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DIGITALLY, DR. WATSON! (Rediff, 13 February 1999)

The Central Bureau of Investigation has constituted a new wing, the Cyber Crime Unit, for handling cyber crimes. The premier investigative agency is also in its final stages of computerisation. It will launch its Web site in about a fortnight. A new cadre in the CBI, that of computer professionals, has also been created. For this, the Union Public Service Commission will induct about 85 professionals. CBI Director R.K. Raghavan said, "To keep pace with high-tech crime, we have constituted a new unit and we would be inducting computer professionals so that we enter the next century with our heads held high.

I am very excited about the whole process." Dr. Raghavan said that the CBI is also organising a national seminar on computer-related crimes starting from February 24 to inform the market about the threats of cyber crimes. "Officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will also attend the seminar and we will sensitise the professionals from all sectors of the market about the threats of cyber crimes in the coming years and ways and means to tackle them," said Dr. Raghavan. At present, all CBI officers are being trained to use computers. The agency is also introducing a local area network (LAN) and a wide area network (WAN). "When the entire computerisation process is complete, the officers should be able to access information from their computers on a need-to-know basis," said N.R. Wasan, Deputy Director of CBI, Admin. "We have also developed our own packages that will become our tools for investigation. One of the packages that has been designed would help our investigators in simulating crime scenes," Wasan revealed.

Wasan, who is heading the entire computerisation process in the CBI, said about the new Cyber Crime Unit that it "Would be inducting officers from within the organisation. The officers who would be selected, would be given training in handling computers as well as laws to handle cyber crimes." Asked whether the intra-organisation computer networks could provide a route for computer hackers to break into the CBI, Wasan said "We have taken all precautions and our LAN has not been connected to any outside network. As far as fighting international crime is concerned, we have a dedicated a computer that is directly linked to the Interpol office in Tokyo. With the help of the computer, information about international criminals can be accessed within minutes." About the CBI's website, Wasan said, "It will inform the public about the CBI and its jurisdiction. We will also release information about criminals on the website and a feedback link will allow members of the public to inform CBI officers about crimes that have not been reported."