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Laws Ensuring Cybersecurity in India

INTRODUCTION

Computers seem to have made our life easier as they could be used for several purposes like education, payment of various bills, source of entertainment, and access to surplus information of the global world among many others. What we often ignore is the threat it poses to whoever has access to it in the advanced form of crime known as ‘Cyber Crime’. Cybercrime is all about the use of a computer where either a computer is used to commit a crime or a crime has been committed by targeting a computer. In order to prevent such computer crimes, we now need a computer-based law called ‘Cyber Law’. Cyber laws protect computer networks against other computer networks by laying down rules, regulations, and guidelines regarding Cybercrimes.

CYBERCRIME

Cybercrime is an illegal invasion of information stored by an individual, corporations, and governments. Such invasion may not take place physically; the offender and victim may never be in contact with each other but what they invade is a personal and corporate digital body. The world’s first cybercrime was conducted in the year 1834 French Telegraph System when thieves hacked into the system of the French telegraph and succeeded in stealing financial market information. Since then, many cyber-crimes have been committed like Morris Code Worm, Malicious Code, Phishing, DNS Attack, BotNets, Bitcoin Wallet, and Android hack. Governments of many countries have started working together to stop such crimes.

TYPES OF CYBERCRIME

A. AGAINST INDIVIDUALS

a. Email Spoofing: The message appears to have been received from somewhere other than the actual source.

b. Spamming: Same message sent to millions of addresses in the hope to receive a response.

c. Cyber Defamation: Publishing of false information on cyberspace to harm the reputation of the person concerned.

d. Phishing: Stealing information by identifying himself/herself as the individual whose identity is stolen.

B. AGAINST PROPERTY

a. Software piracy: Copying of software illegally

b. Copyright infringement: Using any text, picture, music, or book that is under someone else right. 

C. AGAINST ORGANISATION

a. DOS Attack: The offender floods the server with numerous traffic so that the files cannot be accessed by the rightful owner.

b. Email Bombing: Infinite number of emails is sent to an email address to flood the service to which the email address belongs.  

D. AGAINST SOCIETY

a. Forgery: Where false currency, signatures and documents are produced.

b. Web Jacking: Fake websites are created to access the information of another.  

WHY CYBER CRIME?

  1. EASY ACCESS: Lack of security and complex technology about which cybercriminals are well aware leads to breaches of data and much important information.
  2. LESS USAGE OF MEMORY: Computers are prone to store a large amount of data in small spaces making it easier to be accessed by cybercriminals.
  3. COMPLEXITY:  Programmes run under, millions of codes to which a layman is unaware and cybercriminals take advantage of this.
  4. IGNORANCE: Human beings unaware of the computer world tend to ignore many factors related to the security of data which may lead to an illegal invasion of an uninvited guest.
  5. DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE: Cyber criminals are used to committing the same crime over the year again and again which leads to efficiency in their way of data leads us that there through evidence of them breaking in the first place.

CYBERLAW

Cyber Law plays an important role to control crimes committed through computer networking and concerns all aspects involving technology have cyber laws about it.

In India, cyber laws origin can be traced in—

Information Technology Act 2000

Act based on United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce 1996.

The act gives:

  1. E-Mail is valid and legal for communication.
  2. Digital signatures are given legal status.
  3. Digital certificates to new companies.
  4. Government can issue e notices.
  5. Communication between companies and the government can be done through an online network.
  6. Addressing grievances of the general public through an online portal.
  7. Ensuring security to digital data.

Shreya Singhal v. Union of India1 legal status of Section 66A of IT Act, 2002 was challenged before the honourable Supreme Court. In the instant case, two women were arrested after posting objectionable comments due to the complete shutdown of Mumbai on the death of a political leader, in retorting they question the constitutionality of Section 66A of the said act. Whereas, the court held that Section 66A is legally valid as the statement given by an individual may be annoying even if not affecting reputation, and does not violate article 14 of the Indian constitution as there is intelligible differentia between speech by cyberspace and other forms of speech.

