LAWS & CONCERNS IN RELATION TO ANY CYBER LAW

Written By: Sipivisht S., Ravi Verma M., G. Soundarya[1]

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it”

                                                                                                         -Stephane Nappo

ABSTRACT:

The concept of cybercrime is not new. It has been tenaciously developing throughout the decades. The first-ever cyber crime took place in the year 1820 and the term “cyber” was derived from the word “cybernetics” which is connected to computer or computer networks. Performing a malicious activity with the use of a computer constitutes cybercrime and the main motive for committing this crime is money. According to the National Crime Records Bureau in the year 2018, nearly 10,098 cybercrime cases have been reported among which 7661 was a fraud and 586 was sexual exploitation. Children have always been easy victims of such crime and the terrifying thing is that these victims aren’t aware of the fact that they are victims of cybercrime. For cybercrime, four main elements must exist. The elements are actus reus, mens rea, attendant circumstances, and finally, injury to the victim. Among all cybercrimes, the most common one is hacking, theft, cyberstalking and identity theft. These crimes can be committed against individuals, property, or the government, and unlike earlier days ego isn’t the core factor but the thought of using knowledge to obtain reward quickly. Cyberlaw also known as the Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted to tackle and solve nearly all forms of cybercrime activity along with punishing the criminals who fall under the purview of cybercrime. It’s considered to be one of the contemporary fields in the administration of justice. This act is also concerned with crimes that take place outside India and it also lists out the crimes which fall under cybercrime and constitutes punishments for it. When comparing cybersecurity with cybercrime, victims of these acts are different. In cybercrime, individuals or governments turn out to be the victims but in the case of cybersecurity, it is the corporations and governments. This research paper helps us to understand the concept of cybercrime and the struggles faced by the victims. The paper also focuses on the motive of cybercrime, the contribution of the judiciary in providing reliefs to the victims, need and importance of the Information technology act,2000. Finally, to know the prevailing laws that safeguard people from cybercrime.

Keywords: Cybercrime, National crime record bureau, Cyberstalking, Cyber law, Cybersecurity, Information technology act,2000.

  1. INTRODUCTION:

“Technology trust is a good thing, but control is a better one.”
-Stephane Nappo

The Computerized society carried out by the internet refers to cyberspace and the laws existing in this field are cyber laws. One of the main advantages of cyber law is that they have international jurisdiction, and the people who exercise this comes under the scope of this cyber law. It is also considered to be predominant, as it connects nearly all characteristics of internet undertakings. Neither the Information Technology Act 2000 nor the National Cyber Security Policy 2013 defines cybercrime. Only the definition of data, information, computer, and other elements that have been a part of cybercrime is explained under the IT Act 2000. Intellectual property, data protection, and privacy, and cybercrimes are the laws addressed by cyber law.

As technology develops the world keeps getting advanced and so do the crimes. At the time when the internet was developed, it was meant only for sharing information and research. But now, it deals with e-governance, e-business, and e-commerce. The use of cyberlaw grows immensely as the number of users increases. Hacking, defamation, copyright, identity theft, cyber bullying, and cyber terrorism are a few of the prevailing cybercrimes in India. Just like every coin has two sides, the usage of the internet has its own pros and cons. The cyberlaw along with the IT act 2000, made tremendous growth in the 21st century.

 The Indian Evidence Act and the Reserve bank of India were upgraded by the IT act and with the development in cyberlaw, nearly all internet actions were put to scrutinize. Will, power of attorney, contract of sale are a few of the things where cyber laws do not have control over. The main motive of the cyber law was to stop activities such as electronic transactions, computer crime, and forgery of electronic data. In order to improve the efficiency of the IT act 2000, an amendment was made in the year 2008. It was made enforceable in 2009 and few modifications were made in the IT act, such as changes in the definition of some terms.

The Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 defines cybercafé, focuses more on data privacy and information security. It also redefined the roles of intermediaries and authorized inspectors to investigate cyber offenses. As we know we live in a world where it’s highly digitalized and where emails are used for communication. This results in the need for cyber laws. The main objective of the paper is to bring out the need and importance of cyber laws in India.

