Cyber Crime And The Laws: Indian Scenario



This article is written by Mahak Mirani and Shiva Asati students of Govt. New Law College DAVV, Indore


cyber crime

Abstract

Cyber crime is one of the newest forms of crime which can not be deterred completely. With the help of technology, the way of committing crime is increasing day by day. There are many upcoming technologies in the market giving rise to new ways of committing cyber crimes. It is not only about committing crime but also simplification of escaping from such committed crime. Escaping from committed crime is so far easier than committing crime. The criminals who commit cyber crime easily trap people by getting their personal information due to their lack of knowledge or unawareness to access the internet. With the ever growing world, the rate of cyber crime has been increasing and continuing.

Cyber crime

Cyber crime is only an updated and severe version of traditional crime. “Both include the conduct whether act or omission which causes breach of rules of law and counterbalance by the state.”1 It is difficult to define cyber crime because there are different forms of misuse of information- technology.

If the ways of misusing information technology is if substantiated, then new ways can be drawn by the experts. In the narrow sense cyber crime is an illegal behaviour coordinated by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and data processed by them. And in the wider sense we can say it is any illegal behaviour committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network. 

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommended the working definition of cyber crime “computer related crime is considered as any illegal, unethical or unauthorized behaviour relating to the automatic processing and the transmission of data.”2

There are three categories of cyber crime:

  • Crime against person

This category involves an individual distributing malicious or illegal information online. Cyber harassment and stalking, spoofing, identity theft, distribution of child pornography, credit card fraud, human trafficking, and online libel or slander.

  • Crime against property

The hacker steals a person’s bank details to gain access to funds, makes purchases online or runs phishing scams to get the people to give away their information. Some online crimes occur against property, such as a computer or server. These crimes include DDOS attacks, hacking, virus transmission, computer vandalism, and IPR violations.

  • Crime against government

At the point when a cybercrime is perpetrated against the administration, it is viewed as an assault on that country’s power and furthermore known as digital fear mongering.

Reasons for cyber crime

 Crime has always been a social taboo and there are various factors responsible for it. In the absence of any fool proof mechanism to protect and safeguard innocent computer users against cyber criminality, the cyber criminals indulge in criminal activities through networks unabated without any fear of being apprehend and tried for the offence committed by them. Specific reasons behind the cyber crime cannot be given. A few probable reasons for committing cyber crime are as follows3 

  • Capacity to store data in comparatively small space

Lakhs of pages can be stored in a small microprocessor computer chip. This storage capacity has enough space to remove or derive information either through physical or visual medium in a much easier way. Any data stored in ROM will remain ineffective even if the power is turned off, whatever be the type of ROM used. The data stored therein is non-volatile and will remain so indefinitely unless it is intentionally erased or overwritten.

  • Wider access to information

Information dissemination through the World Wide Web has created new resources for faster and cost effective, easy access to information throughout the world. New atmospheres have been facilitated by it regarding downloads, chats, emails, etc. However, wider access to information creates some problems like protecting and guarding any computer system against unauthorized use. The complex manipulations in the technology have aided the access to penetrate  and not due to human error  .

  • Negligence of network users

Negligence is firmly identified with human conduct, It is in this way very likely that while protecting the computer system there might be any lapse or negligence on the part of the owner, this user may provide an opportunity for the cyber criminal to gain unauthorized or illegal access or control over the computers. Interaction with the cross-section (a cross-section of an internet site might show a representative page of content at each of its hierarchical levels) of computer users has shown that in their anxiety to put the computer software into standard activity. Cyber criminals get to intrude and steal after or erase substantial data because they allow the access control and security measures.

  • Loss of evidence

Web provides anonymity to the cyber criminals which helps him to indulge in criminal activity without leaving any evidence and even if some evidence is left it is not adequate to convince the police that a criminal case can be filed against the perpetrator.

  • Jurisdictional uncertainty

Cyber crimes cut across territorial borders which undermine the feasibility and legitimacy of applying domestic laws which are normally based on geographical or territorial jurisdiction, Cyber crimes are committed through cyberspace network interconnectivity and therefore, they do not recognize geographical limitations because of their transnational nature. In the absence of a single internationally recognized code of law and procedure governing cyber crimes, the law enforcing authorities of individual countries find it extremely difficult to tackle cyber crimes and criminals while applying their territorial law.

Cyber Laws in India

The  law governing cyberspace is known as Cyber law. The scope of cyber space is wide and it includes computers, networks, software, data storage devices (such as hard disks, USB disks etc), the Internet, websites, emails and even electronic devices.

