Technology
Why we need a digital heir after death
As most of us spend a considerable amount of time on various digital platforms -- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, WhatsApp and the like -- a pertinent question now arises: What happens to our digital possessions once we die?
 
All those unforgettable personal photos, family videos and friendly posts acquired over a period of time will either be deleted or kept "frozen" unless we have a digital heir who can preserve those precious moments and gift those to future generations in an external hard disk or pen drive.
 
While several social media platforms, including search engine Google, allow us to safeguard digital memories in some form or the other, there is no such thing as transferring such assets to someone when it comes to cyber law, including in India.
 
According to legal experts, when someone dies leaving behind his email and social media accounts, these become movable property and any heir of the deceased can seek the right to access them.
 
"The said heirs can ask the digital/social media companies to get access after giving the necessary proof. Invariably, the service provider may not be inclined to give such access without any requisite order from the court of competent jurisdiction. This could mean getting a succession certificate from a court of competent jurisdiction which could be a time-consuming process," explained Pavan Duggal, one of the nation's top cyber law experts.
 
According to Duggal, also a Supreme Court advocate, Indian cyber law has not even touched upon -- let alone dwelt on the nuances of -- the issue of one's post-death digital life. 
 
"Complicating the entire matter is that the Indian cyber law is not applicable to wills or testaments. This has created huge confusion. The ground reality is that people have stopped waiting for the law to change. Instead, they have come up with their own digital wills which provide various methodologies for devolving their digital assets and information to their heirs after their death," Duggal told IANS.
 
Digital data comes within the ambit of movable property and hence the appropriate succession certificate needs to be applied for in the Indian context. 
 
"It is pertinent to note that India does not have a dedicated law on digital inheritance which is, indeed, unfortunate, given the rapid adoption of and reliance on digital data by young Indians," Duggal lamented.
 
The social media giants, however, have formulated their own solutions to the problem.
 
Facebook will "memorialise" your account and allow you to choose a "legacy contact". No one can log into a "memorialised" account.
 
The "legacy contact" can "manage" your account by adding a pinned post (like a funeral announcement), respond to new friend requests and change the profile picture and cover photo -- but nothing beyond that.
 
Google, which owns Gmail, YouTube and Picasa web albums, has an "Inactive Account Manager" feature which allows a user to nominate who has access to his or her information. If people don't log on after a while, their accounts can be deleted or shared with a designated person.
 
According to Twitter, "In the event of the death of a Twitter user, we can work with a person authorised to act on behalf of the estate or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased to have an account deactivated." The micro-blogging site, however, added: "We are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased."
 
From the security point of view, one has to safeguard digital impressions in case of death so that they are not used for anti-social purposes.
 
"Digital signatures/impressions generally have a validity/expiry date which require a yearly renewal and they are also equipped with a unique combination of passkey so even if someone has the digital signatures they must know the access key to use that," noted Lucknow-based social media analyst Anoop Mishra.
 
According to statistician Hachem Sadikki from the University of Massachusetts, Facebook will become the world's biggest virtual graveyard by the end of this century as there will be more profiles of dead people than of living users. "Facebook, which currently has 1.71 billion users worldwide, will turn into the world's biggest virtual graveyard by 2098," Sadikki claimed.
 
In such a scenario, preparing a digital will where you appoint a legal heir to take over your digital life is the need of the hour.
 
The law, however, is silent on this not just in India but abroad too. Several US states have been debating the question of whether families can access someone else's digital assets after they die.
 
"The law has to instrinsically recognise that digital data and information, as also aspects pertaining to digital life, are integral components of our life and the law must provide for seamless inheritance of digital data," stressed Duggal.
 
This becomes all the more significant as we have become huge data generators, data publishers and data broadcasters in our lifetimes.
 
"All eyes are on the governments, including in India; they must come up with requisite legal frameworks to provide for seamless and efficient digital inheritance for the people," Duggal asserted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Protect yourself from cybercrimes and know your rights and protection
"With changing times, the face or interface of crime has changed and criminals have become faceless in cyberspace. In the cyberspace, you get fooled because the fraudsters are smarter than you. So be cautious, alert and on the vigil that will protect in the cyberspace," says Sanjay Saxena, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) at Mumbai. He was speaking as Chief Guest at the seventh session under the "Police & You" series. 
 

