Times of India has reported a story today from Surat (Refer: Decoder of Secret Information stolen..) in which it is reported that a precious decoder used by Police to decode encrypted messages has been stolen.
The report states “The device which is of the size of a briefcase can work anywhere in the world. Once turned on, it receives encrypted messages and translates it into readable form. The device was stolen during early hours on March 14 and police registered a theft complaint“
It is necessary to recognize that this is not a simple “Theft” as the report makes it out to be. It can be considered as an offence under Section 66B since the device may be considered as a “Computer” under the definition used in ITA 2000/8.
More importantly the device can be used for committing a “Terrorist Act”, the theft can be considered as an “Attempt to Commit Cyber Terrorism under Section 66F of ITA 2008”.
Section 66B has 3 year imprisonment and Section 66F has “Life imprisonment” as possible punishment. In the event an ordinary thief (not a Naxalite) is involved in the crime, he should think of returning the device and surrendering to avoid the life imprisonment.
Gujarat Government may consider releasing an advertisement inviting surrender and also announcing an incentive to any informers just as in the case of a terrorist event.