Technology Laws in India

Introduction

With the advancement in technology and modern way of communication, cyber crime has taken its own place. There have been various laws against cyber crimes covered by the acts such as Indian Penal code 1860 and the Information Technology Act 2000. Technology law is a branch of law which deals with legal issues related to the Internet and devices such as computers, laptops, smartphones etc. It is an important branch of law as it covers all the aspects of financial transactions and activities taking place on the Internet. Any Activity, whether its internet or any physical place, has legal liabilities attached to it and this law has come into force keeping these liabilities in mind. 

What is Cyber Crime?

Cyber crime is a form of crime committed on the Internet, it is not defined in relevant acts such as Information Technology Act 2000, Indian Evidence Act 1872, Indian Penal Code 1860 or in the Cyber Security Policy 2013. So cybercrime is a combination of crime and computer which can be further understood as any offense or crime in which a computer acts as a tool to get things done.

Types of Cyber Crimes in India

There are different types of Cyber Crimes which take place on the Internet today, some of them are listed below-

  1. Identity Theft

This is most common of the cyber crimes committed today, as people knowingly or unknowingly insert their personal information in the internet and cyber criminals get access to it and use that information to steal money, impersonate a person, organize criminal activities, claim government benefits etc.

  1. Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the stalking of people on the internet using multimedia devices like smartphones, desktop, laptops etc. This type of crime generally takes place on social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, instagram etc. and is  done through emails, text messages and various other forms. These actions are done on purpose with persistence which ultimately lead to dangerous consequences . It is punishable u/s 67 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 and Section 354-D of IPC, 1860.

  1. Cyber Defamation

Cyber Defamation is when a person degrades a respected citizen of India on the internet by putting social media posts against him without any proof and by showing the wrong picture of the person to the masses. It is punishable under Indian Penal Code 1860 at sections 499 and 500 and the Information Technology Act 2000.

  1. Online Job Frauds

Post covid crises need of a job for almost every other adult in the country has risen considerably, in the internet age, people are communicating on the internet and with that frauds of false promises has take place and ultimately they end up with no job and fall prey to the online job fraud where they are promised a job but are never given in exchange of money.

  1. Bank Frauds

This type of cyber crime is the highest committed crime these days with people opting for comfort friendly banking. The criminals impersonate themselves as the bank person and take the personal information from the victim on phone calls or via text message, such as One Time Password (OTP), Debit card no, CVV no. etc. and in exchange they take their money resulting in banking fraud. Sometimes the devices are also installed by the fraudsters in the ATM machine and card inserted in the machine is replicated causing major financial losses to the card users.

  1. Illegal Content

In this kind of cyber crime, the content is not limited to the sexual content only, it covers other contents such as videos showing violence, criminal videos, content showing any terrorist activities. All these contents are strictly prohibited on the internet as this content leads to major crimes in the country with serious consequences.

Technology Laws against Cyber Crime in India

Technology laws against cyber crime have been developing and so are ways of expanding them, the cyber crimes are referred to as the illegal activities in which a computer is used as a tool and the target. General criminal acts such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation, and mischief, all of these are covered under the Indian Penal Code, these activities when done on the internet are perceived as cyber crimes and come under the ambit of the same code.

Now crime which takes place fully in the cyberspace are covered by the act which is specifically enacted for the purpose of limiting cyber crimes in India known as Information Technology Act 2000, it is the strongest pillar of the technology laws in the country covering a variety of modern age offenses which are the result of the malefic use of technology.

Important provisions of the Information Technology Act 2000

The Information technology act has amended the various existing enactments which deal with criminal offenses such as Indian Penal Code 1860, Indian Evidence Act 1872 and more. 

Here is a list of important provisions of the IT Act 2000:

Section 43 Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system, etc.

This section of the act punishes a person who is found guilty of a cyber crime such as causing harm to the computer of the victim without informing or taking permission from him. The victim falling prey to this cyber crime is fully entitled to a refund for the damage to the system.

Section 65 Tampering with computer source documents

This section punishes a person who knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or misplaces any computer source code or software. It is punishable with imprisonment up to three years or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees.

Section 66 Computer related offenses

It punishes the accused who depicts a conduct described in section 43 of the act with dishonest and fraudulent intention. It is punishable with an imprisonment which may extend up to three years or fine up to rupees fifty thousand.

Section 66B Punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device

If a person receives any computer device or any electronic device which he knows to be stolen or having a impugned title punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to three years or fine up to rupees one lakh. 

Landmark Judgments on the Technology Law

  • Vinod Kaushik and others v. Madhvika Joshi and others (2012)
    • Delhi High Court

In this case it was held that according to section 43 of the Information Technology act 2000 having access to the e-mail accounts of a person without their consent is prohibited.

  • Shreya Singhal v Union of India (2015)
    • Supreme Court of India

It was a groundbreaking judgment by the Apex court declaring Section 66A of the Information and Technology act unconstitutional for “being violative of Article 19(1)(a)”. There were also reports which showed that there were too many false cases registered under this section and the section was misused by the investigating authorities.

Conclusion

With this we come to a conclusion that India has evolved vastly in last ten to twelve years and technology has a major role to play in this evolution but when a society starts finding dependency on technology, crime based on technology bound to increase and legislature of the country need to work harder to keep a check on these cyber crimes and keep these new age criminals on their toes. 

Reference

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