This Article is written by Bushra Malik, pursuing B.A.-LLB(Hons.) from Galgotias University.
As we all know the complexities of the Internet these days where people take more interest to have a communication with anonymous privately by which they have fallen into the darker world of the Internet. By pointing out the dark side of the Internet, this article is to demystify the concept of “Darknet” which is also known as ‘Darkweb’.
Three layers of Internet
- Public– It consists of frequently used sites that are Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and LinkedIn. It covers only 4% of the Internet layer.
- Deep Web – Here data can not be accessed through the traditional way of search engines like Google. It has access only to a specific group of people. In this, the government and bank share sensitive and private data to keep it out of reach in the wrong hands.
- Darknet– This network is built over the internet that is fully encrypted.
‘Darknet’ is a subset of Deep Web that is not only recorded but it requires special access to take a visit over it. Also to gain access first you need to have some specific proxying software that gives authentication. The most using additional sub-networks are –
- Tor – Basically ‘Tor’ is used to shorten the word of ‘The Onion Router’, an open-source private network where a person be permitted to access the web anonymously.
- I2P (The Invisible Internet Project) – It is implemented as a mixed layer that allows censorship-resistant and used peer to peer communication.
- Freenet- It is used to keep and deliver information through peer to peer platform for censorship-resistant.
These aforementioned networks are often interlinked with criminal activity of several kinds including buying and selling drugs, pornography, gambling, etc.
POSITION IN INDIA
The main purpose to create this Darkweb was only for sharing private data of government and banks so only they have access over it. When it used for illegal activities the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken the step to stop and shutdown sites and still working on it.It is not easy to track users and activities on Tor but a person can be punished under the Information Technology Act, 2000 for trading illicit drugs and goods & services on Darknet in which they are liable for both civil and criminal consequences. The first case of selling psychotropic drugs through Darknet captured this year and all the accused are arrested and it has been reported that they did transaction through cryptocurrencies like bitcoins which is not detected easily.
BITCOIN REGULATION ON DARKNET
A constant definition of Bitcoin falls under the category of financial instruments and its regulation exists in certain statutes and legislations. It was not only used in the dark web but its usage has led to fraud after implementing a scheme of demonetization in India. The Reserve Bank of India by observing the bitcoin exchanges issued a public notice in 2017 that the cryptocurrency or any businesses related to it were not authorized and not subjected to consumer protection laws. Even the Central Bank does not permit Bitcoin as a legal tender.
- The Central Government has the power to lay down rules for enforcing the provisions of the Information Technology Act referred to in Section 87 of the Act. The Government can frame rules to govern and monitor the dark web in such a way that it can only be used for the reason it was built for. The object was to keep the contact of the Government in a hidden place like the dark web.
- Section 42 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Enforces an obligation on the electronic signature subscriber to maintain the complete confidentiality of his or her private key and, where the same is compromised, the subscriber is obliged to inform the certifying authority. The keys help to mask the true identity of the bitcoins owner as it shows only the email address that the owner wishes to give to everyone.
- Section 22 of the RBI Act provides a monopoly when issuing bank notes from the Reserve Bank of India.This Section includes the word ‘bitcoin’ as electronic money can be used like real cash. After the 2017 notice of RBI cautioning the users of virtual currencies to be at risk, it is mandatory that there should be some policy to avoid secrecy and future risk.
It is known that Cyber Space has no boundaries thus difficult to conventional policing when it is geographically bound. Therefore, incapable to handle increasing crime rates n the Cyber Space. While Section 75 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides punishment for the commission of any crime or contravention by a person outside India irrespective of his or her nationality (if the act or conduct constituting the offence or contravention involves a computer, computer system or computer network located in India), its implementation can not be ensured because the suit is not available.Also tracking the location of the servers and data is a challenge to the authorities. It is not just finding and identifying the perpetrator but face difficulty in the process of producing evidence for Law Enforcement Agencies. While in some cases a formal process is being followed as a letter of request or letter rogatory (LR) in writing sent by the Court to other countries requesting the suspect or witness for testimony. In a similar manner, a formal agreement was signed by a group of countries to get the information or accused of related countries. The agreement is known as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (hereinafter MLAT).
ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE FOR DARKWEB ACTIVITY
The development of Electronic evidence originated with the FBI in 1984 while using computer evidence. In 1991, the new term “Forensic Computer” emerged. Later in 2000, the Information Technology Act was notified along with the Evidence Act, 1872 which has now been amended and came up with new sections to address the issue of Electronic Evidence.
Documentary evidence in Section 2(t) of IT Act 2000 electronic record means, “data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received or sent in an electronic form or micro film or computer generated micro fiche.”
Provisions for the Proof of Electronic Evidence –
- Section 65A. Special provisions as to evidence relating to the electronic record.
- Section 65B. Admissibility of electronic records.
- Section 67A. Proof as to digital signature.
- Section 73A. Proof as to verification of the digital signature.
- Section 81A. Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic forms.
- Section 85A. Presumption as to electronic agreements.
- Section 85B. Presumption as to electronic records and digital signatures.
- Section 85C. Presumption as to Digital Signature Certificates.
- Section 85C. Presumption as to Digital Signature Certificates.
- Section 88A. Presumption as to electronic messages.
- Section 90A. Presumption as to electronic records five years old.
- Section 131. Production of documents or electronic records which another person, having possession, could refuse to produce.
With the current geopolitical situation prevailing in India, we will strengthen our IT laws to search on the World Wide Web for rising crime. India should participate in as many international conventions and MLAT treaties as possible, and increase the number of MoUs with foreign agencies to counter adversaries’ cybercrime threats. We need to work on bringing laws that are enforceable and deterrent in nature. Cybercrimes should came into effect where applicable as actions against national security. Policies need to be reformulated and appropriate regulatory mechanisms need to be placed as part of the overall counter-cyber-crime strategy. Practical policies on protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure need to be issued. Nevertheless, the Data Protection Act is the need of the hour.
- Varsha, R., Dange, Malkan, K. and Jha, M. (n.d.). Monograph on DARK WEB. [online] Available at: https://www.dpespune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Dark-Web.pdf [Accessed 8 Jan. 2020].
- K.K. Abdul Rahoof, ‘Hyderabad criminals in Deep Web’ Deccan Chronicle (India, 10 January 2016) accessed 10 Jan 2020.
- KarnPratap Singh (2020). Three more held for selling drugs over dark net. [online] Hindustan Times. Available at: https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/three-more-held-for-selling-drugs-over-dark-net/story-TftMkLblIjUH07o4HgHYFJ.html [Accessed 22 May 2020].
- Piazza, F. (n.d.). BITCOIN IN THE DARK WEB: A SHADOW OVER BANKING SECRECY AND A CALL FOR GLOBAL RESPONSE. [online] Available at: https://gould.usc.edu/why/students/orgs/ilj/assets/docs/26-3-Piazza.pdf.
- DEEP INTO THE DARK WEB: THE PRIMROSE PATH OF BITCOINS. (2018). TNNLU) -Law Review (LR) TNNLU -LR, [online] 1. Available at: https://tnnlu.ac.in/pdf/2019/Jonural%20Committee/8.%20Article%206%20-%20Sathia.pdf.
- Confronting the new-age cyber-criminal Disrupting the web of crime. (n.d.). [online] Available at: http://ficci.in/spdocument/22982/FICCI%20-%20EY%20Report%20%20Confronting%20the%20New%20Age%20Cyber%20Criminal.pdf.
- Dr.S.Murugan, Electronic Evidence: Collection, Preservation and Appreciation, IPS Joint Director/Inspector General of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Chennai; available at:http://www.nja.nic.in/Concluded_Programmes/2017-18/P 1077_PPTs/4.Electronic%20Evidence %20Collection,%20Preservation%20and%20Appreciation.pdf
- Image Credits: https://www.rollingstone.com/