Author(s): Banipriya Mishra, Shreya Chatterjee, Supriya Mishra
Y2K revolutionized, restructured and reorganized the Indian way of living with the introduction of computers, internet and networking (computer networks). Today computer and smaller versions of desktop computers like laptops, tablets, Ipads and smart phones are a necessity instead of indulgence. Spending more than 60% of waking hours in the digital world, humans today are more accustomed to the cyber world than the real-world. Thus internet is the preferred medium of communication, information and transactions. Having explored the internet some crooked minds inclined towards crime tends to use the internet and its associated paraphernalia for commission of unlawful act owing to the anonymity, obscurity and inscrutability internet provides. The existing legal framework does not have enough teeth to deal with crimes conducted using digital devices and digital networks. The culprit can easily plan, execute and effectuate a crime without actual presence at the site of crime, thus making it complicated, confusing and confounding for investigators, law enforcement officials and traditional justice systems which are completely dependent on physical evidence to identify the real culprit or to ascertain guilt and decide the amount of punishment. Using a desktop, a laptop or even a smart phone, the criminal can harness the power of internet, Wi-Fi technology, Bluetooth, 4G data speeds and proxy-servers to execute an illegal offence even when he is miles, countries or continents away from the actual location of the crime, thus leaving absolutely no physical trail of the execution of the offence. Considering such possibilities stimulated by technical advancements, it becomes necessary to employ digital footprints as they are the only way to determine the factualness of execution of an unlawful act and to pinpoint the real culprit. Digital footprints have to be given their rightful place in the existing legal framework to facilitate verification of execution of an unlawful act, spotting the actual culprit and determining the amount of punishment. This paper is a detailed analysis of existing legality and legal framework to enable understanding, recognition and acceptance of the significance of digital footprints for both traditional and New-Age crimes and utilization of the same by the current Justice Systems to corroborate, attest and substantiate the execution of an unlawful act.