Cyber Law and Cyber Crimes

Author: Suraj K Thakkar United World School of Law, Gandhinagar Editor: Muskaan Vijay National Law University, Odisha

Introduction:

Cyber-crimes are easily recognized these days due to high use of technology and online platform for work. “cyber” is used to describe a person, idea, thing as a part of computer and technology. Virtual world of internet is known as “cyberspace” and the laws governing it are known as “cyber laws.” Cyber law is a law which rules computer and internet. Excessive use of e-commerce has boosted the need of effective and efficient techniques which would strengthen the legal (cyber) infrastructure.

Cyber law is important because it has an immense scope and it touches almost every aspect of the activity which is done on the internet and in cyberspace which can be traced and monitored for a good cause and to maintain cyber security and discipline.

Cyber law includes law relating to –

  1. Cyber crimes

  2. Data protection and privacy

  3. Electronic and digital signatures

  4. Intellectual property

Need for cyber law:

In today’s digital world where technology is being used in every sector and is being used. The world is becoming more digital, so are the crimes. Internet was made for research purpose and a tool to gather information. As the time passed, e-business, e-transactions, e-commerce, and many such things came into force for convenience, but somehow illegal activities started and now due to cyber law, these illegal activities and crimes required to be controlled and to be stopped. As their will be rise in internet users and due to rapid increase in e-commerce, need for cyber law is bound to be increased.

In todays digitalized world, every other person is a prey of cyber law.

Example:

  1. Almost all the transactions are carried out through internet and particularly in the current pandemic COVID-19, it has rapidly increased.

  2. Every business is majorly dependent on the internet and many business dealings are carried through internet and keep the confidential data in the computer, which is also in electronic form and can be linked easily by other users by hiking the password and thereby need to have the cyber law.

  3. Nowadays banking transactions are also done through online mode and customers are increasingly using credit cards for shopping and other transactions.

  4. Cyber law is also linked with various online applications or other downloads which people are commonly downloading in their mobile phones, tabs, laptops or any other device through Play store or Appstore as people end up accepting everything without reading the terms and conditions before downloading an application. This can lead to provide the app publisher our personal data which later on is not secured.

Cyber laws in India:

In India, cyber laws are included in the “information technology act, 2000” (IT Act) which came in force on 17thoctober,2000. Main purpose of this act is to provide legal aid to whoever who is a prey under cyber law of India. Following act, rules and regulations are covered under cyber law:

  1. Information technology act, 2000

  2. Information technology rules (certifying authorities), 2000

  3. Information technology regulations (certifying authority), 2001

  4. Information technology rules (security procedure), 2004

Need for cyber law in India:

Firstly, India has a well-defined and a vast legal system. Secondly, the existing laws such as ‘constitution of India’, ‘Indian penal code’, ‘contract act, 1872’, ‘Indian evidence act, 1872, etc. With the most liberal interpretation did not get to know about the upcoming cyberspace. Nobody could really visualize about the internet. Nevertheless, the onset of the internet seemed to be like a new upcoming legal issue which could have an immense scope in it in near future to look in it as a career making opportunity.

Thirdly, none of the existing laws could provide any proper solution or legal aid to this this problem of cyberspace. For example, the internet is used by almost every individual in India for multiple use, but majorly used as a source of communication through e-mails. In such case, need for ‘cyber law’, arises in India.

Information technology act, 2000:

‘Information Technology Act, 2000’ is the head of all legislation controlling the use of computer and its OS. This act was amended in 2008 passed under Lok Sabha on 22nd December 2008 and on 23rd December 2008 in Rajya Sabha.

Electronic contracts:

E-contracts is a part of cyberspace which comes under cyber law and is used for convenience and efficiency. These are similar to written contracts but in e-contracts, cyber law and contract act is applicable if any mishappen occurs.

There must be a possibility of performance, ‘chapter iv of the information technology

Act, 2000, i.e. Sections 11,12 and 13’. According to ‘sec 10a’ of the ‘IT Act, 2000’,

“communication or contract should not be denied or declared void merely because it is in electronic form. It acknowledges the legal validity of e-contracts.”

Cybercrimes/ cyber frauds:

Cybercrime is “any illegal behaviour directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of the computer systems and the data processed by them.”

Online transaction and online shopping have increased rapidly in today’s times and within next 10 years, it can be as common as gas and electricity. Here, fraud is an intentional act done by an individual or a group of individuals for the purpose of stealing.  Internet crime is an offensive or illegal act done using websites, online chat rooms, and many other online services.

Victims of cyber-crime many times receive an email with false information which seems to be a normal mail to an individual and gets trapped easily by sharing all personal data with them or the user is directed to open some link with ulterior purposes which can hack valuable data as well as secret password. Few things to notice in in cybercrime is that it is done by e-mails most of the time. The user is attracted to that mail and provides their critical information such as username, password, credit card details, etc. Cyber fraud has a potential of obstructing the growth of the economy of our country and can destroy one’s personal moral and culture.

Cyber-criminals invest their money in:

  1. Covering intermediary needs

  2. Status items to impress the victims

  3. Reinvest in other criminal activities

  4. Converting money into asset

  5. Spending in disorganized way on riotous things.

Case laws:

  1. State of Tamil Nadu vs Suhas Katti

  2. R Transport Agency vs Union of India (UOI) Bharat coking coal ltd (BCC)

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