8 breaches of Information Technology Act from Jan to Oct

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MARGAO: The cyber cafe culture in South Goa, particularly in Margao and also the coastal belt, has grown to a great extend, which can be seen from the number of cyber cafes that have come up in South Goa. However, along with the number of cyber cafes increasing, the cases booked by police stations under the Information and Technology Act have
also grown.

During the ten months of 2012, South Goa police stations have booked eight cases under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, however, just a few of these have been detected. These cases have been registered by Margao, Curchorem, Colva and Quepem police stations. In most of these cases, the culprit or culprits are unknown and so detection has
become difficult.

Sources in police said that in 2011, eight cases were booked in South Goa and all eight were detected. From January to May 2012, in South Goa, just three cases were booked and all three were detected.

One visits cyber café to accumulate information or to send emails or simply to surf or get on some social networking site. Students of schools, colleges and universities, make use of cyber cafes to gather information and also to complete their assignments. However, the police are worried about those who use the net for illegal and criminal activities. Police said that sometimes the net is used to defame someone and even post vulgar messages. Police said that in most cases booked by them under the IT Act, the culprit has managed to hack into the system and send crude or defamatory messages using fictitious names and addresses.

For instance the Margao police has booked a case against unknown persons under Section 66 of the IT Act after an Aquem-based resident lodged a complaint with the police that his computer system was hacked and fictitious messages were sent from his email account. The police said the offence took place at an office number located on the first floor of a building in Comba, Margao.

The District Magistrate, South Goa, has issued notification to cyber café owners under Section 144 of the CrPC, 1973, warning owners of action if the section of the relevant law is contravened. In view of this the police has decided to keep a strict watch on such activities.

The South Goa Superintendent of Police, Mr Shekhar, when contacted, said that all South Goa in-charges of police stations have been directed to check the activities of cyber cafés and see that they follow the directions laid down. He said that cyber café owners should maintain a users’ register with identity details of the users.

Mr Rajaram Naik, owner of a computer institute in Margao, said that there is no way that one can rule out the possibilities of criminals using the latest developments in communication and technology to commit crimes. He said that it is a good move that the police has started the process of asking owners, managers or in-charges of all cyber cafes, not to allow the use of their premises or services by any person, unless his or her identity is verified and established. He said the users have to write their name and address in their own handwriting.

Mr Naik said that cyber crime has to be dealt with a heavy hand, as it causes a lot of damage. He said that the penalty for illegally accessing a computer system ranges from 6 months to 5 years. The penalty for the unofficial modification on a computer ranges from 5 to 10 years. He said persons can also be punished for computer source document tampering and computer hacking.

Mr Naik said that Section 75 of IT Act-2000, states that powe to investigate such crimes lie with police officer, not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or any officer of the central government or a state government, authorised by the central government.

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