By Jasraj Singh Bhatia
Cybercrime is crime which occurs when there is any kind of illegal or unauthorised activity which takes access of your data or access which involves any kind of computer or any such kind of devices. In recent times, there has been a rapid increase in cybercrime all over the world. Cybercrimes also include fraud, abuse, as well as the misuse of devices[i]. As in these times, the internet is being used in almost all the sectors for all kind of work and with this usage in every field it has given a vast scope to the cyber criminals to use any kind of data be it in the field of sports or some personal information of the people. The main aspect of this cybercrime is that they don’t even have to be physically present to commit the crime.
As there is rapid increase in both technology and internet there are many advantages as well disadvantages for the same. Basically, the disadvantages are used by the people who found the loopholes in the system for committing such kind of illegal activity which is basically known as Cybercrime.
The growth of technology and internet have rapidly increased cybercrime and it is becoming a major issue in India. The virtual world of internet is known as cyberspace and the laws which are governing these areas are known as cyber laws. Cyber laws also described as the branch of laws that deals with all the legal issues related to inter networked information technology. We can say that this are the laws which govern computers and the internet[ii].
Cyber laws are important because it deals with all the issues relating to the internet, Cyber space and the web which is being used worldwide. Every kind of activity in the cyberspace has some legal perspective. Cyber law consists laws which deals with the cybercrimes, electronic signatures, Intellectual property rights, data protection and the privacy.
History of Cybercrime in India
The innovation of the technology like computer which have helped human to make their work easy on the other side has affected the privacy and life of the people. In the 1990s, we have seen internet as the fastest medium ever in the world. In 1992, India saw its first case of cybercrime because of polymorphic virus. Polymorphic virus was the virus which affected the data and functions. It was the type of virus which was designed in such a way that it should not be detected by any kind of scanner. The first case which was registered in India was in 1992, Yahoo vs. Akash Arora. Akash Arora was alleged to utilize the trademark or the name of the domain which was yahooindia.com in which permanent injunction was sought in the case[iii].
Rise of Cybercrime in India
In this modern era the rate of cybercrime is increasing rapidly. It is predicted by the researchers that in the year of 2022 cybercrime rate will be at the highest of all the time. It has been seen that around the world 80% business security has been affected by the cybercrime [iv]. It is mainly increasing because the higher authorities have limited capabilities on tracing this cybercrime because it is performed on using the virtual world. In general, these types of attacks are performed by some random software from which tracing the activity of these crime become difficult for the authorities. Let us see the data of the cybercrimes. According to the National crime records Bureau, around a total of 289,422 and 960 cases were registered under the Information Technology act in the year 2000. Total number of 328,176,356 cases were registered under cybercrime related law under the Indian Penal Code act in 2006,2007, and 2008 respectively. A total of 1419 person were arrested because of cybercrime in the year 2007-2010 respectively. Compared to the rate of 2007, 2008 and 2010 respectively, India saw urge in the cases of cybercrimes where around 1700 cases got registered in the year 2011 alone. If we see the state wise data were around 85% of the cases registered in India around 19% case were from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh respectively[v]. These cybercrimes have led to forgery, criminal breach of trust. The age groups of the persons committing this crime is mainly from 18-30. Around 45% of these crimes have been committed by these age group.
The cases of the cybercrime have rapidly increased in India since then and if see the data of 2019 around 45000 cases of the cybercrime have registered. These are only the cases which have been registered. There are almost dozens of other cases of cybercrimes which have not been registered yet. The 2019 data shows that there is massive growth in cybercrime and these mainly includes the debit and credit card fraud. As most of the people don’t know about the OTP the attackers have used these tricks to call the persons with some reasons and took the OTP of the bank account.
Cyberlaw in India
Cyberlaw plays an important role in this era of technology. The founders of the internet or the technology would never have been thought this will be used in any kind of criminal activities. As we know that there are many disturbing things happening all over the internet, so we need proper law to deal with this. In India, Information technology act have contained the cyber laws which came in the year 2000. The main aim of the act was to afford legal recognition of the electronic records of the government. There are certain rules and regulations under cyber law which also deals with Security procedure, certifying authorities and security procedures.
Need for Cyberlaw in India
In today’s world, internet is being used as a multifunctional tool which is needed in all the sectors. Since, the users have increased it has given rise to cyberattacks. So, all the issues which are related with internet crime are being dealt with in cyber laws. As we know that we have a proper comprehensive legal system in India which have laws related with the Constitution of India, Indian Penal Code, Indian evidence act and many more laws. Nobody has ever been thought that in future we will be needing laws related with internet and technology.
The existing law in India which were dealing with the Cyber space cannot interpret all the different aspects of the cyberspace. As it is so vast that proper laws are being needed to deal with all the aspects. Hence there is the need of relevant cyber laws in India. If we notice we will get to know that none of the laws are giving any kind of legal validity to the activities of the cyberspace. Let us understand this by example that, we know that almost majority of the population of India use email. As of now email is not legalise in our country. There is absolutely no law which gives a legal validity to use emails. Internet need law which can be supportive so that there can be proper legal infrastructure for the same. This type of legal infrastructure can only be given where there will be appropriate cyber laws in the country as the laws which are there have failed to grant the same infrastructure.
