Impact of the internet on due Process of law in the 21st Century: An introduction to Cyberlaw

INTRODUCTION

  “The internet is becoming a town square for the global village of tomorrow” a quote by Bill Gates in the early 2000s, really has proved to be the truth of today. The Internet has come a long way from being used by a handful of the rich upper section of the society for special purposes to almost being used by anyone today. As time is evolving the use of the internet thus extended a lot – from being used by Educational Research Network (ERNET) in 1986 in India to being almost used by anything nowadays. As the usage of the internet has rapidly increased from the early 2000s till now, the need for a law concerning the governance of the Internet has increased as well.  Here the use of Cyberlaw comes to light. Cyberlaw or in other words the “Internet law” is a law which has related to the internet’s technological and electronic components mostly hardware systems, computers, software, etc .As the increase in internet traffic has been seen growing exponentially in this millennium the proportion of legal issues has too increased. Therefore to curb all these problems fixed legislation was therefore needed to regulate the entire internet world. 

CONCEPT OF CYBERCRIME

 The concept of Cybercrime comes into light when we are discussing Cyberlaw. Cyberlaw generally focuses on reducing the large-scale cybercriminal activities that have recently grown in past few years. Topics like intellectual property (IP), information access, privacy, and use of the internet for free speech are serious topics that concerned the formulation of Cyberlaw. As factors like these have high chances of infringement, breach, and violation. Therefore Cyberlaw acts as a barrier by protecting against all these violations on such sensitive grounds. The concept of cyber law can be thus broadened to Cyber Space. Cyberspace can be thus defined as a very wide term that includes almost everything within the framework of the internet. Anything starting from a computer network, and storage devices to the internet, emails, and website comes into the ambit of cyber law.

CYBERLAW INGRID LAWS IN RELATION WITH :

– Cyber Crime

– Electronic and digital signatures

– Intellectual Property

– Data Protection and Privacy

CYBER CRIME

Cybercrime can be referred to as any crime which uses a computer or network where the computer or the network is used as a weapon. Cybercrime ranges from a huge variety starting from cloning or duplicating credit cards or debits cards to extort money out of it to steal personal information from an id, sensitive information about the person to are stolen, knowing about the whereabouts, certain behavioural traits of a person is followed too, dealings in Dark Web are also few of the field cyber criminal activities are rampant. Under the Information and Technology, Act (IT Act) the Indian Penal Code cybercrime activities are covered. The Act acts as a safeguard (barrier) for e-governance, e-banking, and e-commercial activities and transactions The IT Act,2000, which came into being on October 17, 2000 deals with cybercrime and electronic commerce. However, the IT act was later amended in 2008. This act defines cybercrime and its terms of punishment.

Sections under IT Act in which cybercrime can be registered are :

SECTION

  1. Section 65: If the source document has been tampered with. Three years of imprisonment is awarded and a fine of up to 2 lakhs.
  2. Section 66: Unauthorised usage of the network and using a computer to hack. Punishment up to 3 years and fine up to 5 lakhs. There are multiple subsections like 66C, 66D, 66E, and 66F under which offenses similarly are booked.
  3. Section 67:If obscene information is published in electronic form. Five (5) years of imprisonment is awarded and a fine of up to 10lakhs 
  4. Section 379: Crimes of theft of gadgets like mobile phones and computers. Punishment of up to 3 years and/or fine
  5. Section 420: Property delivered with cheating or dishonesty like creating a bogus website. Punishment of up to 7 years of jail and/or fine
  6. Section 463: Making of a false document or false electronic records. Punishment up to 7 years or fine.
  7. Section 468: Cheating people by committing forgery. Punishment of up to 7 years and/or fine

Electronic and digital signatures

Electronic and digital signatures are the most secure authentication process through which documents can be protected. This technology is extremely efficient in handling sensitive information thus preventing cybercrime.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to anything which has been created through the human mind. Intellectual property can range from anything starting from music composition to design and even painting. Cyberlaw is therefore very important in this realm of field, however, it is seen that cybercriminal activities are quite rampant.

