In today’s world of rapid growth, information technology is encompassing all walks of life, all over the world. These technological developments have made it possible to transition from paper to paperless world. There is hardly any ambit of life which is not illuminated by the internet.
However, the rapid growth of information technology, globally, has led to a growth of new forms of transparent crimes, especially related to the internet. Such types of crimes are broadly classified as ‘cybercrimes.’
India is the 4th most affected country by cybercrimes, according to the global financial cybercrime losses survey, conducted by Joseph Johnson. The Ministry of Home Affairs operationalized the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal on August 30, 2019 to provide a centralized mechanism to the citizens for online reporting of all types of cybercrime incidents. The Ministry of Home Affairs stated that there were over 3.17 lakh cases registered in a due course of 18 months.
The Need for Cyber laws:
There arises a question why there needs to be a law separately formulated for cybercrimes. This may also assume significance looking to the fact that the phenomenal spread of Internet has been enabled mainly due to the absence of a centralised regulating agency. Anyone who has access to a computer and a telephone network is free to get hooked to the Internet. This uncontrollable growth of the Internet makes the need for regulation.
This situation is alarming as any element of distrust for Internet may lead to people avoiding doing transactions with online sites thereby directly affecting e-Commerce growth. The misuse of Internet as an excellent medium of communication may in some situations lead to direct damage to physical societies. Terrorists may also make use of web to create conspiracies and make violence in the society.
Cyber laws took birth in order to regulate the crimes that have been taking place on the internet. In this new epoch of technology, the importance of cyber laws is undeniable. Cyber laws exist to protect the people from unfair means and crimes.
Cyber Laws in India:
Globalization and computerization marked the beginning of an era which was guarded by the cyber laws. As there has been a significant increase in the usage of internet, people who are trying to misuse the internet always lurk around the corner. This calls for laws that govern the cyber space.
Information Technology Act of India and its regulatory framework:
India enacted the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) on 09 June 2000. The IT Act general terms is also known as Cyber Law. The IT Act is based on the UNCITRAL model law on e-commerce. The preamble of the IT Act simply indicates that the Act is centered on affording legal recognition to transactions carried out electronically. However, the scope of the IT Act goes much beyond its preamble. It covers multiple areas including data protection and security, cybercrimes, adjudication of cyber disputes, government mandated surveillance of digital communication, and intermediary liability.
The acts, rules, regulations that are included under cyber law:
- Information Technology Act,2000
- Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules,2000
- Information Technology (Security Procedure) Rules, 2004
- Information Technology (Certifying Authority) Regulations, 2001
- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
- The Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891
The increase in cyber crimes drastically has led to the government to pace up the process of amending the IT Act.
Cyber law includes laws relating to the following:
- Cyber Crimes
- Electronic and digital signatures
- Intellectual property
- Data protection and privacy
Penalty for damage under the IT Act:
Under the IT Act there is a provision for imposition of penalty in case of any non-compliance. The following are some of the penalty provisions.
- Tampering with Computer source documents: Chemical processing units have to ensure that vessels, pipes and valves are tested periodically to curtail such accidents.
- Participating in sending offensive text messages through communication service will result in imprisonment which can be extended up to three years.
- Violation of privacy: imprisonment up to three years and fine up to two lakh rupees.
- Publication of Fraudulent purposes: imprisonment, fine or both.
- Publication of Absent information: imprisonment, fine or both.
Importance of Cyber Law in India:
In today’s techno-savvy environment, the internet is treated as a research and information sharing tool and in such a world there is a dire need to produce a framework that can protect the people from injustices. Since the number of internet users is on the rise, it gives birth to Cyber Crimes. All issues relating to cybercrime or internet crime are dealt with the help of Cyber Law. So, to avail the justice, to avail the remedy, cyber law exists.
Cyber-law is important in a country like India where the population is massive and the internet is used to a large extent. The law is enacted to save people and organizations from cyber crime and other internet-related crimes. It protects the privacy of every individual and organization. Before the enactment of Cyber-law, no specific law existed in India to deal with cybercrime. As per rules and regulations of the Cyber-law, a person who commits cybercrime is liable to get punishment. If anyone violates and breaks the provisions of the law, then it allows another person or organization to take legal action against that person.
There are various reasons for which Cyber Law, is very important, are listed below;
- It allows employees to work safely – with the help of cyber law, you and the employees of your company haven’t got any risk from a potential cyber attack. If your system becomes infected than that can really hamper their productivity.
- It can protect your business – This is one of the biggest factors, because of which cyber law is very important. It allows the employees to surf the internet as and when they require it. You have to ensure that they can’t at risk from potential threats.
- It protects the personal information of the user – One of the most important factors in the digital world is to keep your personal information secret. It is very essential for the customer that they are quite capable of selling the information.
- It protects productivity – There are many viruses present which can slow down your personal computer. It may often bring your personal business to a standstill.
Why Cyber Law is required in our country:
- To protect the online transactions and keep the portal safe. Online transactions are very prone to cybercrimes.
- The companies who have their data on the electronic devices need protection from this law to keep their personal information safe and secure.
- Due to the rapid growth of technology, various Government forms like ITR return, Service tax returns are filled in electronic form. Anyone can by hacking the government portal sites easily misuse those forms. Only under cyber law, you are eligible to get remedy against this type of fraud.
- With the help of cyber law credit and debit card frauds can be easily traced.
- Cyber law protects us from the fraud involving digital signatures and e-contracts.
Anyone using the internet should keep in mind the precautions to experience a safe browsing session.
With the addition of Cyber Laws, India is now one of those few countries that has a separate law to deal with the cybercrimes. This is a stepping stone to success and a safer experience for the citizens browsing through the internet. With the laws backing a normal citizen, he/she/they won’t have to worry about the consequences of a fraud or scam or whatever for that matter. They have a law to back them and protect them. Cyber law is the appropriate law to provide a remedy against Cybercrime. At present, people who commit cyber-crime offenses think twice about the cyber laws, before committing any such offenses. The laws thereby help in decreasing the rate of cyber-crime offenses.