This blog has been written by Arkapriya Ghosh from Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College.
The 21st century saw the greatest developments in the field of technology. However, along with the advent of the technological era came various advantages and disadvantages. The word "CYBER" is a prefix that denotes a relationship with the world of information technology. Cyber laws were developed to protect people from the dangers of cyber technology. Cyber security was a concept that dealt with every form of technology which included desktops to smartphones, cloud servers, apps, and every form of technology connected with the vast cyber world. The growing relationship between humans and technology has led every human being familiar with the cyber world and its various perks at their convenience. However, like both sides of a coin - connection with various nooks of technology has been proven to be harmful as it tended to be misused by various people with bad intentions who are termed " CYBER CRIMINALS". To protect common people from cyber crimes and to maintain a peaceful bond between man and technology, laws were created and executed by the governing bodies.
CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMES:
Cyber crimes were classified based on who they were targeting. Hence, the types of crime were:
CRIMES AGAINST FELLOW HUMANS-
Crimes that were targeted against fellow humans led to the loss of financial or mental peace.
Hacking was gaining complete access to the victim's information without his/her consent. An attacker gained unauthorized access and gained private, business, or financial information of its victim.
In this form of crime, a person anonymously harasses the victim through the use of media. Cyberstalking is pestering or disturbing someone online without his/her consent on various social networking sites.
Harassment of someone deliberately using the internet is referred to as cyberbullying. Most common examples of cyberbullying have been stated as a threat to leak private information by the form of media. It's the most common form of crime done by teenagers and adolescents.
CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNING BODIES-
Internet is being used extensively both by common people and also by governing bodies. The government uses a network for the storage of important information concerning the army and finances. Some crimes that the government has been subjected to are:
Activities like denial of service (DOS) attacks that targets critical information of sensitive networks are referred to as cyber terrorism. Terrorists who are involved in such forms of crimes have specially curated software that is secured with special codes.
UNLAWFULLY GAINING ACCESS TO PRIVATE INFORMATION-
Through their widespread network, attackers can gain confidential information about a nation and its politics, economy, navy, army, and other important issues that affect the governance of the nation.
Pirated software is an ongoing problem for the patrol team of technology as when used against the Government, pirated software has the power to destroy confidential records.
CRIMES AGAINST INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY:
As a result of advancement in the technological field, trading of property is not limited to the same area. A person can trade his property with someone who is on the other side of the world without even knowing him. However, property dealing with anonymous people has its disadvantages.
Hacking refers to gaining access to the private information of various individuals without their consent. In this form of crime, an attack is made solely to destroy the information to harm and get the individual into a loss.
Cyber demolition refers to destroying a computer and its private information and credentials saved in it. It also refers to the removal or deletion of important information.
It's the form of illegally acquiring someone else's property and changing its domain through unfair means. It means giving the attacker credit for someone's work.
MEASURES TAKEN AGAINST CYBER CRIMES:
While the world of technology was booming, and people were getting familiar with the cyber world, some criminal-minded people were also gearing up with the idea of illegal work. Any form of a misdeed that is directly or indirectly connected with the information systems can be termed a Cyber Crime. Cybercrime is an illegal misdeed where the computer is the target of crime, the tool by which the crime is done, or both. Cyber crimes can be traditional like theft, forgery, defamation, mischief, and bullying all of which are defined as crimes according to the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The misuse of computers has also given birth to new forms of crimes which have been mentioned and remedies to such crimes have been formulated in the Information Technology Act, of 2000. Hence, cybercrime has been categorized into:
Where the computer is the subject of crime: Hacking computers to extract important information or for monetary reasons.
Where the computer is the object of the crime: Cyberbullying, cyber threats, cyber terrorism, and IPR violations.
Cyber law is a term that defines legal issues related to information technology, particularly the internet and the cyber world. When the internet was founded, the developers of the internet had no idea that the internet could be misused by criminals and that the cyber world required to patrol and regulations. Every day millions of crimes take place through the internet. Due to the internet being anonymous, it's easy for people with impunity to engage in a variety of criminal misdeeds. People with smart minds have misused the aspect of the internet to commit crimes for monetary gains or just fun. Hence, cyber laws were formed in India to protect and ensure the safety of common people using the internet.
INDIAN CYBER LAWS:
After the United Nations passed a resolution in 1997 recommending all members of the UN to the proposed model law, electronic records were given the same amount of protection and security as paper records were given.
Hence, the birth of the cyber security law of India, or The Information Technology Act,2000 took place.
