In a first decision from the Adjudicator of West Bengal, an order has been passed against an estranged husband who spied on his wife’s phone using “Team Viewer” software.

See Report 

According to the report, the husband had installed a “Team Viewer” software on his wife’s phone and extracted certain Chats which were produced in a divorce suit to prove her disloyalty.

The Adjudicator, (IT Secretary Mr Talleen Kumar) has considered this as a violation of the wife’s privacy and ordered payment of Rs 50000/- as penalty.

Firstly, we congratulate Mr Tallen Kumar for his first decision as Adjudicator of West Bengal. I am aware that there are other cases pending before him they would also perhaps see the light of the day.

At this point of time it is difficult to say that the husband will be too unhappy with the verdict since his case in the matrimonial court may continue. Being a matrimonial Court,  the question of whether the evidence produced for proving the disloyalty of the wife remains valid may be separately debated.

If appealed, this could be the first fresh case to be referred to TDSAT in its role as the new Cyber Appellate Tribunal under ITA 2000/8 and would test TDSAT on how it handles a Cyber Case. However, this does not appear to be a fit case for appeal and hence it may not have the privilege of being referred to TDSAT.

The other point that is to be noted is that “Team Viewer” software normally requires a confirmation from the destination computer for access. However, there is a feature called “Unattended Access” which if activated would provide access to the destination computer without popping up a consent screen each time.

One of the news papers has referred to the Team Viewer software as a “Virus”, and this should set the software manufacturers (Team Viewer GmbH) thinking of how to prevent their genuine and useful software be tarred with the image of a “Virus”.

This leads to the question of how to make a software “Cyber Law Compliant” and should be a lesson to all the software manufacturers.

Naavi

Copy of the Judgement

[According to the West Bengal Government website, as of 4/4/2017, Mr Tallen Kumar was indicated as Principal Secretary, Paschimanchal Unnayan affairs Deptt,  and Dr. Krishna Gupta, was the Principal Secretary of the department of IT & Electronics.  Probably Mr Kumar might have been transferred after delivering this award. The judgement seems to have surfaced in the last two days, almost 2 weeks after Mr Tallen Kumar ceased to be the Adjudicator. No date appears on the copy of the judgement except the date 26/11/2014 which obviously is the date of complaint. ]

P.S: According to one reaction to this article, Team Viewer was not used. My note above is based on Telegraph report and I am awaiting further information on this.. But the award confirms the use of Team Viewer and also a cloud storage facility syncdroid.org. Probably it was not the Unattended access of Team viewer that was used but the back up on syncdroid to get the information that is held as unauthorized access. … Naavi