Friday, December 18, 2009

Committee To Formulate Guidelines For Crime Reporting In India Constituted

The Delhi High Court has constituted a committee to formulate guidelines for crime reporting by the media. Retired Chief Justice J.S.Verma would be its head. The committee will comprise of one member from the National Broadcasters’ Association, one from Press Council of India, representatives from media, Delhi Police and the petitioner.

The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by an NGO seeking action against police officials for allegedly leaking to the media confessional statements made by suspected terrorists in the Batla House case. Two terrorists and a police inspector were killed in that shootout Sep 19 last year.

Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law, has welcomed this step of the Delhi High Court. He also stressed upon the importance of “whistleblower’s protection” as well. He informs that similar proposals were mooted by the government of India as well but they were strongly resisted by the media community. Now with the present direction the path for suitable guidelines and law in this regard has become clear.

While the move is in the right direction, the government of India must reconcile the conflicting interests of right to information on the one hand and regulation of media reports on the other. The committee would consider this aspect in mind while formulating the guidelines.


Decisions Management Of Cyber Security Issues In India

Cyber security of India is a neglected field. Even when we talk and think about this crucial aspect, we tend to adopt an approach that presupposes that procurement of technology is the best solution. We do not analyse the pros and cons of any technological deployment.

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law “The cyber security capabilities of a nation is as strong as is its weakest link. If the weakest link is exploited, even the most robust and secure security systems can be collapsed in minutes.

For instance, the Pentagon has fixed a security breach that allowed insurgents to hack into data feeds from pilotless "drone" aircraft that provide real-time video of war zones. Iraqi militants are using a 25.95 US dollars software named SkyGrabber to shoot down highly sophisticated US drones. SkyGrabber helps in capturing the drone feeds in order to neutralise the same. This means we have to apply common sense first before relying upon and procuring technology worth of millions, says Dalal.

Recently, it has been reported that the Chinese intelligence agencies may have planted computer malware and broken into the headquarters of 33 Corps, the army formation looking after most of the north-eastern border with China. The break-in included the planting of trojan viruses which may have given Chinese operatives remote access to the computer network at the 33 Corps headquarters in Sukhna, near Siliguri, West Bengal.

The defense forces of India must pay adequate attention towards securing strategic IT assets from hacking and other cyber attacks. Equally important is the requirement of protecting critical ICT infrastructure of India.

Indian approach in this regard is not sensible at all. We should not invest thousands of crores of Indian rupees into security projects that can be manipulated and sabotaged in minutes. Rather we should first analyse the weaknesses and security holes of the same before buying and installing it, suggests Praveen Dalal.

It seems security of a nation is proper application of “common sense” rather than wasting unlimited amount of money. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI), Rs 800 crores centralised facility to control phone tapping activities in India, etc are some of the projects that require common sense application before their implementation.