By Shreya Deb:-
Since the dawn of the technological era, India has witnessed a rapid evolution in Cybercrime. But what is Cybercrime, and should we be concerned about it? Cybercrime is a broad term, and includes any unlawful acts or criminal activities in which computer, networked device or a network is used either as a tool or a target or both. It can be range from online scams to cyber terrorism.
Therefore, every Internet user should be concerned about cybercrime since Internet is used in almost every sphere, today, and has become a part of our day-to-day life.
Cyber Laws in India: The Internet is anonymous in nature, and hence it became a platform for criminals with perspicacious mind to carry out criminal activities in cyberspace.
In order to curb the menace, cyber laws has been enacted in India. The Information Technology Act, 2000 The Information Technology Act, 2000 is a comprehensive law, which specifically deals with technology with reference to e-commerce, e-banking and e-governance.
The core objective of enacting IT Act, 2000 was to fabricate an enabling circumambience for efficient Internet usage. It also lays down penal provision for cybercrime. The cybercrimes under this act are:
Section 65 – concentrates on tampering with computer source documents. Under this provision, if anyone knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer system or computer network shall be punished with imprisonment, or fine or both.
Section 66 – prescribes punishment for any individual who dishonestly or fraudulently commits any computer related offences, with imprisonment, or fine or both.
Section 66B – provides that any person dishonestly receiving or retaining any stolen computer resource or communication device, shall be punished with imprisonment or with fine or both.
Section 66C – states that any person committing the crime of identity theft, by fraudulently or dishonestly making use of electronic signatures, passwords or any other unique identification features of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment and also with fine.
Section 66D – provides that any person cheating by personation through any communication device or computer resource, shall be punished with imprisonment and also with fine.
Section 66E – states that any person violating the privacy of another person, by intentionally or knowingly, capturing, publishing or transmitting the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment or with fine or both.
Section 66F – provides that any person committing the most serious form of cybercrime i.e. cyber terrorism. It involves committing or attempting to commit any cybercrime against the Govt and shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life.
Section 67 – prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, with imprisonment and fine.
Section 67A – prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material, in electronic form, with imprisonment and fine.
Section 67B – prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material, concerning children, in electronic form, with imprisonment and fine.
Section 67C – deals with preservation and retention of information by intermediaries. Any disruption or blockage of information by intermediaries is punishable by imprisonment and fine.
Section 70 – copes with protected system and penalizes any unauthorised access to protected system, with imprisonment and fine.
Section 71 – lays down penalty for suppression or misrepresentation of data from the Controller or the Certifying Authority for obtaining any licence or Certificate, with imprisonment or fine or both.
Section 72 – covers breach of confidentiality and privacy. It provides that any person who has secured access to any book, electronic record, information, register, document, correspondence or other material of another person without his/her consent, and publicizes such information, shall be punished with imprisonment or fine or both.
Section 73 – lays down punishment for publishing false digital signature certificates, with imprisonment or fine or both.
The Indian Penal Code, 1860: IPC was amended to bring cybercrimes under its purview and include crimes such as stalking, fraud, online defamation, forgery etc.
Section 354D – penalizes the offence of stalking, and includes cyber stalking. So, if a man monitors a woman over the internet, contact the woman through email or chatbots or any other form of electronic communication, to foster personal interaction, repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman, it amounts to cyberstalking. Such an offence is punishable with both imprisonment and fine.
Section 378 – concentrates on theft of movable property and applies to theft of online data, electronic records etc. and is punishable with imprisonment or fine or both.
Section 411 – prescribes punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen property. Here, the term property would also include any computer resource or communication device.This provision is almost identical to section 66B of the IT Act, 2000.
Section 419 – prescribes punishment for cheating by personation with imprisonment or fine or with both. It is identical to section 66D of the IT Act, 2000.
Section 420 – penalises cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, with both imprisonment and fine. It seeks to provide remedy for crimes such as phishing, cyber frauds etc.
Section 424 – penalises dishonest or fraudulent removal or concealment of property, with imprisonment or fine or with both.It applies to cybercrimes such as data theft.
Section 425 – deals with mischief and includes cybercrimes such as denying access to a computer system, damaging computer systems etc. It is punishable with imprisonment or fine or with both.
Section 463 – covers forgery and includes forgery of electronic records, e-mail spoofing.
Section 499 – copes with defamation and penalises any publication of online defamatory content with imprisonment or fine or with both.
Section 503 – concentrates on criminal intimidation and includes cybercrimes such as cyber bullying. We must understand that our every action and reaction over the Internet has some cyber legal perspectives, and hence be careful with our actions in cyberspace.