Cyberspace generally is known as the computer-generated world of internet and the laws that govern this cyberspace or are prevailing in this area are called as cyber laws or also called as IT laws, these laws carry kind of a worldwide jurisdiction therefore all the users of this cyberspace come under the ambit of these laws. It can also be described as that branch of the law which deals with the legal issues that are related to use of inter-network information technology. In simple words, it can be said that cyber law is that law which governs computers and the internet.
There is no separate legal framework for cyber law in India, it’s a combination of intellectual property laws, contract laws, data protection laws and privacy laws, and intellectual property is the key element of information technology laws. As the computer and internet is taking over the world and every aspect of our life there is a strong need for cyber laws, cyber laws will supervise the digital circulation of information, e-commerce, software, information technology and the monetary transactions. All these legal structures and governing mechanisms come within the domain of cyber law and these laws are very crucial for the success of electronic commerce.
However the term cyber-crime has not been defined in the IT act, 2000 or in the national cyber security policy 2013 or in any other regulation in India, therefore it can be interpreted as just a combination of crime and computer. Any crime or offence in which a computer is involved can be termed as a cyber-crime, even an offence like stealing or pick pocket can be brought within the ambit of cyber-crime, if the basic data or aid to such an offence committed was through a computer or any information stored in a computer that was used by the person committing the crime. Therefore in simple words it can be said that cyber-crime is an unlawful act where he computer is either used as a tool or a target or both. All the terms that can form part of a cyber-crime like computer, computer network, data, information etc. have all been defined under the information technology act.
What constitutes a cyber-crime?
- Any crime that has been committed with the help of a computer and telecommunication technology
- Any crime in which the computer was either used as an object or subject
Different kinds of cyber-crimes
- Cyber-crimes against persons
Examples: cyber stalking, impersonation, loss of privacy, transmission of obscene material, harassment with the use of computer.
- Cyber-crimes against property
Examples: unauthorized computer trespassing, computer vandalism, stealing secret information and data, copyright, siphoning of funds from financial institutions, transmission of harmful.
- Cyber-crimes against government
Examples: hacking of government websites, cyber extortion, cyber terrorism, computer viruses.
CYBER LAWS IN INDIA
Like any other country in the world, India is also concerned about cyber security. India is one of those countries where the internet is being used extensively so it is becomes all the more important to have stringent cyber laws. In India there are four predominant laws that cyber-security, these laws have cleared the path for electronic commerce and electronic government and have also broadened the scope and application of digital media.
1.Information technology act, 2000
In India the cyber laws are mainly governed by the information technology act, 2000. This act tries to provide a legal inclusiveness to e-commerce and facilitating for registration of real time records with the government. The cyber-crimes have been growing therefore a series of amendments were made. The IT act that was enacted by the parliament highlights the grievous punishments and penalties that are imposed for safeguarding the e-commerce, e-banking and e-governance sectors. The scope of IT act has been further enhanced to include all the latest communication devices. The IT act guides the Indian legislation to govern cyber-crimes more rigorously
2.Indian penal code (IPC), 1980
As mentioned above cyber-crimes will also include traditional criminal activities like theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief and all these activities come within the ambit of the Indian penal code and are subject to the provisions under the code. The Indian penal code therefore identifies thefts and associated cyber frauds, invoked along with the information technology act, 2000. Relevant sections include section 464, 468,465,471,469.
3.Companies act, 2013
In the corporate world the stakeholders refer to this act as a legal obligation necessary for improving and monitoring the daily operations. The companies act had established the serious fraud investigation office (SFIO) and has given it the power to prosecute the Indian companies and their directors, post the notification of the company’s inspection, investment and inquiry rules 2014 the SFIO has become more stern and proactive in this regard. The legislature has made sure that all the regulatory compliances are well covered within its ambit including cyber forensics, e-discovery and cyber-security diligence. Under the companies (management and administration) rules, 2014 strict guidelines with respect to the obligations and responsibilities of company directors and leaders in confirming the cyber-security have been prescribed.
4. NIST compliance
The cyber-security framework (NCFS) authorized by the national institute of standards and technology (NIST) has established itself as the most reliable global certifying body by offering a harmonized approach to cyber-security. The NIST cyber-security framework encompasses all the required guidelines, standards and practices that are best to manage the cyber related risks in a responsible manner. This framework prioritizes on the flexibility and cost effectiveness. It aids the resilience and protection of critical infrastructure by:
- Allowing better management, interpretation and reduction of cyber-security risks, to reduce data misuse, data loss and the restoration cost that follows.
- Determining the important activities and critical operations and focusing on securing them
- By demonstrating the trust worthiness of organizations who secure critical assets
- Addresses the contractual and regulatory obligations
- It helps in prioritizing investments in order to maximize the cyber-security ROI
- Supports the wider information security program
By way of these frameworks the cyber-security risk management becomes simplified and it also makes the communication easier throughout the organization and across the supply chain through a common cyber-security directive that has been laid by NIST.
THE NEED FOR CYBER LAWS
In today’s world which is a world of internet with growing electronic means, the internet and technology have become a part everyday life. As the world becomes more tech-savvy there is also an increase in cyber related crimes and problems. The world became more and more digitally sophisticated and so did the crimes. The purpose of introducing internet and technology was to make the human life easier and for research purposes but as the number people having access to internet increased the need for the cyber laws was also felt as many started misusing the same. Internet being anonymous makes it easier to commit cybercrimes. Therefore in order to control and restrict such misuse it has become very necessary to have stringent laws that can protect the user’s rights, copy rights, data protection, property right etc. All the legal issues arising with respect cybercrimes are dealt through the provisions under cyber laws.
All the nations have different laws based upon their cultural, social, political and economic factors however the cyber laws carry kind of a worldwide jurisdiction therefore all the users of this cyberspace can be brought under the ambit of these laws. There are a wide range of activities that can take place on a cyberspace, for example, it is very easy to duplicate copies and transmit them anywhere throughout the world within a few minutes, any person can participate in the cyberspace as it is absolutely open for anyone and is easy to access, creating pirated versions of movies, software source code that is worth million can be transferred across the world within a few hours, hacking of websites and computers and other unethical activities like defaming persons, instigating hate, spreading pornographic material, threats etc. also today everyone has shifted to the electronic means like using of credit cards for shopping and transaction, all kinds of forms like the government forms, passport forms and the income tax returns etc. are now filled in electronic form so it becomes even more important for all the users to protect their data and ensure the safety of their personal information. Therefore the cyber laws are extremely important to protect these rights as there should be a parallel growth in technology as well as the legal framework and only then can the future prosper.
Internet and technology are a part of everyday life now, people spend a lot of time on the internet and it is very useful too but it comes with its share of trouble. The internet being an easy access to anyone across the space, the cybercrimes have also become very common. As the internet and technology is booming the society is becoming more and more dependent on the technology which further increases the crimes based on the electronic law breaking. Though it is not possible for a crime free society, it should at least be the constant attempt of the government to make such rules that can keep these criminalities lowest. With the view to regulate such violations of the rights of the internet users the Indian government has brought the information technology act, 2000 in place. However, the information technology act was last amended in the year 2008 and after that technology has progressed immensely, therefore it is important that the laws stay on par with the changing technologies and advancements. The cybercrimes can be very damaging at a global level. Hence keeping in mind the ramifications of a lax system, the laws must be constantly amended and new laws should be introduced to keep up with the crimes of the modern world.