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Revised norms for data-led probes

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Revised norms for data-led probes

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the guidelines and about GR Network.

For Mains: Need for data preservation and privacy.

Context: The Union Home Ministry has issued revised guidelines to streamline the process of seeking legal assistance from foreign countries in criminal matters.

It has also issued directives on drafting and processing letters rogatory, mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.

As per the new guidelines:

  1. Before seeking information about a person’s e-mail account hosted on servers in foreign countries, investigating agencies will have to establish that it is linked to a crime.
  2. All data, including personal, must be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully. The requested country has to be informed about the time period for which the data is required. Such period shall be consented by the requested country.
  3. The transferred data shall be kept for no longer than the period required for the purpose for which it has been received and shall be returned to the requested country or deleted at the end of the period specified.
  4. ‘Data preservation’ shall be the key to the investigation of cyber-offences and those involving digital evidence.
  5. The G-8 countries’ 24/7 Network could be used to place request for preserving data in real time.

 Need for data preservation:

Accessing the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) creates important records and other information such as customer records, connection information and stored data. This is very important evidence to prove the guilt intention of the accused. Since this type of evidence can disappear quickly, it is of paramount importance to get the data preserved expeditiously through appropriate channels.


The Centre introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha last month that seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals and establishes a Data Protection Authority for it.

But, most intermediaries and social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter and YouTube have their servers outside India.

About G-8 24/7 Network:

It allows law enforcement agencies to make urgent preservation requests of the digital data before it perishes.

  • It is a new mechanism to expedite contacts between the Participating States or other autonomous law enforcement jurisdictions of a State.
  • It is a point to point network for urgent assistance in cybercrime matters.

Sources: The Hindu.