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Importance of Cyber Law In India

The computer-generated world of internet is known as cyberspace and the laws prevailing this area are known as Cyber laws and all the users of this space come under the ambit of these laws as it carries a kind of worldwide jurisdiction. Cyber law can also be described as that branch of law that deals with legal issues related to use of inter-networked information technology. In short, cyber law is the law governing computers and the internet.

The growth of Electronic Commerce has propelled the need for vibrant and effective regulatory mechanisms which would further strengthen the legal infrastructure, so crucial to the success of Electronic Commerce. All these governing mechanisms and legal structures come within the domain of Cyber law.

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.

Cyber Crime is not defined in Information Technology Act 2000 nor in the National Cyber Security Policy 2013 nor in any other regulation in India. Hence, to define cyber-crime, one can say, it is just a combination of crime and computer. In other words ‘any offence or crime in which a computer is used is a cyber-crime’. Even a petty offence like stealing or pick pocket can be brought within the broader purview of cybercrime 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 cybercrime.

Cyber law encompasses laws relating to:

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

Cyber space includes computers, networks, softwares, data storage devices(such as hard disks, USB disks etc), the internet, websites, emails and even electronic devices such as cell phones, ATM machines etc.

Cyber Crime?

# Any crime with the help of computer and telecommunication technology.
# Any crime where either the computer is used as an object or subject. [1]

Categories of Cyber Crime

1. Cybercrimes against persons
2. Cybercrimes against property
3. Cybercrimes against government
1. Against a Person
# Cyber stalking
# Impersonation
# Loss of Privacy
# Transmission of Obscene Material
# Harassment with the use of computer

2. Against Property
# Unauthorized Computer Trespassing
# Computer vandalism
# Transmission of harmful programmes
# Siphoning of funds from financial institutions
# Stealing secret information & data
# Copyright

3. Against Government
# Hacking of Government websites
# Cyber Extortion
# Cyber Terrorism
# Computer Viruses[2]

Some Other Crimes
# Logic Bombs
# Spamming
# Virus, worms, Trojan Horse
# E-Mail Bombing
# E-Mail abuse etc.

Need For Cyber Law

In today’s techno-savvy environment, the world is becoming more and more digitally sophisticated and so are the crimes. Internet was initially developed as a research and information sharing tool and was in an unregulated manner. As the time passed by it became more transactional with e-business, e-commerce, e-governance and e-procurement etc. All legal issues related to internet crime are dealt with through cyber laws. As the number of internet users is on the rise, the need for cyber laws and their application has also gathered great momentum.

In today’s highly digitalized world, almost everyone is affected by cyber law.

For example:
# Almost all transactions in shares are in demat form.
# Almost all companies extensively depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form.
# Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms etc. are now filled in electronic form.
# Consumers are increasingly using credit/debit cards for shopping.
# Most people are using email, phones and SMS messages for communication.
# Even in “non-cyber crime” cases, important evidence is found in computers/cell phones eg: in cases of murder, divorce, kidnapping, tax evasion, organized crime, terrorist operations, counterfeit currency etc.
# Cybercrime cases such as online banking frauds, online share trading fraud, source code theft, credit card fraud, tax evasion, virus attacks, cyber sabotage, phishing attacks, email hijacking, denial of service, hacking, pornography etc. are becoming common.
# Digital signatures and e-contracts are fast replacing conventional method of transacting business.[3]

Cyber Laws In India

In India, cyber laws are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into force on October 17, 2000. The main purpose of the Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government.

The existing laws of India, even with the most compassionate and liberal interpretation could not be interpreted in the light of the emergency cyberspace, to include all aspects relating to different activities in cyberspace. In fact, the practical experience and the wisdom of judgement found that it shall not be without major threats and pitfalls, if the existing laws were to be interpreted in the scenario of emerging cyberspace, without enacting new cyber laws. Hence, the need for enactment of relevant cyber laws.

None of the existing laws gave any legal validity or sanction to the activities in Cyberspace. For example, the Net is used by a large majority of users for email. Yet till today, email id not “legal” in our country. There is no law in the country, which gives legal validity, and sanction to email. Courts and judiciary in our country have been reluctant to grant judicial recognition to the legality of email in the absence of any specific law having been enacted by the Parliament. As such the need has arisen for Cyber law.

World and Cyber Laws

# The Great firewall of China monitors every moment in cyber space and protect to publish any offensive content.
# China have an hold on every content which is harmful of dangerous for the government of China.
# Brazil is considered world’s biggest airport for Hackers.
# Iran is also a dangerous country for the Netizens. He also have a Crime Police unit for crime in Cyber Space.

Importance of Cyber Laws
# We are living in highly digitalized world.
# All companies depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form.
# Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms etc are now filled in electronic form.
# Consumers are increasingly using credit cards for shopping.
# Most people are using email, cell phones and SMS messages for communication.
# Even in “non-cyber crime” cases, important evidence is found in computers/ cell phones e.g. in cases of divorce, murder, kidnapping, organized crime, terrorist operations, counterfeit currency etc.
# Since it touches all the aspects of transactions and activities on and concerning the Internet, the World Wide Web and Cyberspace therefore Cyber law is extremely important.[4]

Conclusion
To sum up, though a crime free society is perfect and exists only in illusion, it should be constant attempt of rules to keep the criminalities lowest. Especially in a society that is dependent more and more on technology, crime based on electronic law-breaking are bound to increase and the law makers have to go the extra mile compared to the impostors, 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 an illicit intent who are out to exploit them or misuse them, they come into the array of cyber-crime and become punishable offences.

Hence, it should be the tenacious efforts of rulers and law makers to ensure that technology grows in a healthy manner and is used for legal and ethical business growth and not for committing crimes. It should be the duty of the three stake holders viz. i) the rulers, regulators, law makers and agents ii) Internet or Network Service Suppliers or banks and other intercessors and iii) the users to take care of information security playing their respective role within the permitted limitations and ensuring obedience with the law of the land.

Written By:- Vinit Verma - K.R. Mangalam University

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