Life today is just not about living as a part of this territorial world. Today we are also the part of virtual world. Digital technology and new communication systems have made dramatic changes in our lives. Living in a country with a billion people is difficult. It’s even more difficult when everyone is a part of the same virtual world. In a virtual world there is anonymity. It’s hard to determine who is wrong and who is right. We have laws which regulate the actions of the people. Laws provide harmony in the society. It allows people to live at peace and let the justice flow equally for everyone. Similarly we need cyber laws which is entirely different from ordinary laws to regulate and control the acts in the virtual world.
Crimes that happen in the real world can also take place in the virtual world. Ever thought what kind of world it would be without law. People with not feel themselves responsible for their deeds and due to this others will suffer certainly. As the number of internet users is on the rise so are the crimes, the need for cyber laws and their application has also gathered great momentum.
Here are some cyber laws applicable in India.
In India, cyber laws are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into force on October 17, 2000. The main purpose of the Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government. When the world is becoming digitally organised India must have cyber laws to combat cybercrimes in India. The following Act, Rules and Regulations are covered under cyber laws:
Information Technology Act, 2000
This Act was amended by Information Technology Amendment Bill, 2008 which was passed in Lok Sabha on 22nd December, 2008. The Preamble to the Act states that it aims at providing legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “electronic commerce”, which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information and aims at facilitating electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies.
Some features of this act are:
- Section 10A effect that contracts concluded electronically shall not be deemed to be unenforceable solely on the ground that electronic form or means was used.
- In section 43 where the damages of Rs. One Crore prescribed of the earlier Act of 2000 for damage to computer, computer system etc. has been deleted and the relevant parts of the section have been substituted by the words, ‘he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected’.
- Section 43A protect sensitive personal data or information possessed, dealt or handled by a body corporate in a computer resource which such body corporate owns, controls or operates. If such body corporate is negligent in implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices and procedures and thereby causes wrongful loss or wrongful gain to any person, it shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.
- Section 66 prescribe punishment for offences such as obscene electronic message transmissions, identity theft, cheating by impersonation using computer resource, violation of privacy and cyber terrorism. However section 66A was held unconstitutional in 2015.
- Sections 67A and B deals with penal provisions in respect of offences of publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act and child pornography in electronic form.
- Section 67C deals with the obligation of an intermediary to preserve and retain such information as may be specified for such duration and in such manner and format as the central government may prescribe.
Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules, 2000
The Indian Penal Code of 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 was amended by the IT Act of 2000 to keep in view urgent need of suitable amendments to keep up with the advanced technological changes. Some of these changes are:-
- Section 4 was amended to target any person in any place without and beyond India committing offence targeting a computer resource located in India also the word “offence” to includes every act committed outside India which, if committed in India would be punishable under this code.
- In section 118, for the words “voluntarily conceals, by any act or illegal omission, the existence of a design”, the words “voluntarily conceals by any act or omission or by the use of encryption or any other information hiding tool, the existence of a design” shall be substituted after amendment.
- In section 464, for the words “digital signature” wherever they occur, the words “electronic signature” shall be substituted.
- The Sections dealing with false entry in a record or false document etc (eg 192, 204, 463, 464, 464, 468 to 470, 471, 474, 476 etc) have since been amended as electronic record and electronic document thereby bringing within the ambit of IPC, all crimes to an electronic record and electronic documents just like physical acts of forgery or falsification of physical records. In practice, however, the investigating agencies file the cases quoting the relevant sections from IPC in addition to those corresponding in ITA like offences under IPC 463,464, 468 and 469 read with the ITA/ITAA Sections 43 and 66, to ensure the evidence or punishment stated at least in either of the legislation can be brought about easily.
3. Information Technology (Security Procedure) Rules, 2004
The Union Cabinet has recently in September 2012, approved the National Policy on Information Technology 2012. The Policy aims to leverage Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to address the country’s economic and developmental challenges. The main thrust was to gain significant global market-share in emerging technologies and Services also innovation and R&D in cutting edge technologies and development of applications and solutions in areas like localization, location based services, mobile value added services, Cloud Computing, Social Media and Utility models. From making house e-literate to provide affordable access to all public services in electronic mode the union cabinet worked to enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliability and decentralization in Government and in particular, in delivery of public services.
Information Technology (Certifying Authority) Regulations, 2001
The Information Technology Act was enacted with a view to give a fillip to the growth of electronic based transactions, to provide legal recognition for ecommerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, to prevent computer based crimes and ensure security practices and procedures in the context of widest possible use of information technology worldwide. The Act will apply to the whole of India unless otherwise mentioned. It applies also to any offence or contravention there under committed outside India by any person.
Today is not the same world as yesterday. Today technology just overpowered itself. It is obvious if technology is growing crimes are growing with them. It is a difficult task to identify, detect, punish and adjudicate some crime which did not happen in the real world but has the capability to harm anyone with the same effect. India has grown from nothing towards a developing nation. It has identified cyber crimes and is identifying and differentiating one crime to another. All the legislation proposed are for the betterment of the country. These laws will work well when people have knowledge about these laws. Due to this they will not only forbid themselves from doing things which is unlawful but also file complain to seek justice against any act done to them which is unlawful. Thus legal education and technology savvy is important to deal with cyber laws in India.