Today’s laws need to catch up to today’s criminals

Apurba Mogumder

The term "evidence" refers to testimony that supports or refutes any contested fact. Digital evidence plays the same sort of role gained from an electronic source. A computer file, email, or text message can inspire a wide variety of crimes. Criminals are more dependent on technology now than ever before because of how quickly science and technology are progressing on the planet. Yet, the provision relating to the examination of digital evidence is not included in the Evidence Act of 1872. Though the act was inaugurated in 1872, the amendments to digital evidence have become one of the most crucial and important demands. Information that has been stored or transmitted in binary format and is admissible in court is known as digital evidence. It can be stored, among many places, on the hard drive of a computer or a cell phone. Electronic crime, sometimes known as e-crime, such as child pornography or credit card fraud, is frequently linked to digital proof. However, not just e-crime is increasingly prosecuted using digital evidence; other forms of crimes are as well. For instance, crucial information about a suspect's intent, whereabouts at the time of a crime, and relationships with other suspects may be found in their email or mobile phone files. Thus, the law should be updated to reflect current needs as technological advancements continue and the nature of electronic information becomes progressively more complicated. The brutal murder of Abrar Fahad, who was beaten to death in his hostel, stunned the nation not long ago. Abrar's passing was just one in a string of murders that were seen on CCTV. With the circulation of its CCTV footage on social media, one question in the legal arena was whether this footage would be admissible in court. It is difficult to envisage a crime in the present era without a digital component. Attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, forensic investigators, and corporate security professionals are facing new difficulties due to the use of technology by criminals -- both violent and white-collar -- to facilitate their crimes and prevent capture. Organized criminal groups are using technology worldwide to keep track of crimes, communicate, and perpetuate them. Computer networks are currently used to carry out the biggest robberies of our times. In addition to recruiting, money laundering, credit card fraud, solicitation, and communication, terrorists are now using the internet to spread propaganda and “training materials.” In the world of science and technology, the use of digital evidence has become very important. The use of electronic evidence in court for any action is already permitted in most nations who are correctly handling digital evidence in court and have also created appropriate procedures for displaying or demonstrating any form of digital evidence. The admissibility of digital electronics is also covered in section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. But in Bangladesh, the courts have not yet seen the light of digital evidence for all civil and criminal matters. The law of evidence in Bangladesh is still the same as in 1872, making the 21st century more or less the "dark age" of Bangladesh's legal system. Digital evidence has not yet been mentioned in The Evidence Act 1872, even though several special laws have been passed to address it for particular offenses. Besides, it is likely to face structural difficulties if digital evidence is presented in a courtroom. Firstly, our courtrooms are not preferred or conducive to presenting digital evidence. Therefore, our courtrooms need to be well-equipped before embracing digital evidence. Second, this type of evidence is unfamiliar to the judges and court officials. With the dynamic changes, training them will be difficult. The common people who are not that familiar with technological advances may face many difficulties throughout as well. The reliability of the evidence presents another difficulty. Digital evidence is made in a way that makes it simple to update, amend, and alter. There remains a strong possibility that the parties will bring favourable digital evidence. So, it is a challenging issue as well. Finally, the century-old law of evidence needs to be updated by incorporating the provisions to meet the challenges in the era of science. Needless to say, the judicial system of Bangladesh needs to be modified as early as possible. The admissibility of digital evidence will indeed be a little complicated, but it is the only way to give our system the momentum it badly needs. In this age of science and technology, the justice system of Bangladesh should not lag behind. So, this is high time the government incorporated digital evidence for the sake of justice and to keep the system updated.

(Courtesy Dhaka Tribune)