Udayavni Special

Investigative agencies allowed to hack into electronic devices, a/cs during probe says K’taka HC


Team Udayavani, Mar 14, 2021, 9:23 AM IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has stated that any investigative agency probing a case can hack into smartphones, emails and other electronic devices, accounts and biometrics if the person being probed refuses to cooperate and provide the credentials.

The statement was made by Justice Suraj Govindaraj while hearing the case of Sandalwood drug case accused Virendra Khanna.

Justice Govindaraj said, “If the accused does not cooperate by not providing login credentials despite a notice being served on him subsequent to the search warrant, the court can direct the service provider/manufacturer of the device or email service provider, to open it based on an application from the prosecuting agency. In case the prosecution is not facilitated in this regard, then the court, based on an application filed in this regard, can permit the investigating officer to hack into the smartphone, computer or e-mail account.”

“The Investigating Officer has free access to all data, not only on the device(s) but also on any cloud service that may be connected to it. The use of such data during the investigation will not amount to a violation of the right to privacy and will come within the exceptions carved out in the Supreme Court judgment in the Justice Puttaswamy case,” the Justice further said.

He added that the agency conducting the probe also has the liberty to change the log in ids and passwords of the accounts to block the accused from accessing them.

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