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Case on Bandwidth Theft booked under IPC

In an interesting case reported from Gurgaon, it is alleged that one BPO namely PCLIT had illegally tapped into the lease line of Amtek BPO causing a huge bill to be raised on Amtek. The company rightfully filed a complaint and the Police have registered a case under Section 420 and Section 379 of IPC.

We may recall that it was the Gurgaon Police who were once an object of criticism by a Company Acme Telepower that they did not understand Cyber Crimes and hence the company would shift its operations to Australia. In this case the Police have used some common intelligence to check the illegal use of bandwidth by PCLIT and proceeded to file a case. However, it may be noted that they have recorded the primary offence under Section 379 for theft which applies for "Theft of Movables". It is not clear why they ignored the booking of case under ITA 2008 which was more appropriate.

At the same time, before jumping to conclusions, it is necessary for the investigations to be continued to find out if the illegal tapping was a result of a malicious attempt by PCLIT to wrongfully enrich itself or it was an accidental cross switching of Cables either by the Company or the external service providers.

In the event the mistake was that of the external cabling agency, then they would carry the vicarious liability for the issue.

While it is not difficult for the two neighboring BPOs to settle their dispute regarding the bandwidth bill, both will now realise that the incident also reflects a failure of the Information Security. It is now necessary for both companies to establish that the cross switching did not result in compromise of data of either companies with the other.

God forbid if either of the Companies work in the HIPAA space. Then this would be ca classical case of "Data Breach"  by a business associate under the HITECH Act and the consequences would be much larger than the bandwidth costs involved in the dispute.

This is an interesting case to watch.

NaaviMay 9, 2010

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Comments are Welcome at naavi@vsnl.com