  1. REVIEW OF LITERATURE:
  • Saroj Mehta &Vikram Singh’s A study of awareness about cyber laws in the Indian society – states that when compared to women, men are more aware of the existing Indian cyber laws. Likewise, employed users are more aware of the laws than non-employed users. [2]
  • Cassim. F’s Formulating specialized legislation to address the growing specter of cybercrime: A comparative study – views on the cyber enactment framed, to convey cybercrime in India Australia, and the United Kingdom. [3]
  • Apurba Kumar Roy’s Role of cyber law and its usefulness in the Indian IT industry–has made clear that moral, civil, and criminal wrongs are caused by cyberspace and until now many IT employees lacked knowledge on cybercrime. [4]
  • Kuntal Patel’s Critical Study and Analysis of Cyber Law Awareness Among the Netizens –recommends a way to improve awareness of Indian cyber laws, among the people in the society.  [5]
  • Roshmi Sarmah’s A brief study on Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws of India – traces the punishments and laws that are inflicted on the criminals and depicts how cybercrime has become a great threat to the individual as well as the society. [6]
  • OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
  • To historically trace out the origin of cyber law.
  • To evaluate the need and importance of cyber laws in India.
  • To figure out the various forms of cybercrimes against women and individuals.
  • To know the prevailing laws, reliefs, and amendments in favor of cybercrimes.
  • To analyze the role of the IT act, 2000 in terms of cybercrime.
  • To figure out the motive of cybercrime.
  • To bring out the contribution of the judiciary in providing reliefs.
  • To improve the impact of awareness and knowledge among the people.
  • To find the contemporary developments in this subject, both in India and around the globe.
  • And finally, to explore the underlying causes of cybercrimes.
  • HYPOTHESIS:
  • Lack of extensive legislation when dealing with cybercrime issues.
  • Failure of the legal system in accomplishing or meeting its aims.
  •  Absence of serious feedback in the field of cyber law.
  • There’s a barrier in reporting cybercrime in India.
  • The cyber law issues are not sufficiently conveyed by the IT act.
  • The role of the Indian judiciary is not that much effective for protecting the victims of cybercrime.
  • Gender-based violence like cyber stalking is increasing.
  • In India, people lack knowledge about the existing cyber laws.
  • When compared to men, women are unaware of the fact that they are the victims of cyber-crime.
  • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:

This research paper titled ” Laws and concerns in relation to any cyber law” are mainly doctrinal. The doctrinal study is based on secondary data gathered from various sources like books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and law reports. It also includes various information provided by various authors and researchers. These sources interpret and analyze primary sources. Finally, the existing data is summarized and collated to increase the overall effectiveness of the research. 

  • SCOPE AND JURISDICTION OF THE STUDY:

Indian Cyber law has the preceding impact and jurisdiction:

  • Cyberlaw legalizes materials that are shared, communicated, and written electronically.
  • It legalizes contracts that are made electronically (offer & acceptance).
  • The theory of digital signatures is acknowledged by the Indian cyber laws.
  • The Indian cyber law encloses nearly all the cybercrimes.
  • In cybercrime when it comes to investigation, jurisdiction tends to be an obstacle.
  • As per section 1(2) of the IT act 2000, this act is made applicable to the whole of India.
  • And according to section 75, it further applies to any offenses committed outside India by any person.
  • Sec 78 of the IT act states that any police officer below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police has the power only to investigate the cases.
  • STATEMENT OF ISSUES:
  1. How productive is the judicial system while dealing with cybercrimes against women?
  2. Elucidate the resemblance between the Indian IT act and other developed countries’ IT act?
  3. What is the cause for recent development in the field of international cyber law?
  4. In order to tackle the modern cybercrimes, what are the amendments to be made?
  • RESULTS OF THE STUDY:

Issue 1:How productive is the judicial system while dealing with cybercrimes against women?

IT ACT, 2000:

After acquiring assent from the president of India, the Information Technology Act 2000 was enacted by the parliament. It was the first cyberlaw to be passed with the motive to assist electronic filing and promote legality to electronic transactions. It contains 13 chapters, 94 sections, and 4 schedules. One of its advantages is to render a high penalty for cybercrime. This act applies to the whole of India and also for the offenses committed by any person outside India.  Soon after the Mumbai terrorist attack incident, the parliament of India passed Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (ITAA) to focus on data privacy, defining cybercafé and permitting officers or inspectors to investigate cyber offenses.

The following are the types of cybercrime offenses that have been taking place and sections under which the criminal can be convicted too. 

