Intelligence Agencies And Law Enforcement Technology Forums In India

Intelligence Agencies And Law Enforcement Technology Forums In IndiaTechnologies regarding intelligence and law enforcement agencies are not very frequently discussed. Thus, they remain outside the mainstream media and very few works are available that inform about these technologies.

At Perry4Law Organisation we have been managing two discussion groups/forums. One is available at our own platform CECSRDI here and the other one is available as a LinkedIn Group here.

We have been discussing intelligence and law enforcement related technologies and projects like National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India, Aadhaar Project of India, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project of India, Central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India, Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India, etc.

While implementing the intelligence and e-surveillance related projects, Indian government has failed to cater the constitutional requirements like Parliamentary oversight, privacy and civil liberties protections, balancing national security and civil liberties protection, etc.

Similarly, law enforcement and intelligence agencies of India are still not very comfortable with techno legal issues. For instance, cyber forensics is rarely applied by these agencies and our police are not well versed in cyber crime investigations. Modernisation of police force of India is urgently needed where police personnel must be trained in various techno legal issues.

Cyber security issues are also not managed properly by these agencies. Cyber security in India is not in a good shape as reflected by the cyber security trends of India 2013 (PDF). Critical infrastructure protection in India (PDF) is still not taken seriously by Indian government. It has been suggested that NTRO should protect the critical ICT infrastructures of India.

The National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 (NCSP 2013) was drafted in the year 2013. However, NCSP 2013 itself is suffering from many serious drawbacks. These include lack of privacy protection, absence of integration with the National Security Policy of India, absence of civil liberties protection in cyberspace, absence of balance between civil liberties and national security requirements, non implementation of the policy, etc.

Indian government has also proposed setting up of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) of India in 2012. However, till 2014 it has not been established though some interest in this regard has been shown recently by the Narendra Modi government. This seems to be the continuance of Congress government’s commitment to expedite establishment of NCCC in India.

If you are interested in all these issues in general and intelligence agencies and law enforcement technology issues in particular, please visit the forums discussed above. You may also become a member of the LinkedIn forum of Perry4Law in this regard and keep yourself updated on all these issues.

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Modernisation Of Police Force Of India Urgently Needed

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLBPolice reforms in India have been due for many years. However, not much has been achieved in this regard by successive Indian Governments so far. This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court of India has clearly directed the Central Government to bring suitable Police reforms in India on a priority basis. As a result, the Police force of India is still functioning with all its Administrative, Technological and Legal Infirmities and Weaknesses.

Further, intelligence agencies reforms in India are also urgently needed as India has been treading on the wrong path of e-surveillance and eavesdropping for many years and this must be changed as soon as possible. For instance, Vodafone has confirmed that Indian Government has been engaging in Unconstitutional E-Surveillance through secret wires. Reacting to the same, the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) has been asked to look into the matter and report to the Indian Government.

What is surprising is why the Narendra Modi led Government has not “Cleared its Stand” till now on “Illegal and Unconstitutional Projects” like the Central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India and Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India. If these Unconstitutional E-Surveillance Projects are continued by Modi Government without any “Parliamentary Oversight”, then there is no difference between BJP and Congress Government and both are working to the detriment of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace. A Lawful and Constitutional Interception Law in India is also needed.

After Legislative and Parliamentary Oversight issue, the Modi Government must also work upon “Technology Issues” pertaining to the Police force of India. For instance, much work is to be done to make the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project of India a success at “National Level”. There are a whole set of “Technological Issues” pertaining to Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies of India and we have been covering the same at our LinkedIn Group titled Intelligence Agencies and Law Enforcement Technology in India that is the exclusive discussion platform on this topic. Since that is Open Group, I am not repeating the topics and issues pertaining to this area here and request our Readers to visit that Group for these topics.

Another related area for Police reforms in India pertains to Skills Development of Police force of India. For instance, Cyber Crimes Investigation in India is still a herculean task for a majority of members of Police force of India. Areas like Cyber Law, Cyber Forensics, E-Discovery, Cyber Security, etc are still a puzzle for our Police force. We must develop the Cyber Crime Investigations Capabilities of our Police force. Similarly, India needs to strengthen Cyber Forensics and Cyber Crimes Investigation Capabilities at the national level as well.

