Cyber Laws in India and Information Technology Act – All You Need to Know

Legal   wpadmin   December 23, 2020

Executive Summary:

      • Cyber law is important because it touches almost all aspects of transactions and activities and on involving the internet, World Wide Web and cyberspace. Every action and reaction in cyberspace has some legal and cyber legal angles.
      • With the Computer and internet taking over every aspect of our life, there was a need for strong cyber law. The article aims to understand the cyber legislations in India and the offences relating to the use of or concerned with the abuse of computers or other electronic gadgets.
      • Cyber law in India is not a separate legal framework. It is a combination of contract, intellectual property, data protection, and privacy laws.
      • Cyber laws supervise the digital circulation of information, software, information security, e-commerce, and monetary transactions.

Introduction:

The dawn of cyber laws in India started with the boom in globalization and computerization in India. The number of cyber-crimes registered each year in India is shocking and it is only getting worse. This is because the pool of gullible prey for cyber conmen has shot up with India going digital. This calls for a basic understanding of the laws that govern the cyber space in India.

The Cyber Laws in India or the Information Technology Act, 2000 was amended in 2008 to include cyber-crimes related to banking and financial transactions.

Cyber Law Regulatory framework under the Information Technology Act in India:

India enacted the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) on 09 June 2000. The IT Act now becomes the law of land in India which in general terms is also known as Cyber Law. The IT Act is based on the UNCITRAL model law on e-commerce. The preamble of the IT Act simply indicates that the Act is centered on affording legal recognition to transactions carried out electronically. However, the scope of the IT Act goes much beyond its preamble. It covers multiple areas including data protection and security, cybercrimes, adjudication of cyber disputes, government mandated surveillance of digital communication, and intermediary liability.

The following Act, Rules, and regulations are included under cyber laws.

1. Information Technology Act,2000

2. Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules,2000

3. Information Technology (Security Procedure) Rules, 2004

4. Information Technology (Certifying Authority) Regulations, 2001

5. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

6. The Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891

Emerging technologies, explosion of digital business models and a substantial increase in the instances of cybercrimes have triggered the government to take steps to fast track the process of amending the IT Act.

In a cyber-crime, computer or the data itself is the target or the object of offence or a tool in committing some other offence, providing the necessary inputs for that offence. All such acts of crime will come under the broader definition of cyber-crime.

Cyber law encompasses laws relating to:

  • Cyber crimes
  • Electronic and digital signatures
  • Intellectual property
  • Data protection and privacy

Penalty for Damage to Computer, Computer Systems, etc. under the IT Act:

Under this law, there is a provision for imposition of penalty in case of any non-compliance. The following are some of the penalty provisions as prescribed under the law.

  • Tampering with Computer source documents:
    -Hazardous chemical processing units have to ensure that vessels, pipes, valves should be tested periodically to curb down such accidents.
  • Sending offensive messages through communication service:
    -Imprisonment, which may extend up to three years with fine.
  • Violation of Privacy:
    -Imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
  • Publication for fraudulent purposes:
    -Imprisonment up to two years or with fine which may extend up to one lakh rupees, or with both
  • Publishing of Absence information in electronic form:
    -Imprisonment up to ten years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Importance of Cyber Law in India:

In today’s techno-savvy environment, the internet is treated as a research and information sharing tool. Since the number of internet users is on the rise, it gives birth to Cyber Crimes. All issues relating to cybercrime or internet crime are dealt with through Cyber Law. So, to get the remedy against Cyber Crime, the need for Cyber-law arises.

Cyber-law is important in a country like India where the internet is used to a large extent. The law is enacted to save people and organizations from cybercrime and other internet-related crimes. It protects the privacy of every individual and organization. Before the enactment of Cyber-law, no specific law existed in India to deal with cybercrime. As per rules and regulations of the Cyber-law, a person who commits cybercrime is liable to get punishment. If anyone violates and breaks the provisions of the law, then it allows another person or organization to take legal action against that person.

The requirement of Cyber Law can arise as under:

      • Nowadays as all the transactions related to shares are done in Demat form, anyone who is associated with these transactions requires internet and protection under Cyber Law in case of any fraudulent transaction.
      • Most of the companies in India keep their official data in electronic form. To avoid the misuse of such data, a company can need the assistance of this law.
      • Due to the rapid growth of technology, various Government forms like ITR return, Service tax returns are filled in electronic form. Anyone can by hacking the government portal sites easily misuse those forms. Only under cyber law, you are eligible to get remedy against this type of fraud.
      • People are using credit cards and debit cards for shopping purposes. However, some frauds through the internet clone those credit cards and debit cards. Card cloning is a technique where someone with the help of the internet easily obtains your card details. With the help of Cyber law, you can easily trace such criminals.
      • Digital Signatures and e-contracts are the most common methods of transacting business. Anyone who is associated with such digital Signatures and e-contracts can easily make fraud by misusing them. Cyber law protects you against such type of fraud.
  • Prevention of Cyber Crime:

    Anyone using the internet should exercise some basic precautions. Following are some basic precautions:

  • a) Use a full-service internet security suite: For instance, Norton Security provides real-time protection against existing and emerging malware including ransomware and viruses, and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online.
  • b) Use strong passwords.
  • c) Keep your software updated.
  • d) Manage your social media settings.
  • Conclusion:

    With the adoption of the IT Act, India is now one of the few countries in the world that have a separate law to deal with IT issues and crimes. This has now paved the way for incredible growth in the fields of e-commerce and internet transactions which has, in turn, resulted in advanced economic growth.

    Regardless, the implementation of the Act along with its counterpart, the IT Rules, has been successful in tackling cyber-crimes so far. With the ever-growing world of new technology and expanding cyberspace, we aren’t yet aware of what kind of cyber-crimes may arise. Cyber law is the appropriate law to provide a remedy against Cybercrime. At present, people who commit cyber-crime offenses think twice about the cyber law, before committing any such offenses. The law helps in decreasing the rate of cybercrime offenses.

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