  • Cyber-stalking:  Harassing a person by using communication tools or data. Love, revenge, and sexual harassment are the main motives behind this and among the victims, 75% are women. In offenses like this, there is no direct link between the victim and the criminal. The first-ever cyber stalking case in India was Ritukohli’s case.
  • Section 72 ITAA – Breach of confidentiality and privacy
  • Cyber Pornography:  It means using computers to create pornographic magazines, websites, and threatening women, by recording their actions and posting them online.
  • Sec 67 IT – Prohibits transmission or publication of obscene material in electronic form
  • Cyber Harassment:  Harassment through e-mail is not a new concept. Bullying, threatening, and blackmailing people through email. It is also an act of demanding or requesting people for sexual favors.
  • Cyber Defamation:  Defamation refers to attacking a person’s reputation. Broadcasting a defamatory issue, with the use of computers and posting it online or sending those through emails amounts to cyber defamation. The first-ever cyber defamation case was SMC Pneumatics Pvt. Ltd -vs- Jogeshkwatra. In this case, the managing director received obscene and defamatory emails from his company’s employees.
  • Sec 66A IT – sending offensive messages through a computer, mobile, or tablet
  • Morphing:  Using a fake id, editing a person’s original picture constitutes morphing. Women are the main victim of this crime.  It also means downloading pictures from social media, morphing them with another picture, and blackmailing or threatening those women.
  • Sec 43 IT – damage to the computer, computer system, etc.
  • Sec 66 IT – computer-related offenses

Issue 2: Elucidate the resemblance between the Indian IT act and other developed countries’ IT act?

Cyber law – Across the world:

There are seven hundred crores of people living in this world. Approximately 50% of them are internet users. i.e. 3.5 billion people. The present century is called INTERNET CENTURY. Our day-to-day life is evolving around smart phones and other devices that use the internet. We cannot even imagine a planet without Facebook or Snapchat or Paytm. Gone are the times of standing in lines to pay your bills. Today’s generation isn’t aware of what a line is or for that matter, what patience is. World connectivity has caused such a revolution that the post-net and pre-net worlds are entirely unrecognizable. Our lifestyle and culture have changed. Our priorities have changed and so do our problems.

The Internet has immense power. Power to form or break someone. Power to impact world policies and decisions. The online too, with its power, brings responsibilities. With the increasing popularity of online activities, the speed of online crimes has also increased exponentially. While the extent and impact of these crimes vary greatly from the occident to the orient, it’s become a worldwide menace. With crimes like cyber terrorism, this era has changed and keeps on changing.

Till now cyber-crimes are still not explicitly defined. Most countries have laws in place to address such issues, and the underlying crime of this issue varies from case to case. Moreover, cyber activities aren’t governed by geographical borders. Which makes the handling of such crimes all the more confusing and sophisticated. As a result of which, plenty of cyber-crimes either go unreported or simply unconvinced.

Let us discuss about the role of cyber laws in different countries:

  1. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

When it comes to cybercrimes, the USA is considered to be the planet leader. It’s been the most affected country on the earth in terms of internet-related crimes as it has 23% of the world’s cyber rate. However, the USA has the best Cyber laws in the world. About 60% of the cyber cases have been registered and ended in conviction and prison sentences. The primary laws against such crimes were first established in the year 1984 called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). However, this act did not include a provision for intentional harming of devices by using malicious code. Or in layman language, for viruses.

To strengthen the act, The National Information Infrastructure Protection Act (NIIA) was introduced. This act included previous espionage laws and made it illegal for computer information without authorization. Apart from laws, the United States of America had also developed very strict punishments for cybercrimes. . In case of fraud, the punishment is 15 years imprisonment and a fine. And the punishment for hacking and damaging the computer is six to twenty years of imprisonment. The USA has quite a stronghold on cyber laws.

  • THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Among the middle-eastern countries, UAE has the foremost comprehensive and powerful law against cyber criminals. UAE faces5% of the world’s cyber threats. However, being the financial capital of the Gulf Regions, it has strong laws to guard its businesses against attacks.

The nation has very clearly defined each offense along with the penalty associated with it. In case of cyber stalking and harassment, a penalty of a maximum of two-year imprisonment or 250-000-500,000 AED (Arab Emirates Dirham) is imposed. For forgery, imprisonment, and fine of up to 2,000,000 AED is imposed. UAE has well defined, strict laws in case of cybercrimes.

  • KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

The cyber rate in Saudi Arabia is relatively low when compared to other places. However, recently these crimes have slowly been on the increase. 76% of this crime includes pornography. KSA has no definition for cyber issues like cyber bullying, piracy, falsification of signatures, etc.

The laws are defined only against hacking, illegal access to data, pornography, denial of service, and cyber-terrorism. The punishment may vary from one-year imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Riyals to imprisonment of a maximum of 10 years and a fine of 5,000,000 Riyals for cyber terrorism.

  • CHINA

China has been the one among the nations to bring cyber law to the world. While its laws may appear dictatorial to external forces, those laws are also essential to the Chinese government. Identifying a crime and awarding punishments for it started around 1997. During that time “COMPUTER INFORMATION NETWORK AND INTERNET SECURITY, PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS” was brought by the council of State.

As per the legal code, acts like hacking, sabotaging data, or creating and propagating digital viruses cause a minimum of three years imprisonment. The sentences are increased phenomenally in graver cases when it involves sensitive data.

After 2010, the law also stated, “within Chinese territory, the web is under the sovereignty of China”. Which translates that the government has utter and complete control over the web within their borders. As such, many of the world’s most popular websites are banned in China. For instance, Google. While this may appear preposterous to us, it has proved beneficial for indigenous e-commerce and digital companies of China.

The latest law in China is that the Cybersecurity Law that came into effect this June. This law says all overseas companies should accumulate their important data within the country. And this law enables the Government to have an eye over the company’s data and network.

INDIA

India faces 3% of the world’s total cyber-attacks. However, it also has just one strong law to tackle them. The Information Technology Act of 200 and its consequent amendments is that the only legislative law governing cyber threats in India. While the law encompasses various crimes like a violation of privacy, fraud, sending obscene material, kiddie porn, and cyber-terrorism. It lacks on various fronts like cyber bullying, forgery, piracy, etc.  For violation of privacy, the penalty is up to two lakh rupees and imprisonment. In the case of creating and sharing child pornography, a fine of up to ten lakh rupees and imprisonment for five years is imposed. Cyber terrorism amounts to lifelong imprisonment. The laws that India has in place are quite strict, but still, there are plenty of loopholes to cover.

Issue 3:What is the cause for recent development in the field of international cyber law?

Cybercrime tends to be a growing concern to countries that are at all levels of development. As per the statistics, 79% of the countries have cybercrime legislation, 5% of the countries have draft legislation, 13% of the countries have no cybercrime legislation and 2% of the countries have no data across the world. Out of all the countries, only 154 countries have enacted cybercrime legislation. Europe ranks the highest in the adoption rate (93%), whereas Asia and the pacific ranks the lowest (55%). International law classifies cyber law as:

•           cyber- specific offences

•           general offences.

CYBER-SPECIFIC OFFENCES

Any Action which is committed against the secrecy,  integrity, and accessibility of a computer are made as a crime under jurisdiction by using Cyber- specific Offenses

GENERAL OFFENCES

Computer-related acts such as those involving breach of privacy, fraud, forgery, and identity are criminalized using general offenses.

United Nations study on International cybercrimes and how to resolve it under Resolution taken in Economic & social council resolution – It mainly focuses International cooperation in prevention, investigation, criminal misuse, prosecution, and punishments of fraud.

UN has consequently undertaken many measures to tackle cybercrimes like the United Nations office on drugs and crime (UNODC) Global program on cybercrimes and UNODC Cybercrime Repository. Several treaties and International agreements were made on cybercrime.

THE PALERMO CONVENTION

Obligates state parties to enact domestic criminal offenses that target organized criminal groups, and to adopt a new framework for extradition, mutual legal assistance, and Law enforcement cooperation. The treaty provisions are highly relevant to cybercrime, although the treaty explicitly does not address cybercrime.

THE BUDAPEST CONVENTION

In order to reduce computer-related crime, an international agreement was made in a way of harmonizing the national laws. This agreement increases international cooperation and enhances investigative techniques. This convention took place in the presence of 40 state parties. It also had few exceptions for protecting the state’s interest.