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Many Online Pharmacies Websites In India Are Controlled By Underworld And Organised Criminal Networks

Many Online Pharmacies Websites In India Are Controlled By Underworld And Organised Criminal NetworksIndian government has miserably failed to regulate illegal and dangerously flourishing online pharmacies in India. Online medicines sales in India are still considered to be unregulated and are operating without any hassle. There are many techno legal requirements to operate online pharmacies in India but hardly any of them follow the same. The laws for opening of online pharmacies in India are scattered under different statutes. But they must be duly complied with by online pharmacies operating in India that is not happening presently.

Besides violating the applicable Indian laws many online pharmacies are managed and controlled by criminal elements. It has now been reported that thousands of websites selling illegal pharmaceutical products without prescriptions are controlled by underworld and organised criminal networks. These illegal online pharmacies and healthcare websites in India need to be curbed and blocked as soon as possible by Indian government. In fact, illegal online pharmacies websites are on hit list of Google and federal authorities of U.S.

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Maharashtra has taken series of actions against distributors involved in online pharmacy and seized illegal medicines worth in crores of rupees. Till now, Mumbai FDA has seized Rs 2 crore worth of Sildenafil Citrate, popularly known as Viagra, from 27 online firms in Mumbai, Thane and Pune for selling the drug illegally to African and European countries. The FDA is still investigating the matter and more such companies might face action for illegal sale of drugs without a licence and prescription in contravention to Section 18 C and 18 (a) (6) of D&C Act.

If FDA officials are believed, then underworld is controlling the online pharmacy business. Most of the international drug traffickers operate in the US, India, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean, all part of the illegal network. These e-traffickers distribute drugs worldwide using these internet pharmacies. The modus operandi is simple. Money transaction is done to Indian companies. Later, Indian distributors or suppliers send these drug via post offices or courier them to patients across the country and outside.

Maharashtra FDA has already approached DCGI for regulating illegal online pharmacies operating in India. The online sales of prescribed drugs in India are also under DGCA scanner. The regulatory and legislative measures to check online pharmacies trading in banned drugs in India are also in pipeline. The digital communication channels for drugs and healthcare products in India are also subject to numerous regulatory compliances. All these issues require implementation of techno legal measures on the part of Indian government.

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FDA Maharashtra Raided 27 Online Pharmacies Located In Mumbai, Thane And Pune And Seized Drugs Worth Rs. 2 Crore

FDA Maharashtra Raided 27 Online Pharmacies Located In Mumbai, Thane And Pune And Seized Drugs Worth Rs. 2 CroreOnline pharmacies have become a health hazard in India and they are operating unregulated in India. The Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has already approached DCGI for regulating illegal online pharmacies within the state. The Hyderabad drug authorities are also keen on regulating illegal sale of drugs through online mechanism. While online pharmacies in India are under scrutiny yet much more is still required to be done. The illegal online pharmacies and healthcare websites in India need to be curbed as soon as possible.

While Mumbai FDA and other regulatory authorities are doing a great job yet authorities in other parts of India, including Delhi and NCR region, are very lax in curbing illegal online pharmacies operating form these regions. There are many online pharmacies websites in these regions that are not complying with Indian laws and are openly selling bot prescribed and over the counter drugs to local and international consumers.

In another praiseworthy effort, the Mumbai FDA has seized Rs 2 crore worth of sildenafil citrate, popularly known as Viagra, from 27 online firms located in Mumbai, Thane and Pune for selling it illegally to African and European countries. The firms did not have the requisite licence from FDA to sell the drug online or were selling them against fake prescriptions.

Elaborating, S K Patil, FDA’s joint commissioner (drugs) for Greater Mumbai said, “We found the firms were selling large quantities of sildenafil citrate to people living in the US, African and European countries and that they had no buyers in the domestic market. The firms were dispensing the tablets via air courier without obtaining the drug licence from FDA and export licence from the assistant drug controller’s office. A few other firms had licences and also the export licence, but were found to be involved in dispensing drugs against invalid and fake prescriptions. Further investigation is on.”

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SanDisk And Toshiba Sue Hynix Over Suspected Flash Memory Technology Leak

SanDisk And Toshiba Sue Hynix Over Suspected Flash Memory Technology LeakRecently it was reported that Toshiba’s Nand memory chips faced industrial cyber espionage threats and were leaked to the competitors. Japan declared its intentions to fight against growing incidences of industrial cyber espionage. Now it has been reported by Reuters that Toshiba and SanDisk have sued Hynix over suspected flash memory technology leak.

