Crime is both a social and economic phenomenon. Cyber Crime is not defined in Information Technology Act 2000 nor in the I.T. Amendment Act 2008 nor in any other legislation in India. In fact, it cannot be too. Hence, to define cyber crime, we can say, it is just a combination of crime and computer. To put it in simple terms ‘any offence or crime in which a computer is used is a cyber crime. The I.T. Act defines a computer, computer network, data, information and all other necessary ingredients that form part of a cyber crime. In a cyber crime, computer or the data itself the target or the object of offence or a tool in committing some other offence, providing the necessary inputs for that offence. All such acts of crime will come under the broader definition of cyber crime.
The computer-generated world of internet is known as cyberspace and the laws prevailing this area are known as Cyber laws and all the users of this space come under the ambit of these laws as it carries a kind of worldwide jurisdiction. Cyber law can also be described as that branch of law that deals with legal issues related to use of inter-networked information technology. In short, cyber law is the law governing computers and the internet.
Cyber law in India can be considered as a part of the overall legal system that deals with the Internet, E-commerce, digital contracts, electronic evidence, cyberspace, and their respective legal issues. Cyber law in India covers a fairly broad area, encompassing several subtopics including freedom of expression, data protection, data security, digital transactions, electronic communication, access to and usage of the Internet, and online privacy.
Advantages of Cyber Laws in India
The IT Act 2000 attempts to change outdated laws and provides ways to deal with cyber crimes. We need such laws so that people can perform purchase transactions over the Net through credit cards without fear of misuse. The Act offers the much-needed legal framework so that information thus not denied legal effect, validity or enforceability, solely on the ground that its in the form of electronic records.
Need of Cyber Laws in India
Information technology has spread throughout the world. Computer used in every sector wherein cyberspace provides equal opportunities to all for economic growth and human development. As the user of cyberspace grows increasingly diverse and the range of online interaction expands, there is expansion in the cyber crimes i.e. breach of online contracts, perpetration of online torts and crimes etc. Due to these consequences there was need to adopt a strict law by the cyber space authority to regulate criminal activities relating to cyber and to provide better administration of justice to the victim of cyber crime. In the modern cyber technology world its very much necessary to regulate cyber crimes and most importantly cyber law in India should thus made stricter in the case of cyber terrorism and hackers.
In today’s highly digitalized world, almost everyone is affected by cyber law. For example:
- Almost all transactions in shares are in demat form.
- Almost all companies extensively depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form.
- Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms etc. are now filled in electronic form.
- Consumers are increasingly using credit/debit cards for shopping.
- Most people are using email, phones and SMS messages for communication.
- Even in “non-cyber crime” cases, important evidence is found in computers/cell phones eg: in cases of murder, divorce, kidnapping, tax evasion, organized crime, terrorist operations, counterfeit currency etc.
- Cyber crime cases such as online banking frauds, online share trading fraud, source code theft, credit card fraud, tax evasion, virus attacks, cyber sabotage, phishing attacks, email hijacking, denial of service, hacking, pornography etc. are becoming common.
- Digital signatures and e-contracts are fast replacing conventional method of transacting business.
Laws For Cyber Crimes In India
The Information and Technology Act, 2000 explicitly provides the legal framework for the electronic governance by giving identification to the electronic records and digital signatures, it also expressly defines penalties for culprits after commitment of the cyber crime. It statutorily had also established a Cyber Appellate Tribunal to resolve the disputes especially related to Cyber Crimes and Online Frauds.
Apart from it some of the statutory provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860 especially in the crime of Fraud, Criminal Intimidation, Cheating, Breach of Trust, Abetment of Suicide via Blackmailing, etc. may be charged on accused having regard to the circumstances, and discretionary powers of the Court, however it must be noted that a person cannot be punished twice for the same offence, as it will violates his Fundamental Right ensured under Article 20 (2) of the Indian Constitution i.e. Double Jeopardy.