India Considers Digital Payments Law to Fight Fraud

The Indian government has adopted a policy of reducing the reliance on cash in their country, but this obviously increases the risk of various types of cyber crime. The India Times reports the government is hence considering the introduction of new laws in response:

The government discussed regulations on e-wallet and digital transaction companies at a high level meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, wherein the possibility of a Digital Payments Act was discussed.

The discussions also reportedly covered the steps that must be taken to prepare the police to deal with the rising challenge of cybercrime.

“While the government is enthused by the growth in digital payments and transactions, it acknowledges the higher risk of financial fraud it comes with,” a home ministry official told Times of India. “The challenges include password theft through fraudulent phone calls, e-wallet frauds, email spoofing and phishing attacks, etc. We seek to prepare our law enforcement agencies to deal with the same.”

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this quote is that it sounds like the official knows what they are talking about. The transformation taking place in India also signals another area where developing countries might leapfrog the West. Whilst Western governments know how to spy on their people, their police forces lack the skills necessary to counter digital crime. As a consequence, they typically seek to shift an increasing burden – and blame – on technology companies, whilst expecting them to police each other. It is no wonder that cross-border digital crimes like IRSF fraud continue to be a multi-billion dollar business when national police forces lack even a few officers who have expertise in this field. So it was especially interesting to read about one other option being considered by the Indian government:

Other possibilities discussed also included creating a central and state network of officers to prevent and investigate cyber fraud, with suggestions for 27,500 police and forensic officers and 13,000 judicial officers.

India is a big country, but an investment of this scale would be staggering. At the same time, it shows the Indian government is serious about reimagining the role of the state in the 21st century. Western governments might ask themselves how they expect cybercrime to be dented by their meagre efforts, even whilst data breaches and hacks have reached unprecedented levels.

The complete India Times story can be found here.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is a recognized expert on communications risk and assurance. He was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and others.   Eric was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He was a founding member of Qatar's National Committee for Internet Safety and the first leader of the TM Forum's Enterprise Risk Management team. Eric currently sits on the committee of the Risk & Assurance Group, and is an editorial advisor to Black Swan. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.   Commsrisk is edited by Eric. Look here for more about Eric's history as editor.