Varun Kapoor, IPS
Additional Director General of Police, Narcotics and PRTS, Indore
Today all of us are living in two worlds. One is the real world and the other is called the virtual world. In the real world everyone and everything is physically present in front of us thus we can very well see, touch, communicate and understand everyone and everything which comes in contact with us. Still to remain secure we take all security measures. These measures also come naturally to us, like no one has to tell us to look left and right before crossing a public street. In addition we know all the relevant rules and regulations which govern the real world before we embark on any activity. Like before we start driving a vehicle we know the provisions of the Motor Vehicle (MV) Act. In spite of all the opportunities that exist and all the efforts that are made – mistakes occur – and all types of crimes take place in this world.
Now imagine the virtual world. Here there is no one physically present in front of us. No one we can see, touch, feel, understand judge etc. There is only a screen in front of us with a picture or a speaker with a voice. How much can we believe and how much we should disbelieve? This is the virtual existence – where physical presence is replaced by an imaginary identity. In addition almost all the residents of the virtual world do not know the laws that govern this space and neither do they take any overt security measures to remain secure. If this is the scenario in this new and omnipresent virtual world then how can mistakes and crimes not occur? Cyber space offences are thus increasing in a sharp upward tangent. This is both alarming and dangerous.
How can this be prevented and order and semblance of security be built up in the virtual world – is the most troubling question that is agitating the entire security establishment of all nations around the world. According to me the best and the soundest way to achieve this is by “inculcating a mindset of security” in the minds of the citizenry – right from children to the senior citizens. And this can come about only through an awareness blitzkrieg!
The citizens need to develop the above mentioned mindset in a way that they think secure in whatever they do. What to do – what not to do; what to see – what not to see; what to comment on – what not to comment on; what to share – what not to share; what to like – what not to like etc. All such things should be internalized as soon as possible. Nobody should need to tell a good Netizen what ought to be done and what ought not. The reaction should be natural, spontaneous and correct.
A good Netizen should not indulge in any risky behavior. The behavior should be totally thought through and danger free. Cyber crime has a double danger if a person decides to do risky behavior. In the real or natural world if a person does indulge in risky behavior he or she can become a victim of a crime. For example if an individual decides to take a stroll in a deserted street at midnight – he is indulging in true risky behavior and exposing himself to harm. He or she may very easily become victim of a crime. However in the cyber world if a person indulges in similar risky behavior then he or she may not only become a victim of a crime but can very well become an offender! This is the double whammy that cyber crime can bring about to an unsuspecting person. This then is exactly the thing that a Netizen should avoid and protect himself against – “undertaking any type of risky behavior”.
Thus a mindset of security in the cyber space refers to – having knowledge of the various legal provisions governing crime in this space (IT Act etc); cutting out any form of risky behaviors and taking overt security measures to remain safe and hassle free while existing in this virtual world.