper where 900 million people are using the internet.
Once someone’s father went missing, he shared his father’s photo and information on social networking sites and the father was found within three days by someone who had shared his details near a bus stand and was eventually rescued safely. Another case was when a girl needed AB negative blood group which was again posted on Facebook and she survived by the blood donated by a user who read this information about her.
The profit of social networking sites is doubted when cases like sharing of a summer holiday assignment as snaps on Facebook by students and copying the same happens.
Q- Is E-Governance a rational concept or an abstraction of governmental flaws and issues on the internet is the key motive behind it?
RT: As an individual whomsoever it may be, a politician or a government official, he can file a complaint under the IT Act. Why Kapil Sibal raised as an issue over e-governance was because there were some abusive pictures on the internet concerning a particular religion that needed to be blocked. Every responsible Netizen should report it unlike the way we run away during an accident irresponsibly for not to indulge unnecessarily in the lawful proceedings.
It is impossible to keep a check on every user. Negative views can be published until they are not defaming. Clean internet can be obtained by self-governance. It is extremely wrong to share morphed photos. Try and put it on yourself. One will never do a mockery of him on the internet then why mock others?
It has been my mission to spread safe surfing techniques amongst people and I’ve already addresses about 5 lakh students so far.
Q- What are your suggestions for the internet users above 40 or 50 years of age who know a little or lesser than the younger generation about the functioning of the cyber world?
RT: Internet is not an age community. Yes, people above 40 or 50 yrs of age have never seen internet or computers in their school days. They unknowingly give their personal information, mobile numbers; add their family tree with no security or privacy settings. It is hence the role of younger generation to educate them. Training and workshops for senior citizens should be available because, e-governance applies to everybody, even to them who do not know the meaning of an email- id or password. Sometimes they become victims of cyber crimes.
Q- Who is responsible for the accelerating rate of misconduct on the internet?
RT: Parents are sadly responsible for such misconducts because they themselves are not aware of netiquettes and they are the ones who provide i-phones, laptops and latest gadgets to underage children without any surveillance over them that make them commit such crimes. Schools cannot be considered responsible for such mishaps because it is anyway the nuclear family concept and parental misguidance that brings such students together and commit graver crimes online. Today having a drink with your daughter who is underage, posting pictures of drinking together and proudly boasting of adding your mother into your Facebook profile with 500 other friends at the age of eight or ten is nothing but the ignorance of parents. Parents often give their children moral lectures but do not guide them to not to make an email id as [email protected]…… These days your child might end up seeing pornographic site when he/she, mistypes songs.pk as songs.pk.com. This is when parental guidance is badly needed and should be implemented.
Q- What do the statistics reveal about the cyber world?
RT: My reach is to 5 lakh audience of youngsters and school goers. I have trained about 4500 police officers. I regularly advice and continue cyber consultation receiving about two to three hundred complaints a month, 10-15 mails a day. With 120 million internet users in India, there are 33 percent mobile internet users out of which 65 percent are college and school going. They are online for 6-7 hours per day with hardly any constructive activity. Today, families attend parties just to update their Facebook account which is kind of a maniac viral spreading around in the society and then they complain. Relationship statuses of class ninth and tenth students get updated to engaged, committed and married which makes them vulnerable to cyber blackmails. The same girl who smiles on reading hot and sexy comments on her photograph will get a boy beaten up in real life for may be a teasing case.
Q- How can one file a complaint report against a cyber crime?
RT: Today every state has a cyber cell in a police station. One can directly go to the police station and file a complaint. Direct complaint can also be filed on online cyber cell or central government’s cyber cell body on the CERT website (Computer Emergency Response Team).