Toshiba and SanDisk separately filed civil lawsuits against South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc, seeking damages over the suspected theft of data related to their flagship flash memory chip technology used in smartphones and tablet computers. The moves follow the arrest by Tokyo police of a former SanDisk engineer suspected of improperly providing technical data to Hynix, where he later worked.

Toshiba filed the suit with the Tokyo District Court. It did not disclose how much it was seeking, but said it estimates losses of at least 100 billion yen ($980 million) as a result of the alleged leak. SanDisk said it filed its suit against Hynix and related entities in Santa Clara Superior Court, in California, seeking damages, an injunction and other remedies.

Meanwhile, Hynix declined to make any comments saying that it is not aware of any such litigation as it has not received information about such litigations.

These litigation matters are not easy to investigate and decide and good and effective e-discovery and cyber forensics methodologies would be required to be used to crack the case. Digital evidence needs to be properly preserved by parties to the dispute and destruction of the same would attract penal provisions under laws of different countries. Further, proper chain of custody (CoC) would also be required to be maintained by the investigators so that prosecutors can put their cases effectively and defence can defend the cases properly.

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Illegal Online Pharmacies Are On Hit List Of Google And Federal Authorities Of US

Illegal Online Pharmacies Are On Hit List Of Google And Federal Authorities Of USIllegal online pharmacies are serious health hazard to the people at large. The United States (U.S.) has been taking illegal online pharmacies very seriously. At the same time U.S. is also lobbying hard to protect the interest of U.S. pharmaceutical companies in India. U.S. efforts in the pharmaceutical field have also increased as recently Novartis lost the patent battle in the Supreme Court of India regarding the Novartis AG’s Cancer treatment drug Glivec’s case.

However, these lobbying efforts may not work as Indian patent law is in conformity with WTO and international obligations. Further, India is a hub for production and supply of generic drugs world over. The pharmaceutical companies in U.S. have felt threatened due to this dominant position of India. On top of it, online pharmacies in India have increased the sale and distribution of Indian generic drugs world over.

Many online pharmacies of India may be on hit list of U.S. and technology companies and search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. However, we cannot blame U.S. for taking legal and retaliatory actions against Indian online pharmacies as almost all of them are operating in an illegal and unregulated manner. Recently, U.S. shut down 1677 illegal online pharmacies websites but Indian government is still indifferent towards taking legal actions against illegal online pharmacies of India.

We have many techno legal requirements and laws for opening of online pharmacy store in India but online pharmacies are not complying with the same. Neither the website owners nor the foreign investors have made any e-commerce due diligence exercise regarding these online pharmacies. In particular, cyber law due diligence requirements (PDF) is openly violated by these online pharmacies. Although Indian drug authorities have declared that they would take action against illegal online pharmacies yet till now no online pharmacy of India has been punished.

Now Internet players, including Google, are working with the U.S. government to sort out and curb illegal online pharmacies impacting U.S. citizens. It is practically not possible to find out and prohibit every online pharmacies operating on the Internet so U.S. is focusing on limiting their use through consumer education, restricting their appearance in Internet searches, and enforcing harsher punishment.

Currently, 35,000 to 50,000 active Internet pharmacies are believed to be operating, and 97 percent of those surveyed do not meet U.S. standards, according to a 2013 report (PDF) from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. This could mean they are not approved by the FDA, or that their pharmacists are not licensed by the state licensing board.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act passed in 2012 and the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 include guidance regarding safety of the legitimate drug supply chain. Both laws are in the process of being implemented, and they involve tighter track and trace security as drugs travel between manufacturer and patient. Yet regulating Internet pharmacies can be more challenging because they sell directly to consumers, and it can be nearly impossible for patients to know whether a website, and the drug it is selling, is legitimate.

Google, in particular, does not have a clean record in dealing with international online pharmacies. The company previously allowed Canadian sellers to advertise through its AdWords program, targeting American consumers and illegally importing drugs into the U.S. A settlement was reached in 2011, in which Google forfeited $500 million and agreed to a set of measures to ensure reporting of counterfeit drug sales to the federal government.

Google is now a member of the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a nonprofit formed in 2011 with the mission of promoting secure online pharmacies through “education, enforcement, and information sharing.” This involves both limiting the visibility and accessibility of rogue sellers, and educating consumers about identifying safe online pharmacies.