All these can be conceivable if there will be appropriate laws for cyberspace. This will create an encouraging atmosphere in the country.
Information Technology Act, 2000
Information Technology Act, 2000 is the act which regulates the use of computers, its data and the others network which are in the electronic format. This act has different provisions which pertain to dealt with the e-signatures, cybercrime and give accountability to the providers of the services.
The IT act, itself states that it provides a legal gratitude to the transactions which are being carried out by using the electronic means be it data interchange or any other means of electronic commerce. Basically, we can say that instead of using the pen and paper method to store data or any other information, electronic method is being used to store any kind of data. For Example- In all the Hon’ble courts of India, electronic method is being used nowadays.
The amendment for this act was passed on 22nd December 2008. It received the acceptance of the President on February 5th 2009. It came into effect from 27/10/2009. As the IT industry was growing the act promoted it to regulated e commerce and prevent it from cyber attackers and crime. The amendment was done to dealt with issues which were not covered in the original bill.
Features of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008-
- New section was added to define the term cybercafé where the facility of accessing internet will be offered by any person who is in the ordinary course of the business.
- A section was added to define the term ‘Communication Device’ which includes cell phone or any other personal devices which are used for communication, audio or video purposes.
- Earlier in the Information Technology act, 2000 under Section 43 the prescribed damages for damaging computer or computer devices were Rs. One Crore. This has been deleted and the parts of the section was replaced by the words that – He shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.
- New definition was added for intermediary.
Indian Penal Code, 1980
Information Technology Act, 2000 and Indian Penal Code, 1980 both the acts accuse identity theft and the cyber offences. The relevant sections in IPC which deals with cyber frauds-
- Forgery (Section 464)[vi]
- False Documentation (Section 465) [vii]
- Forgery for Purpose of cheating (Section 468)[viii]
- Forgery for Purpose of Harming Reputation (Section 469)[ix]
- Presenting a forged Document (Section 471)
Companies Act of 2013
The corporate sector in India refers to the Companies Act as a legal necessity for their daily transactions. This act has all the required techno-legal compliances.
The act has given power in the hands of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to punish Indian companies and the directors of the company. Also, Investment, Companies Inspection, Inquiry rules comes under them under the 2014 notification. Serious Fraud Investigation Office is more diligent and tougher in this regard[x].
This act guarantees that all the regulatory compliances are well covered, which includes cyber forensics, e-discovery and cybersecurity diligence. The act has guild lines for cybersecurity and the responsibilities of the company and its directors.
Future of cyberlaws
As we know that cyber activities are growing from time to time so as the cyber laws are developing around the globe. All the countries all over the world are recognising that their laws must be consistent and it should be applied in good way. In the Hon’ble courts cyber laws must have to developed. The courts must have to adopt a cyber-jurisprudence that will be in line with our constitution[xi].
We are in the year 2022, Technology and Cyber space is rapidly growing and with the trend of advancement in the cyber space we have to come with laws which will deal with the challenges of Cyberspace. As we know that from this advancement the biggest threat to the society is network attacks and cyber-attacks. To deal with these proper laws should be made because the future of cyber law will be in forward direction only. As from the growth of Artificial Intelligence and various new technologies we can say that the future will be very much dependable in cyber space.
As from the growth we can say that, Data security attacks and its vulnerabilities will be expected to rise sharply. It will be a challenge for the policy makers to make effective legal provisions to not only to save it from cyberattacks but to also secure and to help the users to understand the cyberspace. As per now many cyber laws of different countries still fail for addressing the critical cyber security challenges.
-Jasraj Singh Bhatia is a BA LLB student of Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur
[i] (2022, February 18) Role of cyber security in India. The Daily Guardian.
[ii] (2012, October 10) Overview of cyber laws. Taxguru.in – https://taxguru.in/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/cyber-laws-overview.pdf
[iii] (2019, October 29) Critical analysis of Cybercrime. Blog pleaders- https://blog.ipleaders.in/critical-analysis-cybercrime-india/
[iv] (2022, March 1) Rise of Cybercrime- Overview. Security Boulevard- https://securityboulevard.com/2022/03/the-rise-of-cybercrime-an-overview/#:~:text=Cybercrimes%20are%20more%20rampant%20in,businesses%20throughout%20the%20world%20today.
[v](2021, May) Cyber crimes in India. Research gate- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351902133_CYBER_CRIMES_IN_INDIA_TRENDS_AND_PREVENTION
[vi](2022) Law and Cybercrime in India. Legal Service India-
[vii](2022) Law and Cybercrime in India. Legal Service India-
[viii](2022) Law and Cybercrime in India. Legal Service India-
[ix](2022) Law and Cybercrime in India. Legal Service India-https://legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-6911-law-and-cyber-crimes.
[xi](2021, May) Cybercrimes in India. Research gate- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351902133_CYBER_CRIMES_IN_INDIA_TRENDS_AND_PREVENTION