Cyber Law & IT Act Overview

Cyber Law also called IT Law is the law regarding Information-technology including computers and internet. It is related to legal informatics and supervises the digital circulation of information, software, information security and e-commerce.

IT law does not consist a separate area of law rather it encloses aspects of contract, intellectual property, privacy and data protection laws. Intellectual property is a key element of IT law. The area of software licence is controversial and still evolving in Europe and elsewhere.

According to Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, Government of India :

Cyber Laws yields legal recognition to electronic documents and a structure to support e-filing and e-commerce transactions and also provides a legal structure to reduce, check cyber crimes.

Importance of Cyber Law:

  1. It covers all transaction over internet.
  2. Keeps eyes on all activities over internet.
  3. It touches every action and every reaction in cyberspace.

Area of Cyber Law:
Cyber laws contain different types of purposes. Some laws create rules for how individuals and companies may use computers and the internet while some laws protect people from becoming the victims of crime through unscrupulous activities on the internet.

The major areas of cyber law include:

  1. Fraud:
    Consumers depend on cyber laws to protect them from online fraud. Laws are made to prevent identity theft, credit card theft and other financial crimes that happen online. A person who commits identity theft may face confederate or state criminal charges. They might also encounter a civil action brought by a victim. Cyber lawyers work to both defend and prosecute against allegations of fraud using the internet.
  2. Copyright:
    The internet has made copyright violations easier. In early days of online communication, copyright violations was too easy. Both companies and individuals need lawyers to bring actions to impose copyright protections. Copyright violation is an area of cyber law that protects the rights of individuals and companies to profit from their own creative works.
  3. Defamation:
    Several personnel use the internet to speak their mind. When people use the internet to say things that are not true, it can cross the line into defamation. Defamation laws are civil laws that save individuals from fake public statements that can harm a business or someone’s personal reputation. When people use the internet to make statements that violate civil laws, that is called Defamation law.
  4. Harassment and Stalking:
    Sometimes online statements can violate criminal laws that forbid harassment and stalking. When a person makes threatening statements again and again about someone else online, there is violation of both civil and criminal laws. Cyber lawyers both prosecute and defend people when stalking occurs using the internet and other forms of electronic communication.
  5. Freedom of Speech:
    Freedom of speech is an important area of cyber law. Even though cyber laws forbid certain behaviors online, freedom of speech laws also allow people to speak their minds. Cyber lawyers must advise their clients on the limits of free speech including laws that prohibit obscenity. Cyber lawyers may also defend their clients when there is a debate about whether their actions consist of permissible free speech.
  6. Trade Secrets:
    Companies doing businesses online often depend on cyber laws to protect their trade secrets. For example, Google and other online search engines spend lots of time developing the algorithms that produce search results. They also spend a great deal of time developing other features like maps, intelligent assistance and flight search services to name a few. Cyber laws help these companies to take legal action as necessary in order to protect their trade secrets.
  7. Contracts and Employment Law:
    Every time you click a button that says you agree to the terms and conditions of using a website, you have used cyber law. There are terms and conditions for every website that are somehow related to privacy concerns.

Cyberspace

Cyberspace can be defined as an intricate environment that involves interactions between people, software, and services. It is maintained by the worldwide distribution of information and communication technology devices and networks.

With the benefits carried by the technological advancements, the cyberspace today has become a common pool used by citizens, businesses, critical information infrastructure, military and governments in a fashion that makes it hard to induce clear boundaries among these different groups. The cyberspace is anticipated to become even more complex in the upcoming years, with the increase in networks and devices connected to it.

Cyber security

Cybersecurity denotes the technologies and procedures intended to safeguard computers, networks, and data from unlawful admittance, weaknesses, and attacks transported through the Internet by cyber delinquents.

ISO 27001 (ISO27001) is the international Cybersecurity Standard that delivers a model for creating, applying, functioning, monitoring, reviewing, preserving, and improving an Information Security Management System.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology under the government of India provides a strategy outline called the National Cybersecurity Policy. The purpose of this government body is to protect the public and private infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity Policy

The cybersecurity policy is a developing mission that caters to the entire field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) users and providers. It includes −

  • Home users
  • Small, medium, and large Enterprises
  • Government and non-government entities

It serves as an authority framework that defines and guides the activities associated with the security of cyberspace. It allows all sectors and organizations in designing suitable cybersecurity policies to meet their requirements. The policy provides an outline to effectively protect information, information systems and networks.

