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#FightBribeGetBricks: Despotic behavior of Delhi Police is due to lack of accountability

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By Ishan Kukreti

Law and order are the basis on which a city functions and police is the main player in this process. It instills fear in the heart of criminals and makes the masses feel safe. However, the video floating on social media of a Delhi Traffic Police personnel hitting a woman full-force with a brick, has raised prominent questions on the character and accountability of Delhi Police.

The rude and crude Delhi Police

However, this isn’t a new thing. Delhi police has been under the scanner a lot of times for custodial deaths, refusal to file FIR, asking bribes etc.

According to the statistics released by the Public Grievance Cell, as many as 26 complaints are filed against Delhi Police daily. Last year 2,186 complaints were filed against Delhi Police. Majority of these were related to rude behaviour and bribe demands. Surprisingly, more than 60% of the complaints filed are still pending, with no action being taken against the defaulting official.

What’s Wrong?

A major reason for the despotic behavior of ‘friendly’ Delhi Police is lack of accountability.

Right now the police in Delhi is under the Central government as is the case with all Union Territories.  However, given the population and size of Delhi, managing the largest metropolitan police force of the world puts an immense burden on MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs). The fact that the Home Ministry is doing a sloppy job is palpable in the complaints against Delhi Police and their pending status, along with all the recorded and unrecorded instances of police brutality in Delhi.

The law governing police in India is an archaic British Law, Indian Police Act, 1861. Since then, apart from a few inconsequential changes, the ‘Inspector Raj’ has been continuing unhindered.

National Police Commission was constituted in 1979 which has time and again given relevant recommendations to the government for improving the condition of police, but no change has been initiated yet.

Even the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India (2006), had directed the Centre along with the states to initiate police reforms. Nine years since, the matter has yet not been taken up in any serious manner.

Court’s guidelines, focusing on achieving functional autonomy of the police (through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a “buffer body” between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability (for organizational performance and individual misconduct) could have acted as a revitalizing force for the department, but in the utter unwillingness of the government, they haven’t found a substantial say.

How about Delhi Police under Delhi government?     

Needless to say, for a UT of the size of Delhi, the control over the police force is not an unjustified demand. Handing the force over to Delhi government would not only bring in more accountability but will also cut down the red-tapism in the force.

Moreover, the chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal is ready to bear the burden of the department. The centre is not able to do the same and hence it should keep aside its political reasons and bring Delhi Police under Delhi Government.

 Start Police Reforms  

It’s never too late to initiate a progressive change. The Supreme Court directives have been gathering dust for a long time now and now the government has a reason to take them up again.

The government has a treasure trove of guidelines and recommendations by Supreme Court and the National Police Commission, which it has chosen to turn a blind eye to for so long. If it decides to break its lethargy and procrastination a lot of positive changes can be brought about in the police force, not only in increasing its efficiency but in also making it more accountable.

The given condition of force is such that the people are more scared of the police than the criminals, filing FIR is just a perfunctory job as nothing is ever retrieved, Delhi Police constables are seen harassing bikers on the roads.

It won’t be wrong to say that the people have lost their faith in the police and today’s incident just goes on to show that they are not wrong in their assessment.

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Delhi Police And Microsoft Work Together To Catch Cyber Thugs

Microsoft, that invests more than a billion dollars a year in security research, innovation and development, reached out to 126 organisations in India last year.

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Microsoft
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. Microsoft says it’s requiring its U.S. suppliers to offer their employees at least 12 weeks paid leave to care for a new child. The company announced the new parental leave policy Thursday. VOA

In a significant operation earlier this month, the cyber cell of Delhi Police arrested 24 people who posed as Microsoft tech support staff and duped several US citizens.

This could not have been possible without the the real-time monitoring of cyber crimes by Microsoft’s Digital Crime Unit (DCU) in Redmond that is using Cloud, Big Data, Machine Learning (ML) and Business Intelligence (BI) to improve the security of its products and services, protect vulnerable populations, fight malware, and reduce digital risks.

The real-time data analytics and sharing of key inputs with relevant law enforcement agencies helped bust 10 companies that were illegally running call centres at various places in Delhi that targeted Microsoft Windows users.

 

Microsoft
A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

 

“It was real-time monitoring that helped us crack the Delhi gang behind the large-scale tech support fraud. The whole operation has been encouraging in our fight against cyber crimes,” Shilpa Bratt, Director (Shared Services) of Digital Crimes Unit, told IANS.

“We worked closely with our DCU staff in India and Singapore to nail the culprits. I believe there are more such cyber criminals out there and we will up the ante against their sinister plans,” Bratt added.

The cyber criminals impersonated as Microsoft tech support staff after they managed to fraudulently pop up messages on users’ screens that their systems had been affected by malware.

In order to fix the systems, they charged any sum between $100 and $500 from the victims.

According to the Delhi police, incriminating evidence in the form of cheques from customers in the name of Microsoft Tech support, call recordings, virtual dialers, Microsoft Tech support training material, call log transcripts detailing the conversation with victims of fraud, payment gateway records and servers were seized.

 

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Delhi Police (representational Image), VOA

 

According to a Microsoft survey released this month, 68 per cent users in India experienced tech support scams in the past year and some of them (14 per cent) even lost money.

The problem is not limited to India alsone. Tech support scams are a problem worldwide, with three out of five people globally having experienced one in the past year and one in five losing money to fraudsters, according to the “Tech Support Scam Survey 2018” released by DCU.

In 2014, the DCU filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in the central district of California against some companies and related entities in India for unfair and deceptive business practices and trademark infringement.

According to the lawsuit, 3.3 million Americans fall victim to technical support scams annually, losing $1.5 billion.

The scammers claim to find non-existent computer viruses and infections, and then con people out of their hard-earned money for bogus tech support, in addition to stealing personal and financial information or even installing new malicious software.

Microsoft
Tech support scams are a problem worldwide, with three out of five people globally having experienced one in the past year.

“At DCU, we are constantly monitoring such scammers. The fight against them will only intensify in days to come,” Bratt noted.

In the last two days, informed Bratt, over 2 billion connected devices were affected with active threats globally and India was at the second spot after Vietnam in the top affected countries.

The data was generated by Microsoft’s real-time “Threat Monitor”.

The DCU – with 22 employees at its Redmond headquarters and 60 overall at 30 offices globally including in India — is working round-the-clock to intercept, analyse and mitigate threats, thus creating a road-map for various industry stakeholders globally to plan relevant actions.

In total, a team of 3,500 professionals at Microsoft is looking at security, built into the company’s products and services, using frameworks such as the security development lifecycle and operational security assurance.

Also Read: Google Launches New Cyber Security Unit For Play Store

Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Engagement Centre in New Delhi is already empowering organisations with information and techniques to secure critical information infrastructure and help reduce malware and digital risk.

Microsoft, that invests more than a billion dollars a year in security research, innovation and development, reached out to 126 organisations in India last year.

“Our big worry is attacks from nation-state actors as law enforcement is challenged by borders. The cross-border nature of cyber crime has created safe havens for bad actors. We need a stronger global security law to deal with such situations which are increasing by the day,” Bratt emphasised.  (IANS)