The Cyber Laws in India has paved the way for electronic commerce and electronic governance in the country by ensuring maximum connectivity and minimum cybersecurity risks. Also, enhancing the scope and expanding the use of digital mediums
Riddhi Soral (Legal Advisor)
Riddhi Soral
(Legal Advisor/Cyber Lawyer)

Cyberlaw in India is not a separate legal framework. Its a combination of Contract, Intellectual property, Data protection, and privacy laws. With the Computer and internet taking over every aspect of our life, there was a need for strong cyber law. Cyber laws supervise the digital circulation of information, software, information security, e-commerce, and monetary transactions.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 addresses the gamut of new-age crimes. Computer technology, mobile devices, software, and the internet are both medium and target of such crimes. All Traditional criminal activities are such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation, and mischief are part of cyberspace. These were addressed in the Indian Penal Code already.

Strong cyber Law was needed to address:

Cyber Crimes
Electronic and Digital Signatures
Electronic and Digital Signatures
Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property
Data Protection and Privacy
Data Protection and Privacy

Types of Cyber Crimes

Different types of cybercrimes have different punishments in India.

  1. Identity theft – When personal information of a person is stolen with the purpose of using their financial resources or to take a loan or credit card in their name then such a crime is known as Identity theft.
  2. Cyberterrorism – When a threat of extortion or any kind of harm is being subjected towards a person, organization, group or state, it is known as the crime of Cyber Terrorism. Generally, it includes the well-planned attack strategies on the Government and corporate computer system.
  3. Cyberbullying – When a teenager or adolescent harasses, defames, or intimidates someone with the use of the internet, phone, chat rooms, instant messaging or any other social network then the person is said to be committing the crime of Cyberbullying. When the same crime is done by adults it is known as Cyberstalking.
  4. Hacking – The most common cybercrime is Hacking. In this crime, the attacker gets access to victim’s computers and passwords and misuse it.
  5. Defamation – While every individual has his or her right to speech on internet platforms as well, but if their statements cross a line and harm the reputation of any individual or organization, then they can be charged with the Defamation Law.
  6. Copyright – With the massive surge in internet users, when the data/ information is distributed on all platforms, copyrighting your work aids you to restrict the use of your work. Any use of your copyrighted without your permission is a punishable offence.
  7. Trade Secrets – Internet organization spends a lot of their time and money in developing softwares, applications, and tools and rely on Cyber Laws to protect their data and trade secrets against theft; doing which is a punishable offence.
  8. Freedom of Speech – When it comes to the internet, there is a very thin line between freedom of speech and being a cyber-offender. As freedom of speech enables individuals to speak their mind, cyber law refrains obscenity and crassness over the web.
  9. Harassment and Stalking – Harassment and stalking are prohibited over internet platforms as well. Cyber laws protect the victims and prosecute the offender against this offence.

What is the Information Technology Act, 2000?

When the emphasis was on the need for cyber law or cybersecurity laws, then, it was imperative to implement an IT law in India. Thus, the Information Technology Act, 2000[1], or also known as the Indian Cyber Act or the Internet Law came to force in India. Since the enactment, the Indian Internet Laws were drafted to bring in view all the electronic records and online/electronic activities to legal recognition. The IT Act also addresses the important issues of security, which are critical to the success of electronic transactions. The Internet Laws in India not only validates digital signatures but also provides for how authentication of the documents, which has been accepted and generated by using the digital signatures, can be done.

As IT Act is a cybersecurity law introduced to secure cyberspace, the Information Technology Law was amended under;

  1. the Indian Penal Code
  2. the Indian Evidence Act
  3. the Banker’s Book Evidence Act
  4. the Reserve Bank of India

The prime focus of cyber law in India is to prevent:

  1. computer crime
  2. forgery of electronic data & record in e-commerce
  3. electronic transaction

IT Act, 2000 went through amendments[2]in the year 2008. These were made in light of the laws on cybercrime – IT Act, 2000 by way of the IT Act, 2008. They were enforced at the beginning of 2009 to strengthen the cybersecurity laws. Modifications in the Information Technology Act, 2008 included the change in the definition of some terms such as communication devices. The amendment for the definition of communication device was to include:

  1. the current use
  2. to validate the digital signature
  3. to make the IP address owner accountable
  4. impose liability for data breaches

How to Prevent a Cyber Crime?

No doubt that the cybersecurity laws or cyber laws in India provide protection from cybercrime. However, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, one should take the following steps to prevent any cybercrime:

  1. Unsolicited text message – We all get text messages from an unknown number. One should be cautious and try to avoid responding to text messages or automated voice messages from an unknown number.
  2. Downloads on the mobile phone – Download everything on the mobile phone from a trustworthy source only.
  3. Rating and feedback – Always check for the seller’s rating and feedback of customers for the seller. Be sure that you are checking current feedbacks. Also, beware of feedbacks that are 100% seller favoring or have an entry on the same date.
  4. Personal Information Request – Everyone must have received a call or mail. In which, the person on the other side asks for personal information. This includes your card CVV or an mail containing an attachment, which requires you to click on embedded links. Be sure to never respond to such emails or calls.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Intellectual Property and how it is protected?

Intellectual Property is the set of intangibles that you thought of, like logos, designs, symbols, taglines, books, slogans, product names, literature or businesses, and is legally protected by you or your company against outside use without permission.   There are several cyber laws for the ownership and the right distribution of the Intellectual Property like Copyright, Patents, Trademarks or Service Marks, Trade Secrets, Domain Disputes, Contracts, Privacy, Employment, Defamation, Data Retention, and Jurisdiction.

What are the advantages of Cyber Laws?

  1. Secured E-Commerce Infrastructure for online businesses.
  2. Digitally sign your contracts/ papers
  3. Introduced new businesses for Certifying Authorities
  4. Proficient use of E-Forms as prescribed
  5. Secured websites with Digital Certificates
  6. Meticulous monitoring on the web traffics
  7. Electronic Transactions safeguarded
  8. Emails are a legal form of communication and are approved in the court of law.