Legal remedy for email hacks
This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.
I am a journalist working with a daily newspaper based in Dhaka. For official purposes, I maintain communication with different stakeholders through email. Very recently, my email account was hacked and I could not access it for four-five days. Later, I regained access with the help of one of my IT specialist friends. In this situation, can I sue anyone for hacking my email account? What is the legal procedure?
Kabir Moula, Dhaka
Dear Mr. Moula
Thank you for your query. I can understand your situation regarding the hacking of your email account and in context to it, I can suggest some possible legal steps you can take against the hacker. Section 2(9) of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act 2006 defines, electronic mail as information that is generated electronically and transmitted using internet. Causing disruption to the accessibility to your email account would definitely make the hacker liable under this Act.
Firstly, we need to look into Section 34(2) of Digital Security Act 2018, where hacking is defined as follows-
(a) To destroy, change, format, cancel any information of the compute data storage or to reduce the value or suitability of it or damaging it in any other way, or
(b) Without ownership or possession illegally entering and damaging any computer, server, computer network, or any electric system.
Considering this, your offender or suspect can easily be held in front of Law for his action of having an illegal possession of your email account.
Furthermore, we need to see what the possible legal consequences the suspected offender can face under Section 34 (1) of Digital Security Act 2018. It states that hacking will be considered an offence and an offender will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 14 years or with fine not exceeding Tk.1 Crore or both. Previously, Section 56(1) of ICT Act would have been applied here, but due to the enforcement of the Digital Security Act, the previous provision of the ICT Act regarding the punishment of the hacker got abolished as stated in Section 61 of the Digital Security Act 2018.
So, it looks like under the Section 34 of the Digital Security Act, you will be able to sue the suspected hacker for his offence. For that, you have to lodge a written report or complaint to your local police station and they would take all the necessary steps regarding your situation.
Moreover, if you are living under the jurisdiction of Dhaka Metro Police (DMP), then you can easily contact their cyber security and crime division. They also have a Facebook page where you can leave a message and they will usually give you a prompt response.
I hope that the aforesaid information and advice answers your query.