EDITORIAL: Cyber worries

The police have to work promptly upon receiving a tip-off or complaint on a cyber crime and make the identity of the person helping secret

The Central Investigation Bureau of the Nepal Police has made the right appeal to the users of social networking sites to be extra careful to accept friend requests from strangers.

The number of crimes committed through the social networking sites like Facebook has been ever on the rise, worrying the general public as well as the law-enforcement authorities. Almost daily, news come of one or the other person being blackmailed, cheated, raped, killed, abducted, or forced into criminal or immoral activities by unscrupulous elements taking undue advantage of their simple nature or readiness to believe.

A good number of them have also fallen into the trap because of their temptation to believe that they are about to get a huge monetary windfall or some other highly attractive prize, such as passage to a promised land and a decent, lucrative job, if they do what the schemers say they should do.

In the process, the swindlers by their glib chats often get into the hearts of credulous girls and women and make them do what they want unless the victims lose all or most of their pride possessions, such as life or modesty or a big amount of money.

The victims often hide their chats and promises of the schemers even from their family members, relatives and close friends unless it is too late, so that they might spoil the big opportunity they think they are about to grab.

Putting much information on the social sites available for public view runs the risk of identity theft through which, for example, the swindlers may even get into your bank accounts and make away with your money.

A person can also open many Facebook accounts in many different names and misuse them for criminal and immoral or unethical purposes. CIB officials say women and unemployed youths are particularly vulnerable to fraud through Facebook.

Many gullible people have fallen into the trap through emails as well. For example, an email arrives saying that you have won some lottery with the prize money running into millions of rupees or dollars and the gullible end up losing even what they have.

Cyber crime can take many other forms. Pornography, indecent comments, uploading of compromising pictures and videos of people, and those to spread fears or superstition among simple people are freely available in abundance on social sites.

So can malicious or risky links be spread. Cyber crime has become a global disease, and countless Nepalese have already become victims.

The task ahead for the law-enforcement authorities is to nab the criminals as far as possible, to try their best to eliminate or minimize such crime through public education and awareness programmes, including constant flow of messages and appeals against the temptation to fall prey, how to avoid such situations, and enlist an increasing public cooperation in the task of cracking down on cyber crime.

For this, the police have to work promptly on receiving a tip-off or complaints and make the identity of the person helping secret. In recent times, Nepal has also got a cyber law, under which any person involved in this crime is liable to a fine of Rs.100,000 or five years in jail, or both.

This is something to start with. Things should be made tighter for criminals.

Needless honking

Noise pollution in the Kathmandu Valley has exceeded the ceiling set by the World Health Organization as per its Guidelines for Community Noise.

Honking horns by vehicles needlessly has been banned by the traffic police since the beginning of the Nepali New Year. The police had not taken action against the erring vehicles on that day, but they initiated action from the next day when only 19 faced action for defying the ban.

However, it has been noticed that with the passage of time the number of incidents of the vehicles honking needlessly has been increasing. The drivers violating the rules have been fined Rs. 500 for their offense.

The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division says that on-duty cops had already booked 1,124 motorists who defied the ban. Thus, needless honking is still prevalent. It appears that old habits die hard. The honking ban applies to the vehicle owners both four and two-wheelers.

They are permitted to honk only when there is a higher chance of accidents in the event of not honking the horn. However, ambulances, fire engines and police vans providing services are permitted to honk horns during emergencies.