Digital forensics

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Today Digital Forensics is an important tool for solving crimes committed with computers, as well as for solving crimes against people where evidence may reside on a computer. Digital Forensics is the science of identifying, extracting, analysing and presenting the digital evidence that has been stored in the digital devices. The collection and analysis of data from computers and other digital devices in the interest of obtaining evidence. Evidence obtained in a computer forensic investigation can be useful in criminal, civil, or corporate investigations, but different legal rules may apply.

Why it is important: According to some estimates, almost 95% of criminals leave evidence which could be captured and analysed through proper computer forensic procedure.

- Computer forensics is also concerned with handling sensitive data responsibly and confidentially.

- Taking precautions to not nullify finding by corrupting data.

- Taking precautions to ensure the integrity of the data.

- Staying within the law and rules of evidence.


Cyber-crimes have significantly increased in India. The trends in this regard are not very promising. For instance, the cyber law, cyber security and cyber forensics trends in the year 2013 have showed poor performance of Indian government in these fields. This position has not changed in 2014 as well. For instance, the cyber forensics trends of India 2014 still show inability of India to deal with cyber forensics related issues. India is also clinging to outdated laws like cyber law and telegraphs law and is not investing effectively in the field of intelligence agencies and law enforcement technology for India. In the absence of scientific approach towards digital evidence and cyber-crime investigation, there are very few cyber-crimes convictions in India. In fact, the Supreme Court of India is hearing many Public Interest Litigations (PILs) in this regard. In one such PIL the Supreme Court of India has issued notice to centre to seek its views in this regard. The Supreme Court has sought response from the centre on a PIL seeking its direction to the government to frame regulations and guidelines for effective investigation of cyber-crimes in India. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Indian government has announced to formulate a cyber-crimes prevention strategy of India. Cyber-crimes investigation, however, requires sound techno legal expertise. Skills development through online training and skills development courses in urgently required for Indian law enforcement agencies. Cyber-crimes investigation training in India is one such skills development activity that must be imparted to make law enforcement agencies of Indiamodern and upto date.

Modernization of police force of India requires not only basic knowledge of information and communication technology (ICT) but also practical trainings in the areas like cyber law, cybercrimes investigation, cyber forensics, etc. Cybercrimes investigation capabilities in India are not up to the standards. Presently, most of the police stations and police officers find it difficult to deal with cyber law and cybercrimes related cases. Another area where India needs to work is to strengthen the cyber forensics investigation capabilities. There is a dire need to develop cyber forensics best practices in India as soon as possible. Police must also ensure cyber law skills development. Similarly, police in India also need to undertake cyber frauds detection trainings so that cyber frauds can be anticipated even before they are committed.


Technologies regarding intelligence and law enforcement agencies are not very frequently discussed. Thus, they remain outside the mainstream media and very few works are available that inform about these technologies. We have been discussing intelligence and law enforcement related technologies and projects like National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India, Aadhaar Project of India, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project of India, Central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India, Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India, etc. While implementing the intelligence and e-surveillance related projects, Indian government has failed to cater the constitutional requirements like Parliamentary oversight, privacy and civil liberties protections, balancing national security and civil liberties protection, etc. Similarly, law enforcement and intelligence agencies of India are still not very comfortable with techno legal issues. For instance, cyber forensics is rarely applied by these agencies and our police are not well versed in cybercrime investigations. Modernization of police force of India is urgently needed where police personnel must be trained in various techno legal issues. Cyber security issues are also not managed properly by these agencies. Cyber security in India is not in a good shape as reflected by the Cyber Security Trends of India,2013. Critical infrastructure protection in India is still not taken seriously by Indian government. It has been suggested that NTRO should protect the critical ICT infrastructures of India. The National Cyber Security Policy of India 2013 (NCSP 2013) was drafted in the year 2013. However, NCSP 2013 itself is suffering from many serious drawbacks. These include lack of privacy protection, absence of integration with the National Security Policy of India, absence of civil liberties protection in cyberspace, absence of balancebetween civil liberties and national security requirements, non-implementation of the policy, etc. Indian government has also proposed setting up of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) of India in 2012. However, till 2014 it has not been established though some interest in this regard has been shown recently by the Narendra Modi government. This seems to be the continuance of Congress government’s commitment to expedite establishment of NCCC in India.


Cyberspace and computers do not recognize national boundaries, but the law is bound by national boundaries. This it often happens in a cybercrime that the victim maybe residing in one national boundary, but the offender may be from other national boundary and, the offender during the commission of crime may have used the boundaries of some other country. The legal procedure from gathering information outside India- MLAT/Letter Rogatory, guidelines have been issued by the Ministry Of Home Affairs .Thus, investigation thus pose very peculiar challenges and the investigator might need to conduct investigation outside his/her national boundary and as per the criminal law of the foreign country. For this Sections 166A and 166B of Cr.P.C. aid in requesting the foreign country to help and assist in the investigation.


It has been observed that due to lack of knowledge and advancements, cyber wings in India are struggling while combating with cybercrimes. However, as the popular saying goes that “A problem acknowledged is half solved”, in the present scenario, all India needs to do is focus more on enhancing and ensuring proper implementation of the legal provisions existing as well as making sure that the cases reported are being investigated. More and more awareness should be created among the masses so that they grow vigilant towards the cons of cyberspace as well.