States have confusion in international legal efforts when dealing with specific issues. As a result, there is a major gap and absence of cyber security treaties. Although International law is a powerful tool, it has limits to effectiveness. Co-states are vying to shape it to their interest, many challenges are not as novel as they may seem at first (or they are often described).

The United States Chamber of Commerce had launched “The International Cyber Law Project” – a reference tool which helps interested public and private stakeholders to use it and also make them understand about the evolving cyber policy arena”. This tool is a way of increasing knowledge, exchanging best practices, enhancing security trust and cooperation in cyberspace.

Issue 4: In order to tackle the modern cybercrimes, what are the amendments to be made?

DRAWBACKS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES ACT, 2000

Though the act has been very victorious in fixing the structure of regulation in Cyber space, there are very few areas that are consistently raising issues. Experts like cyber lawyers and cyber rights activists are rattling that The Information Technologies Act is not up to the mark in giving punishments or sanctions against criminals who exploit cyberspace. There are very few areas in which the Information technologies act lacks. They are:

  1. Spamming:

It is the process of sending unwanted emails or messages using the messaging system to a massive number of people for commercial purposes like advertising or for any unlawful activities. This type of Cybercrimeis happening in day to day life like getting spam emails or advertisements through messages etc. spamming is not dealt with under the IT act of 2020

2. Identity Theft:

It is an unlawful practice of taking other persons or using another person’s information. It is done for getting loans or for any illegal activities.

This type of cybercrime is very common and repeatedly occurring in the present day. The IT act has not dealt with this issue in detail.

3. Phishing:

Phishing is the process of getting information or data like usernames, credit card details fraudulently by acting as a trustworthy entity through electronic media.  There is no Section under IT act 2000 which looks into the Issue of Phishing. Among all the cybercrimes, phishing attacks are very huge in number and should be looked into account in future days.

SUGGESTIONS RELATED TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES ACT,2000

  • The IT act should look into mobile-related crimes.
  • Major crimes are made bailable in the amendment, which should be taken back. Major offenses should be made a NON BAILABLE offense.
  • The concept of CYBERWAR should be considered in the IT act 2000.
  • The amendment made in 2008 reduced the punishments for major offenses. That should be taken back and vigorous punishments should be imposed on the criminals.
  • Punishments for crimes against women and children should be viewed in detail. And criminals under such crimes should be given severe punishments.
  • CONCLUSION:

In this research paper, we discussed in the detail the role of the Indian judiciary in dealing with the various forms of cybercrimes against women. We also saw the role of the IT act, not only in India but including the other developing countries. We also saw the drawbacks of the IT act, along with it we made a few suggestions to it. It was well known that women aren’t aware of the fact that they are victims of cybercrime when compared to men. This paper also depicted the contemporary developments made in the field of international cybercrime. Furthermore, this paper outlined the necessity of the IT act, cyber laws, various crimes that fall under cybercrime, and finally listed out the punishments to penalize the wrongdoer. Finally, we conclude by suggesting the IT act to look more into the mobile-related crimes, the major offenses should be made non – bailable by imposing them with severe punishments, and awareness must be made to people regarding the existing cyber laws.

REFERENCES:

[1] School of Excellence in Law, Chennai.

[2]Saroj Mehta &Vikram Singh, A study of awareness about cyber laws in the Indian society, International Journal of Computing and Business Research, volume 4, issue 1.

[3]Cassim. F’s Formulating specialized legislation to address the growing specter of cybercrime:  A comparative study, 2009.

[4]A. K. Roy, “Role of cyber law and its usefulness in Indian IT industry,” 2012 1st International Conference on Recent Advances in Information Technology (RAIT), Dhanbad, 2012, pp.

[5]Patel K. (2016) Critical Study and Analysis of Cyber Law Awareness Among the Netizens. In: Satapathy S., Joshi A., Modi N., Pathak N. (eds) Proceedings of International Conference on ICT for Sustainable Development.

[6]RoshmiSarmah, A brief study on Cyber Crime and Cyber Laws of India, International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, volume 4, issue 6.

BILLS:

  • Information Technology Amendment Act 2008

REPORTS:

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • National Crime Records Bureau

STATUTES:

  • Information Technology Act, 2000
  • Information Technology Amendment Act 2008
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
  • National Information Infrastructure Protection Act (NIIA)

CONVENTION:

  • The Palermo convention
  • The Budapest convention