Dr Subhajit Basu delivers Keynote Lecture on the rise of cybercrime during a pandemic

On 30 January, Dr Basu delivered a Keynote Lecture on "The rise of Cybercrime during a Pandemic: Who can we ‘Trust’?" as part of the international e-seminar on "Globalising World and Cybercrime".

The conference was co-organised by the Advanced Centre on Research, Development and Training in Cyber Law and Forensics, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur and Law Mantra Trust.

It was attended by various academics, professionals and experts within the field, including: Honourable Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque, Judge, High Court of Kerala; Ms Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General of India, Supreme Court of India; Professor (Dr) Venkata Rao, Former Vice-Chancellor NLSIU & Chairperson, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi; Professor (Dr) Naresh Kumar Vats, Registrar and Professor of Law, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab; Dr Himanshu Pandey, Associate Professor of Law, Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur; Dr A. Nagarathna, Associate Professor of Law, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru and Mr Kishor Kumar Mishra, President, Law Mantra Trust.

Dr Basu explained that “the COVID-19 pandemic has hit every corner of the world. During this time, most of us behaved in a pro-social way, but unfortunately, cybercriminals quickly exploited the pandemic to attack vulnerable people. Phishing, online scams and spread of fake news has become an ideal strategy for cybercriminals seeking to sell items or spread their claim would prevent or cure COVID-19.”

In the Keynote Lecture Dr Basu discussed communication offences and developing an environment of distrust. He said “social media's transformative power provides both opportunities and challenges. It tries to balance the right to freedom of expression, with the defence of human dignity and protection from violence and discrimination. In my view, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted that the social media companies lack institutional accountability and due process governing their power to influence and restrict hate speech and disinformation.”

Dr Basu concluded with the poignant question “are we sleepwalking towards an information dystopia where nothing can be trusted?”