Other CSIP members include Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Visa, American Express, UPS, and more. The group aims to partner with government officials, health providers, law enforcement, and other groups to educate patients about finding safe medicine online; aid law enforcement efforts; and create a public list of safe websites for consumers. Internet companies are working to report and remove illegal pharmacies from Internet search results, while payment networks aim to prevent payment transactions for illegal drugs.

We at Perry4Law welcome this move of these telecom companies and payment networks as the health hazard created through illegal online pharmacies is of gravest nature. These illegal pharmacies are also creating legal and commercial troubles for these companies.

The cooperation is crucial because the issue of illegal online pharmacies is very complex and daunting. Even with the collaboration of the government, Internet providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders, controlling the growing problem of counterfeit drug sales remains a constant challenge due to conflict of laws in cyberspace. Nevertheless a continuous and arduous effort in this field is need of the hour.

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Tamil Website Savukku Ordered To be Blocked By Madras High Court

Tamil Website Savukku Ordered To be Blocked By Madras High CourtThe websites blocking in India is more or less a judicial act where the courts direct the department of electronics and information technology (DeitY) to block the website(s) ordered to be blocked.  In many cases the blocking of websites in India reflects the ignorance of judiciary to effectively deal with technology issues. This is the reason that ignorant judicial blocking of website in India is also common.

Recently the Supreme Court of India sought response from Central Government over blocking of porn websites in India. Indian Internet service providers (ISPs) have even clarified that they cannot block porn websites in India unilaterally and voluntarily.

There is no doubt that Indian Government can and should block offending websites on its own or the moment information about the same has been brought to its knowledge by third parties or general public. However, this is not happening in India as on date.

Meanwhile another judicial blocking is in pipeline. It has been reported that a Tamil website, ‘Savukku’, which means whip, has been ordered to be blocked by Madras High Court. The Court passed the order as it deemed the website to be offensive and tarnishing the reputation of several judges, IAS/IPS officers, advocates and others. The Court then directed the group coordinator (joint secretary), cyber law division, DeitY to block the entire website with immediate effect upon receipt of the order.

It seems the ownership of the website and hosting was obtained by an anonymous user and the authorship attribution is becoming a headache for the police. Holding service providers and those managing the websites responsible for the contents uploaded, Justice Selvam said: “Website service providers and all other persons providing internet service necessarily would require the persons in charge of websites to inform true particulars as regards their names and addresses. Clearly, in this case, the names and addresses stand wrongly informed.” Special teams had been formed to ascertain the location of the accused persons.

The court also made it clear that every objectionable post uploaded in the website would give cause for people to initiate appropriate proceedings against it. “Each and every instance of objectionable and vituperative, malignant post in the website would give cause for separate cases and actions.”

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Mt. Gox’s Website Disappearance Weakens Bitcoin’s Legitimacy Fight

Mt. Gox's Website Disappearance Weakens Bitcoin’s Legitimacy FightBitcoins are struggling really hard to make their present felt and keep themselves alive. Bitcoins are facing legal, cyber security, technical and many more challenges. Bitcoin exchanges around the world are facing technical and legal difficulties. Many of them have already shut down their website and many more are in the process of doing the same.

Now it has been reported that Mt. Gox, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges seems to have disappeared. Mt. Gox’s website was returning a blank page. The disappearance of the site follows the resignation Sunday of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation. However, the website is carrying a message from Mark Karpeles that says that he is still in Japan and working very hard with the support of different parties to find a solution to the recent issues of Mt. Gox. Earlier a decision was taken to close all transactions on Mt. Gox for the time being in order to protect the site and its users

This episode has shaken the trust regarding the virtual currency that is already facing legal and security challenges world wide. However, supporters of Bitcoin, including San Francisco-based wallet service Coinbase and Chinese exchange BTC China, said that Mt. Gox’s collapse was an isolated case of mismanagement. They said it had abused users’ trust, but did not offer details. “As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today,” the statement said.

Rumours are also there that Mt. Gox faced a sophisticated cyber attacks that resulted in stealing of large number of Bitcoins. This was the reason why the exchange blocked withdrawal of Bitcoins a few days back. The Japanese government has not announced any formal investigation in this regard till now.