Moneylife Foundation with Police Reforms Watch and support from Saraswat Bank have launched the 12-week program (every Wednesday) that aims to spread knowledge about protecting yourself, your rights, the Indian Penal Code (IPC), cybercrime and economic offences. This was the seventh such session.
 
Mr Saxena, the 1993-barch senior IPS officer, who was Special Inspector General with Force One, an elite counter-terrorism wing of Maharashtra Police formed after 26/11 terror attack, says, "If you have lost money to email or SMS or phone calls, the only thing to blame is your greed. Basic human nature and weaknesses does not change. Even my father lost money to insurance related scam. Your precautions only will save and protect you".
 
The event was held in the well-appointed auditorium of Saraswat Bank headquarters, Eknath Thakur Bhavan. 
 
 
The seventh session of the 12-week series on "The Police & You: Cyber Crime & You: Rights & Protection" was conducted by Adv Prashant Mali and Ramesh Mohite, former Police Officer and Director at Cyber-I Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd.
 
Adv Mali, who appear as expert legal counsel in cybercrime and electronic and digital evidence related cases, says, "Digital literacy, safety and security comes with dissipated awareness and knowledge of safeguards and laws governing the Internet usage. Laws in India, though enacted with full vigour, are not implemented with the same josh. Common IT user often do not know various sections of laws and there rights under the law. I find it difficult to digest that educated people cannot differentiate between civil or criminal remedies available to them under law."
 
The incidence of cybercrime is on the increase because of increased use of technology and its careless application. According to Adv Mali, every year there are estimated three crore incidents of bank phishing that cost about crores of rupees to customers. 
 
"Every month, I handle over 40 cases related with phishing and bank frauds. I would strongly urge everyone to change your passwords often and do not share it with anyone, including your spouse, friends or even children. Secure your computer or laptop by activating firewall, using good anti-virus and malware protection software. On social media like Facebook Twitter and YouTube, keep your security settings at the highest point. Do not forget to secure your mobile phones and use updated apps and softwares. Be careful while sharing your personal information like name, address, contact number and financial information over the internet. And if you are a victim, first report to the police and contact the right lawyer, who knows about cybercrimes," he said.
 
As per the information submitted in the Parliament, the number of cases related with cybersecurity are increasing rapidly. During 2013, there were 5693 number of cases reported, which increased to 9,622 and 11,592 cases in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
 
According to Adv Mali, even though penetration of ecommerce and usage of internet banking has increased, the safety related knowledge but knowledge related to remedies under law is yet to sink in with the common person using Internet for commercial activities.
 
Talking about online defamation or abuses, Adv Mali, says, "For people seeking recourse to the law to fight online defamation or abuse, section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 would be the best option to register a case under, as it is comprehensive in the wordings and can be widely interpreted and applied. The section was included wide amendment of 2008, and deals with the sending of offensive messages through communication services. It is also an anti-spam law of India." 
 
 
According to Mr Mohite, who during 2000 started first Cybercrime Investigation Cell while serving in the Maharashtra Police, everybody is at the risk of falling prey to a cyber attack as no network is secure enough to stand the test of hackers’ incessant efforts to break into every network, every computer that contains valuable, critical, secret information, be it a Government owned computer system or a corporate owned server farm.
 
"Fortunately, Indian Cyber Law, the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, provides sufficient protection to victims of such cybercrimes and addresses grave concern of cyber victims to a sufficiently large extent. Adjudication authority in the form of Adjudication Officer, bestowed with all the powers of Civil Courts, expeditiously disposes off various litigations filed before them and have given considerable relief to the affected parties. Police authorities have been sufficiently trained to handle the investigative aspect of cybercrime, thus gaining the trust of business community and citizens at large," he said.
 