The Information Technology Act, of 2000 was passed as a bill and approved by the cabinet on May 13, 2000. It was consented to by the President on 9 June 2000 and was given the name "INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000". The act deals with legal recognition of documents and signatures, offenses, and justice dispensation system for cyber crimes.
SECTIONS DEALING WITH THE RIGHTS OF AN INTERNET USER, ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000:
To regulate such crimes or misdeeds which violated the rights of an internet user, the Indian government has framed the Information Technology Act, 2000 accordingly. Sections of the act that deal with the rights are as follows:
SECTION 65: TAMPERING WITH INFORMATION STORED IN COMPUTER
A person who intentionally conceals, changes or tampers important information which includes codes, layout, design, and analytics when brought before the law as charged with such offense, he/she can be punished with 3 years of imprisonment or a fine of 2 lakhs INR or both. (Ram Shanker Singh Vs State of UP, 4 January 2017)
SECTION 66: ILLEGAL USE OF SOMEONE'S PASSWORD
If a person fraudulently copies, and hence uses or hacks someone else's password or digital signature, he/she can face imprisonment for up to 3 years or a fine of 1 lakhs INR. (Shreya Singal Vs Union of India, 2015)
SECTION 66D: CHEATING FELLOW HUMANS USING TECHNOLOGY
If a person cheats on someone using the internet or social media, he/she could be subjected to imprisonment of 3 years or a fine of up to 1lakh INR. (Neelam Vishwakarma Vs State of MP, 2017)
SECTION 66E: PUBLISHING PRIVATE IMAGES OF OTHERS
If a person captures or shares images of someone's private parts without asking for consent or anonymously, the person would be entitled to imprisonment of 3 years or a fine up to 2 lakhs or both. (K. Arulanantham Vs State, 2021).
SECTION 66F: CYBER TERRORIST ATTACKS
A person is entitled to life imprisonment if he/she denies an unauthorized person access to computer resources without authorization intending to harm the country and its unity, security, and integrity. This leads to a non-bailable offense. (K Siva Vs Bar Council of Tamil Nadu)
SECTION 67: PUBLISHING CHILDREN IN EXPLICIT ACTS OR PREDATING CHILDREN
If a person captures or transmits images of a child in a sexually explicit act or includes anyone under 18 in this kind of act, he/she may face imprisonment of up to 7 years or a fine of 10 lakhs or both. (Ekta Kapoor Vs State of MP, 2020)
SECTION 69: GOVERNMENT RETAINING POWER TO BLOCK WEBPAGES
If the government feels certain pages affect the sovereignty or unity of India, it can intercept, monitor, or ban these websites. The power is subject to the procedure. Under section 69 A, the central government can also block any information from public access. (George Vattukulam Vs State of Kerela, 2022)
LANDMARK JUDGEMENTS ON BASIS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000:
SHREYA SINGHAL Vs UOI AIR 2015 SC 1523 -
Two women were arrested under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, who was accused of having posted objectionable, harassing comments regarding a strike in Mumbai after the demise of a political leader. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 deals with whoever provides information that is offensive, false, or causes annoyance or hatred will be punished with imprisonment. The woman stated such an act violated their rights to speech and expression. The validity of section 66A of the information technology act, 2000 was challenged before the court. The court ruled the decision that section 66 A is ambiguous and it violates the rights of speech and expression. It removed an arbitrary provision from the IT ACT, of 2000, and upheld citizens' right to speech.
STATE OF TAMIL NADU Vs SUHASKATTI CC NO. 4680 Of 2004-
The accused was the victim's family friend and wanted to marry her but she married someone else which resulted in a divorce. After the divorce, he again asked her to marry him to which she refused and the accused harassed the girl by posting obscene defamation about the girl. Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 was charged against the accused. He was punished with rigorous imprisonment for 2 years along with a fine of 4000 under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This case was a landmark in the field of law as it ensured effective handling of the case by making conviction possible within 7 months of filing the FIR.
The cyber law system is policed by the information technology act, of 2000 and the rules that have been established. When the Information Technology Act, of 2000 cannot provide justice to certain crimes, the Indian Penal Code, of 1860 resorted to finding provisions relating to the offense. Even still, it has already been clear that Cyber law is insufficient to cope with the changing dimensions of cyber law. As India is on the way to becoming a digital nation, new forms of cybercrime are being discovered every day. As a result legislation and laws for cybercrime needs to be updated every day to provide safe cyberspace for common citizens.