Cyber Crime is not defined in Information Technology Act 2000 nor in the I.T. Amendment Act 2008 nor in any other legislation in India. In fact, it cannot be too. Offence or crime has been dealt with elaborately listing various acts and the punishments for each, under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and quite a few other legislations too. Hence, to define cybercrime, we can say, it is just a combination of crime and computer. To put it in simple terms ‘any offence or crime in which a computer is used is a cyber crime’. Interestingly even a petty offence like stealing or pick-pocket can be brought within the broader purview of cyber crime if the basic data or aid to such an offence is a computer or an information stored in a computer used (or misused) by the fraudster. The I.T. Act defines a computer, computer network, data, information and all other necessary ingredients that form part of a cyber crime.

‘Computer’ means any electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer in a computer system or computer network.

Digital Signature
‘Electronic signature’ was defined in the ITAA -2008 whereas the earlier ITA -2000 covered in detail about digital signature, defining it and elaborating the procedure to obtain the digital signature certificate and giving it legal validity. Digital signature was defined in the ITA -2000 as “authentication of electronic record” as per procedure laid down in Section 3 and Section 3 discussed the use of asymmetric crypto system and the use of Public Key Infrastructure and hash function etc.

Section 43
Section 43 deals with penalties and compensation for damage to computer, computer system etc. This section is the first major and significant legislative step in India to combat the issue of data theft. The IT industry has for long been clamouring for a legislation in India to address the crime of data theft, just like physical theft or larceny of goods and commodities. This Section addresses the civil offence of theft of data. If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, accesses or downloads, copies or extracts any data or introduces any computer contaminant like virus or damages or disrupts any computer or denies access to a computer to an authorised user or tampers etc.

Section 65: Tampering with source documents is dealt with under this section. Concealing, destroying65 altering any computer source code when the same is required to be kept or maintained by law is an offence punishable with three years imprisonment or two lakh rupees or with both. Fabrication of an electronic record or committing forgery by way of interpolations in CD produced as evidence in a court (Bhim Sen Garg vs State of Rajasthan and others, 2006, Cri LJ, 3463, Raj 2411) attract punishment under this Section. Computer source code under this Section refers to the listing of programmes.

Section 66:
Computer related offences are dealt with under this Section. Data theft stated in Section 43 is referred to in this Section. Whereas it was a plain and simple civil offence with the remedy of compensation and damages only, in that Section, here it is the same act but with a criminal intention thus making it a criminal offence. The act of data theft or the offence stated in Section 43 if done dishonestly or fraudulently becomes a punishable offence under this Section and attracts imprisonment upto three years or a fine of five lakh rupees or both. Earlier hacking was defined in Sec 66 and it was an offence.

Section 67 deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. The earlier Section in ITA was later widened as per ITAA 2008 in which child pornography and retention of records by intermediaries were all included.

Observations on ITA and ITAA:
i) Awareness
ii) Jurisdiction
iii) Evidences
iv) Non coverage of many crime
Legislations in other nation
As against the lone legislation ITA and ITAA in India, in many other nations globally, there are many legislations governing e-commerce and cyber crimes going into all the facets of cyber crimes. Data Communication, storage, child pornography, electronic records and data privacy have all been addressed in separate Acts and Rules giving thrust in the particular area focused in the Act.
In the US, they have the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act popularly known as HIPAA which inter alia, regulates all health and insurance related records, their upkeep.
Conclusion: To sum up, though a crime-free society is Utopian and exists only in dream-land, it should be constant endeavour of rules to keep the crimes lowest. Especially in a society that is dependent more and more on technology, crime based on electronic offences are bound to increase and the law makers have to go the extra mile compared to the fraudsters, to keep them at bay. Technology is always a double-edged sword and can be used for both the purposes – good or bad. Steganography, Trojan Horse, Scavenging (and even DoS or DDoS) are all technologies and per se not crimes, but falling into the wrong hands with a criminal.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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