Hooked to the Net; Are You Playing it Safe?

Recently a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and well known cyber law expert of the country came to our Institute to give a guest lecture. The talk proved to be informative for the audience and the students who attended the session.

During the session, he outlined several issues backed with facts and his experience as a legal eagle, and this led to an awakening in us, and hopefully will see more mature behavior when we make use of those indispensible entities the next time - the mobile and the Net.

At the outset, he outlined the need to be aware of IT Act 2000, which covers almost every sticky issue that relates to computers and misuse & cyber crimes. He rated the IT Act 2000 to be one of the three most significant laws ever passsed in the country since independence.

In the interactive session, he questioned the auidence as to whether they have read the 'Agreement Clause' while signing up for Facebook or 'True Caller'?  (TC is a very popular mobile app that stores phone numbers in private servers in the US).  He informed us that within the 'Agreement Clause' Facebook states that whatever one uploads on its site automatically becomes the property of Facebook, and they can make use of the data freely.  In many cases, they may even share your data with partner companies.

Planning to send a corny joke to your friend?  Think twice. Under a particular clause in the IT Act, this may land you in jail for three years with a monetary penalty to boot.

He also cited complicated cases that are coming to the fore nowadays. In one such instance, while a particular teacher was taking a class and writing on the blackboard, a student quietly tiptoed to her desk and slipped something inside her bag in full view of the class.  He didn't reveal to anyone as to what he kept in her bag. Two weeks later, staff members of the school received an audio file containing private details of the lady teacher.  On investigation, it was revealed that the student had hidden an audio chip in her bag which sends all her communication to a receiver device at the student's end.  The student thereafter edited out the non-juicy portion to make it shorter and sensational ...

In another such incident, a class XII student sent a proposal of marriage to his subject teacher via email, an attractive unmarried lady in her mid twenties. The particular email was also copied and sent to several students and members of the staff.  The teacher was natrually too shocked with the incident, and has decided not to drag the issue very far, or approach the police....

One of the spouse of a Page 3 celebrity couple had approached our lawyer seeking 'divorce' from his wife whom he suspected of having an illicit affair with someone else.  How to catch her on the wrong foot?  Gift her mobile with an embedded chip that relays back all her conversation to another receiver mobile device at another location.  The husband, in our case, received ample proof from the conversation of his wife's adulterous ways.  No prizes for guessing what happened next....

Our speaker also harped upon a recent case where two Mumbai girls were caught by the Police for airing their views on Mumbai shutdown just after the death of Balasaheb Thackeray and for 'liking' the post on Facebook. The postings on public forum with the possibility of hurting sentiments on a large scale causing public outrage invites penalty as per the provisions of a particular clause in the IT Act.  The tremendous public support for the girls actually saved the day for them.

The bottom line is to be cautious about the digital footprint one is leaving behind. As the expert said, ignorance about the law wouldn't be in your favor in a court of law.


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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