In India, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched and raided few Bitcoin exchanges to see whether the yare violating Indian laws or not.  ED believes that Bitcoins can be used for criminal activities including money laundering, hawala transactions and funding of terrorist activities. Indian Laxmicoin has even sought clarifications from regulatory authorities of India before its launch.

Bitcoin exchanges in India need to ensure techno legal compliances before they launch their ventures in India. Otherwise they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law and facing legal battles.

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Mobile Application Developers Are Violating Indian Laws And May Be Prosecuted In Future

Mobile Application Developers Are Violating Indian Laws And May Be Prosecuted In FutureMobile applications enhance the functionality of mobile handsets. They also allow the use of mobile phones for purposes much beyond the traditional ones. However, mobile applications have their own set of security and legal challenges. Mobile applications are also required to comply with laws of different jurisdictions. Mobile applications are also potential source of civil liberties violation in cyberspace as they frequently violate privacy rights in the information age.

Many mobile based application and software providers are exploring the areas like m-health, telemedicine, e-commerce, mobile payment, online payment, cyber security, cloud computing, online gaming including poker, online pharmacies, Bitcoins exchanges, etc. For instance, Apple is planning to launch mobile payment service through Touch ID. In order to ensure that Apple complies with laws of different jurisdictions, Apple has also removed the blockchain application from its store. Similarly, Twitter is also planning to use its platform to enter e-commerce market world over.

These ventures have made the websites and application developers liable under the laws of different jurisdictions simultaneously. The conflict of laws in cyberspace has also complicated the penal liability of these application providers in different jurisdictions. If the application developers are based in India and they wish to raise funds from foreign investors, these application providers must also take care of cyber law due diligence requirements (PDF) as prescribed by Indian laws. Besides, the foreign investors investing in Indian applications would also conduct their own cyber law due diligence to ensure that Indian applications are in compliance with Indian laws.

Presently India and foreign application developers are in direct violation of various Indian laws and corresponding regulations. These include cyber law due diligence, internet intermediary liabilities, encryption related violations, cloud related violations, data protection and privacy regulations (PDF), etc. Most of them are not even aware about the encryption laws of India that have to be complied with.

There are mobile applications that accesses and uses mobile phone owner’s data, information, SMS, contact details, phone books, etc without owner’s permission. Further, there are many application providers that store such information and data outside India on foreign servers. Many time these data and information includes private, sensitive and crucial information that are not authorised to be viewed and used by such application providers.

The cyber litigations against foreign websites and application providers would increase in India in the near future. It is in the long term interest of Indian and foreign application providers to ensure techno legal compliances so that they are not prosecuted in India.

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Mumbai Crime Branch Busts Online Gambling Network Spreading Across India

Mumbai Crime Branch Busts Online Gambling Network Spreading Across India There is a legislative void when it comes to online gambling regulations in India. We have no dedicated online gambling laws in India and while traditional gambling is regulated to a great extent, online gambling is still evolving. Similarly, the online gaming industry of India is also maturing.

From time to time online gambling rackets are exposed by the law enforcement agencies of India. Still online gambling related websites and cyber crimes are on rise in India. Meanwhile, online websites for games like Poker, Rummy, etc are also on rise. A majority of the online poker and rummy websites in India are not legal and they are actively violating the laws and regulations of India.

Now it has been reported that the Mumbai crime branch sleuths have busted a first-of-its-kind online gambling network in the state with the arrest of five people from here on Saturday. The nation-wide network was being operated from Mumbai. Police have seized Rs 1 lakh, one dongle and two laptops from the accused.

The accused were collecting fees from individuals from the city who wished to become member of website. “An individual could become member of the website by depositing Rs 5,000 to Rs 1 lakh in cash and then play 12 types of gambling games,” police said. The accused told police that they were the local agents of the website. “The website is owned by Surajdev Gujarat of Mumbai. Its franchise owner is Limbra Infrastructure of H Y Khan, a resident of Mumbai,” police said. The accused told police that they were paid commission on the membership fees collected by them. Police said the gambling network had franchises in many cities of the country. Police teams would now set out to nab those who are behind the gambling network, police said.

While illegal online gambling websites may provide short term financial gains yet they are susceptible to legal risks. Similarly, playing online poker in India may be illegal in many circumstances. This is a grey area and what is legal and what is not depends exclusively whether the laws and regulations of India are truly followed by the poker websites operating in India.

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