Cyber Laws in India: All you need to know

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Cyber Space? Cyber Laws? Well, let’s start with the simplest definition. Cyberspace is the world of internet. Cyber Laws are the laws that govern this area. Now a less general but more correct definition of the term “CyberLaw” is. It is the branch of law that deals with legal issues related to using of inter-networked information technology. Generally speaking, CyberLaw is categorized into two categories:
a) The Computer as a Target: Usage of the computer for attacking other networks. e.g. Hacking, Virus attacks etc.
b) The computer as a weapon: Usage of the computer for committing real-world crimes. e.g. Cyber Terrorism, IPR violations, Credit card frauds etc.

Now, a question might be coming to your mind that why do I need to know about cyber laws, it all sounds too much technical. Well, the actual truth is that nothing could be further than the fact. Cyberlaw is very crucial as it covers almost all the activities on and concerning the Internet, the World Wide Web, and Cyberspace. Whether we realize it or not, every action and every reaction in Cyberspace has some legal and Cyber legal perspectives. You might not feel bothered about the issues today. But in today’s time when the world is getting more and more dependent on the Internet. Sooner or later, you will have to buckle up and take note of Cyberlaw for your benefit.

As we all know (or should know) that India has a very detailed and extremely well- defined I might add law system in place. Over the years the country implemented Numerous laws and norms first and foremost the Constitution of India. Then we have the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act 1872, the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, and so on. However, with the arrival of the Internet, the situation became tricky. It opened up a new set of complex legal issues that required attention. The current law system and protocols in India (even the most detailed ones) could not be implemented in the cyberspace.

It should be noted that this was the case because the existing law frameworks were designed with the current political, cultural and economic situations. They could not have visualized the Internet and what a can of worms that would be. Long story short India needed something new to make cyberspace to make people feel safe using the net. Cyber laws are a part of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into effect from October 17, 2000. The primary purpose is providing legal recognition to electronic commerce and facilitate the filing of electronic records.

Information Technology Act, 2000:

Let’s discuss the IT act in a little bit more detail. First thing Jurisdiction. Well, according to section 1(2) of the Act, the Act extends to entire India and also applies to any offense committed from outside India. According to article 75, the Act will act upon an offense conducted outside of India, if the crime or violation involves a computer, computer system or computer network located in India.

Also according to the Act, a Police officer not below the rank of deputy Superintendent should only investigate any possible offense. An absence of a foreign treaty or alliance can affect the outside the India part of the Act.

Moving forward let’s talk some of the benefits of the Act.

  •  From an e-commerce perspective, email is now considered a valid and legal form of communication that can be produced in the court of law.
  • Companies can carry out e-commerce using the legal infrastructure.
  • DIgital signatures are not valid according to the Act
  • The act allows for corporate companies to be the certifying authorities for issue of Digital Signature certificate.
  • The law allows for issuing of government notices on the web, thus helping e-governance.
  • The law allows companies to submit any required files, application with any office, authority controlled the government of that region in electronic form as prescribed by the government (will save a heck of paperwork for both sides)
  •  Under the IT act, companies can now have a statutory remedy in case of a break in within their networks and computer systems. The treatment provided is in the form of monetary change, not exceeding Rs 1 crore.

Look at the end of the day; we have to understand that Internet (technology for that matter) is a double edge sword. On the one hand, it can help you accomplish great things. It can help you expand your business exponentially. It can help you reach customers far away from you. But, On the other hand, handled poorly it can be a destructive force beyond measure. Also, no matter how detailed or brilliant these existing law frameworks are, sooner or later there will come a case which would act as an exception. So, the responsible authorities have to make sure that the laws are always up to date. So that people would feel safe when they go up the Internet.

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