 
Mr Mohite, who was involved in the investigation and arrest of first hacker of India, who had hacked into a law enforcement website under the pseudonyms Dr. Nuker and Da Libran, says, “Digital evidence is volatile in nature and can be easily altered. Hence, from the time the computer crime happens, computer forensic process starts. One of the cardinal principles of handling digital evidence is ‘never work on original evidence’.” 
 
He said, “The moment any cybercrime incident is reported, the first stage of computer forensic of acquiring digital evidence starts. Since you are not supposed to be working on original evidence, you are barred from directly inspecting the contents of the storage media. This deprives you from having a first glance at the digital trail left by the cybercriminal. Here the computer forensics comes to your rescue and allows you to take exact bit stream copy of the storage media without violating the sanctity of original evidence. Taking bit stream copy of storage media is also called as imaging the media. This helps in tracking and subsequently to the arrest of the cybercriminal.”
 
 
 

 

The Jamtara connection of fraud calls

Both Adv Mali and Mr Mohite mentioned about a booming business of cyber frauds originating from a far away district of Jamtara in Jharkhand. According to Adv Mali, people, mostly youngsters have formed groups for making calls and duping people across the country by pretending to be calling from a bank. These people assemble in the morning and then split in a group of two-three to start calling people while seating in the bamboo. They have two mobiles handset, one a basic phone and a smartphone.
 

The basic phone is used to make calls while the smartphone is kept on standby with an e-wallet opened. The caller identifies himself as a bank representative and tells the call received that the account is up for verification or expiry. Once the card details of the individual are entered into the e-wallet, the transaction mostly requires a onetime password (OTP) from the call receiver to authenticate. At this point, the caller tells his target that he had sent across a code for him, which he required to verify the account. Once the call receiver reads out the number, the transaction is complete. So by the time, the call ends, the call receiver may find substantial amount have vanished from his account.
 

Adv Mali said, the mobile tower outside one village, Kala Jharia sees over 3,000 outgoing calls, mostly to Mumbai, on a daily basis. The average calls originating from a mobile tower is about 700 to 800. "This surge is since past few years. During this period, not many people from Jamtara district moved to Mumbai, so this surge should have alerted mobile operators. But nobody is bothered. All these calls are used to defraud people across the country," he added.
 

During 2015, police teams from 10 states have arrested 28 individuals from Jamtara in 22 cases, all of them residents of Karmatar police station limits.
 

According to Adv Mali, there are two ATMs operated by State Bank of India (SBI) in Karmatar in Jamtara district. The Bank deposits around Rs5 to Rs10 lakh in one ATM, while the other gets filled with about Rs15 to Rs20 lakh every day. However, cash from the first ATM gets over in few hours while the cash in the second machine last hardly for a day.

 

 

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COMMENTS

Rajan Vaswani

3 months ago

Banks call us and we do not even know if the phone number from which they called is genuine or not. Till the bank has an identifier with which it is easy for a customer to know it is a genuine contact center, customers are better off avoiding such calls altogether. Good news about receiving money plays on greed, but bad news on loss of money will play on fear and fear will always lead to a "better conversation". Never fall for either and ask the caller to send you a letter to your officially communicated postal address, or an email which you can evaluate for phishing.

Kotak sees no pockets of value in the current market
The rally in bonds and equities of emerging markets post ‘Brexit’ referendum may slow down (if not reverse), according to Kotak Securities. This is due to a potential policy normalisation by the US Federal Reserve over the next few months and limited potential of accommodation from other central banks. Besides, Indian stocks have rallied so much recently that there is no attractive value left in the market, thinks Kotak Securities. “Fundamentals of the Indian market are good, but not as great as what stock prices make them out to be,” says a report released today. The firm expects modest future returns. It is difficult to find good opportunities in the Indian market given the current valuation scenario. 
 
It expects the earnings for Nifty-50 companies to rise by 15% in FY16-17. Among the different sectors, cement, media and metals will be out-performers. Earnings for metals and mining sector are expected to rise by a whopping 51%. However, the low base effect for the sector has to be taken into consideration – earnings for FY15-16 fell by 20.7%. Earnings for cement and media are expected to jump by 46.7% and 32.9% respectively in FY16-17. Telecom and energy are expected to be laggards in Nifty – 50 with their earnings expected to decline by 9.7% and 3.9% respectively. 
 