As the use of the internet is growing gradually, cyber crimes are increasing too. To Prevent the cyber crimes the Law industry enacted many laws in India which are as mentioned;

  1. Information Technology Act 2000: The information technology act 2000 is a primary source of Cyber Law in India. The IT act came into force on 17th October 2008 to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate the filing of electronic records with the government. It also aimed to regulate the e-business. The IT Act also deals with the punishment for various Cyber crimes and also penalizes  the cybercrime. The IT amendment Act includes the following sections mentioned below-
    1. Section 66A: punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service.
    2. Section 66C: punishment for identity theft.
    3. Section 66D: punishment for cheating by personation by using computer science.
    4. Section 66E: Punishment for violation of privacy.
  2. IT amendment Act 2008: There were many technical issues in the IT Act 2000 and thus amendment act of 2008 was enacted so that IT laws can work smoothly. The amendment not only provided proper and smooth execution but also brought many modifications in the IT Act 2000.
  3. Cyber Crime under IPC:  Indian Penal Code is the complete criminal code in India which 

Manages all the offences, it managing all kinds of offences, though the concept of crime is new and technical, but the Indian Penal Code is still effective and covering a wide range of crimes. Therefore this traditional criminal law is sufficient to deal with all kinds of crimes, whether this cyber crime or any other crime.

  1. sending threatening messages by email (sec. 503)
  2. Sending defamatory message by email (Sec.499,500)
  3. Forgery of electronic records (Sec 463, 470,471)
  4. Cyber frauds (sec.420)
  5. Web  Jacking (sec 383)
  6. Pornography (sec 292) 

4. Stored communications Act 1986: The Act was enacted to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic communication that are currently in the form of electronic storage. This act regulates how the government accesses stored account information from entities like internet service providers. Internet service providers are the host of web pages and store unusable information for the investigators

Case laws

  1. Shreya Singhal vs Union of India4 is a landmark case that plays a very important role in the Indian legal system. Under this case, the constitutional validity of section 66A of IT Act, 2000  was challenged on the ground of fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India, 1950 and the section 66A was struck down. Section 66A provides for the punishment for sending offensive messages.
  2. NASSCOM VS. Ajay Sood and ors5. : It is a landmark case delivered by Delhi High Court. The court held ‘phishing’ (pretending to be a legitimate association) to be an illegal act. The court passed an ex- parte ad- interim injunction and restrained the defendant from using a trade name similar to that of NASSCOM.
  3. B.N. Frios vs State of Kerala6: In this case was declared the F.R.I.E.N.D.S application programming went about as an ensured programming. The creator of the application, challenge to the notification and the constitutionality of software under section 70 of information technology Act 2000. The court upheld the validity of both that tampering with source code are punishable with 3 years imprisonment or fine of rupees 200000 for altering, concealing and destroying the source code.
  4. Air Force Bal Bharati School, Delhi case (2001): In this case a student was teased by his classmates for having a pockmarked face. Tired with all these he set up a website with obscene material and scanned pictures of his classmates and faculty members. He transformed them with nude photographs of them on websites that he uploaded on a free web hosting service. A case was registered under section 67 of information technology Act 2000 and police traced the concerned student and kept him in a juvenile home. Subsequently, he was granted bail after a week

Conclusion and suggestion

Every coin has two faces. In the same way, new technologies have its pros and cons. There is an immediate need to curb these crimes. It’s like tit for tat sort of circumstances where the technology can be controlled only by a comprehension of the technology7. Apart from this, there are many ways from which we can prevent ourselves from these crimesby not allowing access on unknown links, specially the links containing http, to make sure whether the link has virus or not you can go and paste the link on the virus total website. One should attend awareness camps, and must not share OTP, card details and personal information with anyone.


Footnotes

  1. Dr. Mrs. K. Sita Manikyam, cyber crime- law & policy perspectives, 40 (Hind law house, Pune 2009)
  2. Suresh T. Vishwanathan, The criminal Aspect in Cyber Law in The Indian Cyber Law, 7 (Bharat Law House, Jaipur 2001)
  3. Pati parthasarathi, cyber crime- Naavi.org, Cyber crime, http://www.naavi.org/pati/pati_cybercrimes_dec03.htm
  4. writ petition number 167 of 2012
  5. 119 (2005) DLT 596
  6. CIVIL APPEAL NO. 79 OF 2008
  7. An interview was being conducted of Mr Sagar Patil working as Cyber Security Engineer in Ellie Mae Pune,

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Mahak mirani

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