CYBER CRIME IN INDIA

Internet usage in our country is increasing in leaps and bounds. However, it is also seen that cybercrime rates are too increasing which are mostly targeting individuals, businesses, and even the government through cyber-terrorism activities. According to Census, India reports an annual increase of 40 percent in cybercriminal activities. According to the government census, hacking, phishing, credit card, and banking fraud have increased by 40 percent in the country in the past two years pre covid. A proper cybercrime prevention strategy still does not exist in India. The cyber forensic trends of India in the year 2014 showed that we are still incapable of dealing with the cyber forensic issue and still lack a better law enforcement technology. As a result, cybercrimes increased in India. The formulation of National Cyber Security Policy was formulated in the year 2013, and India before that lacked a cyber security policy. 

 OBJECTIVES OF THE CYBER SECURITY POLICY ARE:

 1) The objective is to create an ecosystem that provides security in the country, and helps in gaining more trust and confidence as well in the IT system. this will therefore encourage more transactions in cyberspace and enhance the adoption of IT in various sectors of the economy. 

2) The objective was to build a guaranteed framework for the calculation of policies for security and promotion thus enabling actions for compliance to the standards of global security and best practices by the ways of assessment of conformity via product, technology, process, and people 

 3) The objective is that the regulatory framework should be strengthened so that there can be a secure cyberspace ecosystem.

4)The objective is to the creation of a National and Sectoral level, round the clock (24×7), a process for receiving information based on strategy, regarding crisis management, creation of scenarios for response and threats to ICT infrastructure through preventive and protective(as well as in some cases predictive) response and recovery system.

 5) The objective is to increase the protection by operating all round the clock (24×7) National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC). To also make it a compulsory security practice in relation to the acquisition, development, design, and operation of information resources, etc

CYBER CELL WORKING IN INDIA

Cybercrime cells in India can track cyber criminal activities and help to tackle them to a huge extent. The cybercriminal cells are the brainchild of the criminal investigation in many metropolitan cities and it is even found that they have a special branch in big cities just to tackle cyber criminal activities. The Information and Technology Act 2000 governs the offenders who are booked under cyber criminal activities and therefore given punishment and sentences accordingly. The Crime Investigation Bureau (CBI) has special unites and structures to combat cybercriminal activities.

  1. Network Monitoring Centre
  2. Cyber Forensic Laboratory
  3. Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC)
  1. Cyber Crime Research and Development Unit ( CCRDU)

These special divisions under CBI generally are given the task to handle cybercriminal activities in which threats are at a grade level. However, the Information and Technology Act of 2000 gives power to any police officer, except the rank below deputy superintendent of police to investigate.

CASE LAWS

Shreya Singal Vs UOI AIR 2015 SC 1523

The Case where two women were arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act, alleged to have posted objectionable comments on Facebook regarding the complete shutdown of Mumbai after the demise of a political leader. However, Section 66Aof IT Act states that whoever by using a computer resource or communication provides information that is false, causes inconvenience, is offensive in nature, annoying, dangerous, insulting,  causes injury, or ill will, be punished with imprisonment. The women filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 66A of the IT Act on the grounds that it violates the freedom of speech and expression. The court decided to strike off 66A for its ambiguity and violative of the right to freedom of speech and it takes within its range the speech that is innocent in nature too, however, the provisions of the IPC 1860 will still be applicably prohibiting the racist and vulgar speech.

Shamsher Singh Verma Vs State of Haryana 2015 SCC SC 1242

In this case, whether a disk requires a personal admission or denial from the complainant or witness regarding a document under Section 294 (1) of CrPC was questioned. The Supreme Court came to the judgement that a compact disk is likewise a document that is admissible and that the complainant, other witness or even the accused does not need to personally admit or deny a document under Section 294 (1) OF the CrPC. 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we can say that due to increased usage of the internet in this decade, the purpose of the internet to has widened, starting from internet banking to using digital money to share KYC and other personal information through the internet, the ambit of the internet usage has grown exponentially to almost everything. As a result, this lucrative information, money, and other things attract anti-social activities be it from cyber frauding money to even cyber terrorism against the government. Therefore the government has to regulate these activities and widen the laws with much strict conviction rate to curb these. However it is seen that the government too is catching up with the cyber legal processes and soon we might find it’s at par with the cyber legal requirement of the present time and hopefully will result to a low rate of cybercrime and another internet malicious related activities.

Author(s) Name: Abhishek Mukherjee (University Of Calcutta)