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Let’s Cure Digital Virus

In today’s techno-savvy environment the world is becoming more dependent on the internet. The internet and computers are taking over every aspect of our life. Due to an increase in dependency the crimes also shoot up and there was a requirement of strong cyber laws in the country. Crimes done with help of computer and telecommunication technologies are known as cybercrimes. It was also important for the legislature to bring such a law into force so as to protect the data and privacy of the citizens of the country.


Cyberlaw

Cyberlaw in India is not a separate legal framework but is a combination of Contracts, Intellectual property, Data protection, and privacy laws.


Cyberlaw is the law governing computers and the internet. They deal with legal issues related to using of inter-networked information technology. Cyber laws supervise the digital circulation of information, software, information security, e-commerce, and monetary transactions. The computer-generated world of the internet is known as cyberspace. It includes computers, software, networks, and data storage devices. It is important because it touches almost every aspect of activities involving on internet, the World Wide Web, and cyberspace.


Need for Cyberlaw

Due to the benefits given by the computers and the internet in easing the work of the people, almost every sector of the economy had access to it. As it is rightly said every rose has its thorn. Similarly, the more use of this technology resulted in an increasing number of crimes. Initially, the internet was developed as a research and information sharing tool. But now it is a medium for crimes. In today’s highly digitalized world, almost everybody is affected by cybercrime. Cybercrime is not defined under the Act. For example- All transactions in shares are in Demat accounts. The people have shifted to a cashless economy and all the information for debit and credit cards and bank account details are stored in the phones.


Since all of the information is available at fingertips, cybercrimes such as online banking and credit card frauds, hacking are becoming common. To give legal effect to such activities, the Indian legislature passed the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act).

The Objective of the Information Technology Act is as follows:

  • To provide legal recognition for all e-transactions

  • To give legal recognition to digital signatures as a valid signature to accept agreements online

  • To give legal recognition to keeping accounting books in electronic form by bankers as well as other organizations

  • Protection of online privacy

Cyberlaw in India

The rise of the 21st century marked the evolution of Cyberlaw in India with the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act). The Act provides a legal framework for electronic governance by giving recognition to electronic records and digital signatures.


The original Act contained 94 sections, divided into 13 chapters and 4 schedules. The laws apply to the whole of India. But a major amendment was made in 2008 and included the change in the definition of some terms such as communication devices. It introduced Section 66A which penalized sending "offensive messages". It also introduced Section 69, which gave authorities the power of "interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource. Additionally, it introduced provisions addressing - pornographychild porncyber terrorism, and voyeurism. After the amendment in the act, the penalties of the offence were shifted from civil nature to criminal nature. Chapter XI having sections 65-78 of the act deals with the offences. The penalties for the offences were either imprisonment or fine or both.

The main aim of the IT Act is to prevent computer crime, forgery of electronic data, and e-commerce.


Since the Act got amended and the penalties shifted to criminal nature. There were certain acts that got amended as well. Such acts are:


1. Indian Penal Code, 1860

The word “electronic” was inserted treating electronic documents and records on par with physical documents and records. The sections were 194, 204,463,464, 468 to 470, 471 etc.


2. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Earlier, all evidence in a court was in the physical form only. After the amendment in the IT Act, the electronic records and documents were recognized. The amendment gave recognition of the admissibility of electronic records as evidence as enshrined in Section 65B of the Act.


Conclusion

Society nowadays is making itself dependent on technology and crime is bound to happen. Crime free society is a myth and an illusion. However, prevention is better than cure. One should take the following steps for preventing cybercrime. The person should download content from known sites and should avoid responding to text messages from unknown numbers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bhoomika Khaneja a 3rd-year student at Ideal Institute of Management and Technology and School of law (IP University).

They can be contacted at bhoomika.khaneja@gmail.com

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