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Everyone Must Come Forward to Curb Cyber-crime

  • Hiren Pandit
  • 7th November, 2021 04:14:23 PM
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Information technology (IT) is one of the top priorities of the present government. The country is well ahead in this sector. New technologies like mobile and the Internet have spread beyond the city limits to the rural areas. Various benefits of IT are becoming increasingly available to people. Now it is easy to communicate with any part of the world. With the rapid expansion of IT, cyber-crime or IT-based crime is also increasing rapidly. Innocent people are being victims of various crimes. Again, various conspiracies are going on against the government using the IT benefits. Various rumours are being spread. Different groups are being provoked. As social crime is happening, violent communalism is spreading.

Every 12 seconds, one social media ID is being opened on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegram. According to the data of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), now the number of the Internet users in the country is 11 crore 26 lakh 13 thousand. And the number of mobile SIM users is about 16 crore. A large part of the digital crimes is being committed on social media. Hacking social media accounts is called compromising or creating fake accounts. There are also cases of cyber-bullying and spreading unwanted content. Netizens are now facing various problems on social media. Through Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Viber, YouTube, WhatsApp and Emo et cetera, many people are falling prey to cyber-criminals. These virtual platforms exploit someone's personal weakness to humiliate, intimidate or tempt him/her to do something unfair. Adolescents are the first victims of such harassment. Now, people of different ages are also falling into this trap.

In Bangladesh, a large number of Facebook users, including school, college, and university students, are victims of cyberbullying. According to the data, 49 percent of school children in the country are regular victims of cyberbullying. According to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, three-quarters of the country's women are victims of cyberbullying. However, this issue remains unpublished. Only 28 percent filed complaints alleging online torture. The rest are afraid that if they complain, they will be socially degraded. Apart from cyberbullying, such harassment is also happening on mobile phones or e-mails. As a result, frustration, inattention to studies and insomnia et cetera, are caused among the victims, including women. Even suicides happen.

An organised clique is actively trying to mislead the passionate youth with the benefits of IT. Various religious extremist ideologies are being propagated by opening Facebook pages, groups, and YouTube channels. As the days go by, billions of people are connecting with it. Strict cyber monitoring should be done so that no one can disrupt the security of the state. The Internet facility has become easy. It has many good aspects. There are also some bad aspects. So, when you do a good deed, the bad that comes with it should not cause a big crisis. Necessary steps need to be taken for that. So, cybercrime is now a threat to the security of the state. It is also a threat to public safety. The young generation is being misled. The lives of the youth are being made miserable. It is important to take adequate measures to monitor cybercrime. As we become digitally dependent, there is no alternative to cybercrime monitoring.

Our state system is going digital. So, the threat of cyberspace will increase even more terribly in the future. Social media, including Facebook-YouTube, should be strictly monitored. It is not possible to stay away by closing them. We are becoming dependent in some places, but enemies inside and outside the country have become active enough. They are out to do harm to people in every possible way. How to prevent it? We shall have to take measures so that we can be protected from any kind of cyber-attack.

The criminal gangs are becoming reckless day-by- day thinking that the prevailing laws of the country are weak in identifying IT-related crimes. The matter is undoubtedly terrifying. The BTRC has been seen to be helpless in this regard. This time there have been incidents of communal attacks in different parts of the country alleging insult to religion during Durga Puja. As a result, the question has arisen - whether popular services like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google will remain uncontrolled in this country. The question is coming up again and again. Bangladesh ranks the 10th in the world in terms of the number of mobile subscribers. At present, the number of mobile subscribers in the country is about 160 million. As the number of the Internet users is increasing due to its easy availability, so is the number of cybercrimes. In particular, the number of social media Facebook-centric crimes is increasing. In this age of technology, living without computers, the Internet and mobile phones is almost impossible. Technology has become people-oriented and has bound people on all sides. As true as it is and the reality of the age, its misuse is also becoming one of the causes of human sufferings. Young school-college-going girls are the main victims of these scams. Not only cybercrime is being perpetrated to torture women, but cybercriminals are also committing heinous crimes financially. There are frequent incidents of hacking numbers with fake messages on mobile phones and stealing money from bank accounts.

Another major crime trend is the spread of state, social, political and religious hatred on the Internet. We often see news of the Internet-centric fraud and crime through the news. However, the law- enforcement officials say that the level of crime is higher and many crimes are not reported in the news. Many people are not complaining to the police or any other agency for fear of losing their dignity. As a result, many cases are not brought to justice and in many cases, the culprits cannot be identified. In this case, experts are talking about our technical limitations. It should be kept in mind that as cybercrime is on the rise, crime investigation forces need to be trained to curb it.

Almost every day new technology is being invented and criminals are using that technology to commit crimes. In the interest of protecting the security and reputation of the country, there can be no alternative to building a technological law-enforcement force to identify and suppress the cybercriminals. Besides, up-to-date laws are required. They have not been developed in the country as yet. Many countries around the world have enacted laws to regulate the social media. We also need to pay attention to that.

The policy of remaining silent toward cybercrime is one of the reasons for the big loss. For fear of losing family or respect, many people endure or suppress by maintaining silence. Criminals take more chances as a result. They also trap the victims in various traps to get financial benefits. At this time of the Internet, cyber-attacks are a complex psychological nuisance. Criminals are specifically blaming or attacking a person in public. Bullying also involves distorting one's picture or video and posting it online. This is a kind of cybercrime. However, there are laws in the country to suppress these crimes. Just an awareness in this regard is a must. If the matter goes beyond the family circle then we shall have to take refuge in the law. In this case, avoiding police cooperation is rather dangerous.

This difficult task becomes very easy by following a few steps. The first of these steps is to make a general diary (GD) at the police station. Evidence of harassment must be kept with the screenshot or message. Anyone who falls victim to harassment can now get help by knocking on the 999 or police Facebook page. Apart from this, such problems can be solved by maintaining confidentiality on hotline number 10921 of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. Complaints can also be made directly on BTRC's phone and e-mail. In the online world, there is a way to find out a solution.

Identifying, arresting, and proving allegations against the cybercriminals are time-consuming and challenging for the Department of Cyber Security and Crime. These challenges include lack of Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty (MLAT) with different countries, negligence in the storage of log data of the Internet service providers, failure to report an organised crime promptly, and lack of awareness and skilled manpower among digital technology users. Various teams are working on Digital Forensic Investigation Team, Cyber Incident Response and Investigation, the Internet Referral and Investigation, Social Media Monitoring, E-Fraud Investigation and Cyber Crime.

Those who are sharing videos or spreading messages of social unrest are being identified through Facebook, YouTube, or social media. Besides, it is becoming urgent to take a legal action by finding out the people behind the rumours or videos. In the cyber world, befooling common people, many domestic and foreign circles are regularly looting large sums of money. Criminals are putting such apps in front of Bigo Live, TickTock. But behind it, there involves a big financial crime. These abuses and propaganda on social media and online must be stopped now and people from all walks of life must come forward.

The writer is a Research Fellow, BNNRC