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Cops miffed over delay in response by social media

In Bengaluru, the cybercrime police, which has seen cases of crime using social media accounts triple in the past two years, is contemplating including Facebook as an ‘accused’ in cases where there is a delayed response from it.

Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 11.06 AM IST
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In this case, they delete the said content sometimes, but don’t give the details of the originator (of the criminal act). In the case of resolved, they give the IP,” said official.
Bengaluru | Mumbai: Police probing cybercrime in at least three south Indian states have raised concerns over what they allege is a slow response by leading internet and social networking companies such as Google, Facebook and GoDaddy to enquiries seeking evidence against individuals who misuse their platforms.

In Bengaluru, the cybercrime police, which has seen cases of crime using social media accounts triple in the past two years, is contemplating including Facebook as an ‘accused’ in cases where there is a delayed response from it. “We reach out to Facebook to either delete the fake account or to pull down derogatory profiles or posts. The website, however, does not respond to us immediately,” Ravi Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (crime), who is in-charge of the cybercrime police station told ET. “If Facebook continues to remain non-cooperative, we will book them too. The department will issue two notices. If we do not get any response, we will make them (an) accused in the case and file a chargesheet. Let them give their version…in court,” Kumar added.

The latest cases in the city included uploading pirated copies of Pailwaan, a popular Kannada movie, and fake Facebook profiles of actor and MP Sumalatha Ambareesh.

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In the nine months to September, Bengaluru police registered 212 cases that involve people using social media accounts. It was 70 in 2017 and 133 in 2018, according to police data. Facebook did not respond to ET’s queries, saying the matter is pending before the court.

“We had also reached out to Google on a couple of occasions when we received complaints from people about their Gmail accounts being hacked. We expect Google to act immediately as requested by complainants.

But that does not happen,” Kumar said.

Google did not respond to emails seeking comment. A senior police officer in the cybercrime unit of Tamil Nadu police said social media companies do not count the damage to reputations caused by fake profiles, rumours or uploading videos of individuals in intimate acts without their consent.

“They take up to 15 days to respond with either a ‘rejected’ or ‘resolved’ message. If rejected, we do not get the IP (address of the accused).

In this case, they delete the said content sometimes, but don’t give the details of the originator (of the criminal act). In the case of resolved, they give the IP,” said official.

The official maintained that Facebook was quick to remove content involving child pornography. However, content such as revenge porn or explicit content which could cause reputational damage, does not get immediate attention.

“The urgency is often not understood.

In case of defamatory comments, by the time the firm responds, there is little reputation left to salvage,” said the official. In Hyderabad, KCS Raghu Vir, additional DCP, cyber crimes, said that while his department was satisfied with responses by Facebook, getting information from Google and web hosting company GoDaddy, has posed challenges.
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