Today, almost everyone is on social networking sites. It has become a part of our lives and a medium to helps us stay connected with our family and friends, no matter which part of the world we are living in. However, many tend to misuse this technology for no particular reason.
A recent case of derogatory comments made against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, led to stone pelting and heavy damage to public property in Pune and Nashik.
Though the cyber crime cell managed to block the page on which such derogatory comments were uploaded, but the damage had already been done. Many lose comments are made on such sites, under the pretext of freedom of speech, has damaging repercussions or inconvenience to many people, at the least.
According to sources, the servers of most of the social networking sites are in the US. Though, some do have offices in India, they provide almost no help to the police.
Speaking to dna, Vijay Mukhi, cyber security expert, said that the police have to rely on these people even if a page has to be blocked. "The police have to send a mail to the main office in the US, and explain why they want to block the particular page and only if they feel that the reason is good enough then would they block it. However, when it comes to helping in tracking down the IP address, they almost never help."
Mukhi further added that these sites are of the view that if they help the police to track down the miscreant then they would be losing out on one of their users. "This attitude has given rise to such incidents as these miscreants are aware that they are never going to get caught," Mukhi said.
When asked on whether there is a solution, to this problem, Mukhi said, "There are three ways of tracking down the IP address – through the internet service provider (ISP), by the government of India and the company, where its main server is located. While the IPS is technically of no help as they do not have any data on the users as it is a costly process. The main offices of these social networking sites do not help the police either."
Ideally, a PIL should be filed against the Indian office of these sites and order them to help the police. If they refuse to do so then the government should block the sites from being used just like China has done, Mukhi added.
Mukubd Pawar, a senior inspector of cyber crime investigation cell, said, "The servers of almost all the sites are hosted in foreign countries. We have to send them emails to get any defamatory content deleted whether it is in a form of text, photo or video. However, it takes a long time when it comes to tracking the IP address of the miscreants. "
November 2012: Two girls from Palghar, Shaheen Dadha and her friend, Renu Srinivasan, were arrested for posting controversial posts on Facebook in connection with the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. The girls were later released.
May 2014: Shiv Sainiks damaged several vehicles and pelted stones after defamatory comments against Bal Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on social networking site. People carried out rasto roko at Mumbai Pune Expressway causing major inconvenience to others. The miscreant is yet to be traced.