It gives an understanding into the Government’s approach and strategy for security of cyber space in the country. It also sketches some pointers to allow collaborative working across the public and private sectors to safeguard information and information systems. Therefore, the aim of this policy is to create a cybersecurity framework, which leads to detailed actions and programs to increase the security carriage of cyberspace.

Cyber Crime

The Information Technology Act 2000 or any legislation in the Country does not describe or mention the term Cyber Crime. It can be globally considered as the gloomier face of technology. The only difference between a traditional crime and a cyber-crime is that the cyber-crime involves in a crime related to computers. Let us see the following example to understand it better −

Traditional Theft − A thief breaks into Ram’s house and steals an object kept in the house.

Hacking − A Cyber Criminal/Hacker sitting in his own house, through his computer, hacks the computer of Ram and steals the data saved in Ram’s computer without physically touching the computer or entering in Ram’s house.

The I.T. Act, 2000 defines the terms −

  • access in computer network in section 2(a)
  • computer in section 2(i)
  • computer network in section (2j)
  • data in section 2(0)
  • information in section 2(v).

To understand the concept of Cyber Crime, you should know these laws. The object of offence or target in a cyber-crime are either the computer or the data stored in the computer.

Nature of Threat

Among the most serious challenges of the 21st century are the prevailing and possible threats in the sphere of cybersecurity. Threats originate from all kinds of sources, and mark themselves in disruptive activities that target individuals, businesses, national infrastructures, and governments alike. The effects of these threats transmit significant risk for the following −

  • public safety
  • security of nations
  • stability of the globally linked international community

Malicious use of information technology can easily be concealed. It is difficult to determine the origin or the identity of the criminal. Even the motivation for the disruption is not an easy task to find out. Criminals of these activities can only be worked out from the target, the effect, or other circumstantial evidence. Threat actors can operate with considerable freedom from virtually anywhere.

The motives for disruption can be anything such as −

  • simply demonstrating technical prowess
  • theft of money or information
  • extension of state conflict, etc.

Criminals, terrorists, and sometimes the State themselves act as the source of these threats. Criminals and hackers use different kinds of malicious tools and approaches. With the criminal activities taking new shapes every day, the possibility for harmful actions propagates.

Nature of Threat

Enabling People

The lack of information security awareness among users, who could be a simple school going kid, a system administrator, a developer, or even a CEO of a company, leads to a variety of cyber vulnerabilities. The awareness policy classifies the following actions and initiatives for the purpose of user awareness, education, and training −

  • A complete awareness program to be promoted on a national level.
  • A comprehensive training program that can cater to the needs of the national information security (Programs on IT security in schools, colleges, and universities).
  • Enhance the effectiveness of the prevailing information security training programs. Plan domain-specific training programs (e.g., Law Enforcement, Judiciary, E-Governance, etc.)
  • Endorse private-sector support for professional information security certifications.

Information Technology Act

The Government of India enacted The Information Technology Act with some major objectives which are as follows −

  • To deliver lawful recognition for transactions through electronic data interchange (EDI) and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as electronic commerce or E-Commerce. The aim was to use replacements of paper-based methods of communication and storage of information.
  • To facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Information Technology Act, 2000, was thus passed as the Act No.21 of 2000. The I. T. Act got the President’s assent on June 9, 2000 and it was made effective from October 17, 2000. By adopting this Cyber Legislation, India became the 12th nation in the world to adopt a Cyber Law regime.

Mission and Vision Cybersecurity Program

Mission

The following mission caters to cybersecurity −

  • To safeguard information and infrastructure in cyberspace.
  • Build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats.
  • To reduce vulnerabilities and minimize damage from cyber incidents through a combination of institutional structures, people, processes, technology, and cooperation.

Vision

To build a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses, and Government.

Hope this article helpful for you. Thank You


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