Avnish Bajaj v. State (NCT) of Delhi2 in this case CEO of the website Bazee.com was arrested on the ground of broadcasting cyber pornography but was soon released as he was supposed to be nowhere involved in the said offence and shreds of evidence which were collected are directed towards some others who used the service of the website for sharing the cyber pornography.

INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

In India the Penalties of some offences are also mentioned in other acts depending upon the damage it may cause to the victim therefore offences like obscene material or sexually exploiting of children transferred electronically through the system of networks, acts of voyeurism, stalking, cheating, theft through electronic devices are all punishable offences under IPC.

State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Katti3 the accused in the instant case was a friend of the victim and was eager to marry her but the victim declined and got married [i]to someone else and later got divorced. Therefore, the accused coaxed the victim once again only to get rejected. Then accused made a fake account of Id on email by the victim’s name and posted obscene and defamatory information about the victim resulting in his arrest. Later, was charged with 2 years of rigorous imprisonment and a year of simple imprisonment along with a fine.

CBI v. Arif Azim4 through this case India got its very first cybercrime conviction someone named Barbara Campa logged into a website through which someone from a foreign country can purchase products to be delivered in India. The purchase of a Sony Colour TV with the wireless telephone was made under the same Id. Later, The credit card agency claims that the owner of the card through which payment was done had not done any purchase. CBI investigated the case and found that Arif Azim to whom the delivery was made worked at a call centre somehow got the details of Barbara Campa whose card was used for purchase. Arif Azim being a youth and first-time offender was released on probation for a year.

COMPANIES ACT 2013

The act specifies the technical requirements for a company and gives the government the power to punish anyone who doesn’t complement the technical requirements. Over time the effectiveness of these laws is advancing, giving guidelines for companies and their management to abide by.

IMPORTANCE OF CYBER LAW

Cyber laws are very important in the era of computers and advanced technology. It helps small-scale industries work effectively so that their productivity doesn’t get harmed, and allows the company to surf the internet without any barrier. Data recorded would be preserved and due to penalties, the capable intruder may not do so.

Presently, the Central government has no plan to form any organisation to deal with such matters but the government did make laws that are efficient enough. The government presented the National Cyber Security Council 2013 with the ministry of IT and Electronics aiming at the prevention of cyber threats, minimizing the damage done by cybercrime, and protecting the structure and data of computers. Ministry of home affairs passed a scheme aiming to prevent cyber crimes against children and women.

India is at 23rd rank out of 183 countries on the Global Cybersecurity Index of the UN. Further, the government aims at making it in the top ten of the list in the coming year.

CYBERSECURITY IN INDIA

Cybersecurity is the protection of the systems of networks by a firm or an individual for the sake of the protection of data in their system. Cybersecurity of one must be strong enough to fight against the illegal invasion by someone with the intention of misusing the data. With the advancement in technology, there are numerous ways in which one can invade your personal space due to these systems of the network must be protected effectively and efficiently.

To handle the problem of cybercrime—

  • Using strong passwords.
  • Protect your data with enough strong encryption.
  • Protection of your personal information.
  • Keep your systems updated.
  • Usage of antivirus programs.

CONCLUSION

Nowadays, cybercriminals are harmful to both developed and developing countries, therefore they should work together to fight against cybercrime. Budapest Convention is the only multilateral treaty signed internationally in 2001 by various countries which came into existence in 2004. It provides guidelines to countries for the creation of a system that fights against cybercrime. In 2017, a Russian Resolution was put before United Nations that aims at sharing data among countries to prevent cybercrime. India states that sharing data with foreign countries goes against the National sovereignty of India and Budapest convention was drafted without the presence of India therefore it stands neutral.

Citations:

  1. AIR 2015 SC 1523
  2. 2008 DRJ 721: (2008) 150 DRT 769
  3. C No. 4680 of 2004
  4. 2013

This article is written by Simran Gulia, a BA LLB student from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management.

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