Pakistani Cricket Official Sacked for E-Mail Leak
In an incident reminiscent of the earlier
incident in India when an email sent by the then coach Greg Chappell to the
BCCI president was leaked to the press, former Pakistani
Test player Saleem Altaf as Director, Special Projects was sacked on charges
of leaking of his e-mail to Pakistani team manager Talat Ali, where he had
criticized the Pakistani team for their performance against India in the
Bangladesh tri-series. Pakistani Board officials reportedly said the
decision to sack Altaf came after the chairman ordered his telephone to be
bugged and recorded some eight hours of discussions he had with various
From the Cyber law angle, this case refers to
the publishing of one's own e-mail sent to another. This can be considered
as in-discipline under the Board's rules but not an offence under law.
However the "Tapping" of telephone could be considered as an offence under
This case reflects a tendency of some people to
resort to illegal means to prove what may otherwise be a legitimate cause.
In the process they end up making a bigger mistake than the accused and face
an awkward situation.
A similar incident also happened in the Indian
context. When Mr Saurav Ganguly attended the enquiry following the Chappell
incident, he was reported to have carried 11 e-mails sent by Chappell at
various times to the BCCI about his behaviour etc. All these were
confidential e-mails. The natural question that comes to the mind was "How
did he get the e-mails"? Other questions that arise are "Did the recipient
gave copies?" "Was the recipient then a "Witness" for Ganguly?" etc. (Ofcourse
none of the enquiry officials were Cyber Law aware to raise these issues !)
In fact the first instance of leakage itself
pointed out to a possible Section 66 offence under ITA 2000 since according
to a report in India Today which appeared at that time, it was one of the
Indian players who was going through the contents of Chappells laptop in
search of some music files who stumbled upon the interesting e-mail sent to
the BCCI and made it public. If this was true, the player had committed
"hacking" in Indian law.
However these legal issues never got discussed
during that time. These are pointed out here only from the point of view of
the interesting legal issues they raise and not to re-open the controversy.
I had come across another incident in Bangalore
where a similar incident has occurred. In this case a CEO of a Company
engaged the services of an ethical hacker to extract some e-mails sent by
one of its consultants and based on one such e-mail filed a criminal
complaint on "Breach of Trust" etc. The law firm which drafted the complaint
failed to notice that in making the complaint they were unwittingly
admitting to a more serious crime of hacking and obviously the counter
complaint was filed. Perhaps the Cyber Crime Police Station which received
both complaints must be still resolving how to handle this case.
These incidents highlights the role of "Ethical
Hackers" in private investigations. By using their technical skills without
legal authority they are not only committing offences themselves but also
weakening the case of their principals.
It is high time that these technical wizards
understand that unless their investigations are "legally Compliant" they may
be doing more harm than good to the cause of their employer.
June 13, 2008