 
Sectoral Outlook: Kotak Securities does not have a very positive views on consumption, Information Technology (IT) and pharmaceutical sectors. Valuation in consumption sectors is very rich. In certain cases, they are ‘absurdly rich’ as per the report. It has worsened in certain external sectors like (IT) and pharmaceuticals. 
 
Bond Markets: The bond yields in developed markets have fallen to low levels given the policies fallowed by central banks. The yield in bonds has not declined much. However, it hardly means that risks have declined. There is a difference in nominal yields for government bonds for emerging markets and developed markets. However, according to Kotak Securities, this is due to inflation differential due to which the ‘nominal’ benefits would be nullified in theory. 
 
The world is flush with liquidity. A whopping US$ 26 billion has been invested in global equities and bonds in the past 3 months. Global asset prices have risen in the past 5-6 years due to sustained purchases of government bonds, corporate bonds and equities. In addition, low interest rate policies have added fuel. What would happen if the global liquidity were to reduce? This was a question that Kotak Securities sought to answer. They carried out a mental exercise to find out the valuation multiples of various sectors and high profile stocks in India? In order to do this, they assumed a cost of equity of around 12% and the long-term risk-free rate of around 7%. In several cases, this exercise fetched a 20-40% lower multiple. According to Kotak Securities, the current re-rating in Indian equities is due to analysts using ‘global cost of equity’ as opposed to cost of equity for Indian markets as bond yields have come down dramatically in developed markets. 
 
Markets are looking at the direction of US Federal Reserve policy to sustain the recent market rally. The US economy has gradually strengthened, especially in the area of employment. With this along with US Fed governors’ comments, the global markets have marginally recalibrated their expectations of an increase in US Federal Reserve rate. Kotak Securities has pegged the probability of US Fed rate increase by December 2016 at 44%. 
 
Changes in Model Portfolio 
 
Kotak Securities has dropped Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) from its model large-cap portfolio due to expensive valuations as compared to other Tier 1 names. Earnings and revenues in dollar terms for the sector have remained relatively stagnant. It added Indigo (InterGlobe Aviation) and transferred Petronet LNG to this portfolio. It also reduced Indian Oil Corporation’s weight in its portfolio. 
 
It has entirely dropped its recommended mid-cap portfolio on valuation concerns as there is not much upside left for stocks in its portfolio. Out of 11 recommended stocks, five stocks were trading either above or close to 12-month fair valuations. It has not created a portfolio with a small number of mid-caps as it believes that a basket approach works best for mid-caps. According to Kotak Securites, only some stocks in infrastructure and real estate sectors offer some meaningful upside from a 12 month time horizon.

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COMMENTS

SURESHWARAN PARAMESHWARAN

3 months ago

In my view, Metal & mining are not winning horses in long term

SASIKUMAR M

3 months ago

Why is NALCO trading low when compared to HINDALCO ? HINDALCO has give 100% returns in past 6 months, NALCO is just 40% ?

Madhusudan I. Mistry

3 months ago

I would have appreciated the complete tabular form of their model portfolio along with 'before' and 'after' the above mentioned modification.If possible, please do provide for guideline and analysis purpose. Thank you!

R Varadarajan

3 months ago

I fully agree. The current high prices are due to hype created by better monsoon, GST, etc. etc which will not hold any substance with regard to valuation. Some odd stocks will move up suddenly while some others would fall. The current prices appear to be totally manipulated for the benefit of whom, I wonder.

Mahesh S Bhatt

3 months ago

Good read Manipulated costs of easy capital in developed markets super easy money policy effects of developing markets needs to be measured & reverse accounted to developed economics Difficult Mahesh

SRINIVAS SHENOY

3 months ago

What do you think?... Write your comments The analysis by Kotak securities I feel is reliable. Infrastructure and real estate sector, cement stocks I feel at this juncture are attractive, considering that they did not participate much in the upside rally, though most other stocks had reached their 52 weeks high.

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