The invention of internet came with both advantages and disadvantages with it. Instead of using internet for useful and meaningful sense people have started using it in a malicious way. Hackers are trying to commit crime in the cyberspace. Cyberspace can be defined as a virtual space where various people all over the world connect with each other. Crimes which are committed in this cyberspace with criminal intent is called as cybercrime. Cybercrimes can be committed by two means i.e., cybercrime committed with the help of computer network such as blackmailing, credit card fraud, online harassment etc. and cybercrime committed on the computer such as introducing viruses, malicious software, hacking, phishing etc.
Cyber Crimes in India
Due to the rise in technology and usage of internet, there is also rise in the crimes which are committed in the cyberspace. Cybercrimes damages and hampers the computer system as well as the owner of that computer system. Cybercrimes are increasing rapidly in India because of the introduction of social media, Facebook, Instagram etc. Instead of connecting with your friends and family with the help of this online platform, people are using it with malicious intention by hacking accounts, identity theft, stalking and blackmailing etc.
There are various cybercrimes which can be broadly classified into three main headings which are as follows;
- Cybercrimes against person – crimes which are committed against a particular person such as pornography, harassment, stalking, defamation etc. These crimes are the most happening crimes nowadays and can hamper the mental and physical well-being of a person.
- Cybercrimes against property – it included crimes such as transmitting viruses, credit card frauds, unauthorized access to computer source or the data stored in it, IPR infringement etc.
- Cybercrimes against government – crimes which are committed against the government of a country like cyber terrorism, using cyberspace to threaten the international government by cracking their computer systems and hacking their data.
Cyber Laws in India
Due to the rise of cybercrimes the government felt the need to control and manage it, so the Information Technology Act, 2000 was proposed by the Indian Parliament on 17th October, 2000. It is the most important law which deals with cybercrimes and e-commerce. This law applies to whole India. Even if a person has committed a crime who is from outside of India but the source of internet is in India then also, he will be punishable under this act for committing cybercrime. Due to the fluctuating nature of internet, the crimes are also becoming advanced, so the government felt the need to make some amendments in the present act. The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 was passed. This act gave recognizance to the admissibility of electronic evidence, promotion of IT industry, regulation of e-commerce and provide protection from cybercrimes.
Features of Cyberlaw in India
The main purpose of cyberlaw is to protect and safeguard the personal, financial and business information of an individual, company and government. For an individual both private and professional information should be secured thoroughly as well as the financial information as it attracts many cyberhackers and threat to financial information.
- All the illegal activities which are done with the help of internet in the cyberspace comes under the ambit of cyberlaws and are punishable
- Cyberlaws also provides protection from theft of designs, artistic works, symbols, content, inventions etc. owned by a person or a group which have a copyright or patent of that creation or work. This is called as Intellectual Property of a person and is safeguarded under cyberlaws.
- Gives recognition to e-signatures and thus protects it from being used wrongfully by any other person.
- Electronic contracts made via safe electronic channels are considered legal under the cyberlaw.
Offences and Penalties under Cyberlaw in India
- Section 65 – Tempering with computer source documents; it protects the documents from being tempered which are stored in a computer. This offence is punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years or with fine which may extend to 2 lakhs or both.
- Section 66 – Hacking with computer system; this section talks about the hacking activity. It not only protects the information but also protects the integrity and security of the computer resources from the hackers or attackers seeking to gather such resources by illegal means. It is punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years or with fine which may extend to 5 lakhs or both.
- Section 67 – Publishing of obscene information in electronic form; it deals with publishing of obscene and pornographic material online which defames a person’s reputation in the society and cause harm to mental health. It is punishable with imprisonment up to 5 years or fine which may extend to 10 lakhs or both.
- Section 68 – Power of controller to give directions; if any person who is unable to comply with the directions given under section 68(1) will be punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years or fine which may extend to 1 lakh or both.
- Section 70 – Protected system; the government has power to declare a computer, computer network or computer system as protected system and only an authorized person has right to access this protected system. Punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years or fine or both.
- Section 71 – Penalty for misrepresentation; anyone who misrepresents a fact or conceal any material fact will be punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years or fine which may extend to 1 lakh or both.
The additional security and provisions provided under the Information Technology (Amendment) act, 2008 are as follows;
- Section 66A – Sending offensive messages; it deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through computer source or computer network with the intention of causing annoyance, inconvenience or criminal intimidation to a person and also affect his/her mental health. Punishment of imprisonment up to 3 years.
- Section 69 – Failure/refusal to decrypt data; it gave power for issuance of direction for monitoring, decrypting or intercepting any information though computer resource. Punishment of imprisonment up to 7 years and fine.
- Additional provisions relating to child pornography, pornography or publishing private images of others (Section 66E, punishment of imprisonment up to 3 years and fine up to 2 lakhs or both) and cyber terrorism (Section 66F, punishment of imprisonment up to life).
The technology is evolving on regular bases and so is the crime relating to internet. The government as well as the international treaties are all trying their best to control and monitor the cybercrimes across the globe but there are some loopholes which are not cured. Since there are many open points to enter into a network or cyberspace so it becomes difficult to keep track of each and everyone’s activity. There is need to bring more advanced laws all over the globe to deal with cybercrimes effectively and efficiently and try to close the loopholes present in the cyberspace.
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