This post has been written by Drishti Mehra, a student pursuing a B.A, LL.B. from Amity Law School, Noida.
The advancement of technology has made things easy for mankind. Nowadays, man is dependent on the computer and the internet for all his needs to be fulfilled. The internet has made the job easier as it takes no time to get the job done while sitting at his place only. The domain of the internet is all over the world and everyone is sort of Obsessed with its use. Whether it may be online shopping, gaming, online transactions, e-commerce, tour, and travel, easy access to governmental policies, communication, social interactions on social media to make new friends, everything you can imagine is now possible in no time just because of the internet. To introduce technology and to reduce human workload the internet has been discovered. With the development of the internet along with its benefit, the people find out the discrepancy in it for malafide activities, and in due, course of time developing the concept of cyber-crime.
According to the stats published by the national crime record bureau (NCRB), Karnataka had the highest number of cases followed by Assam, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Uttar-Pradesh as the number of cases increasing exponentially. The motive of the majority of cases is to defraud people followed by child abuse, bullying of women, cyber terrorism, and online gambling.
To deal with the criminal activities that are associated with the internet, the Indian parliament passed ” THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT” (also known as the IT-Act) on 17 October 2000. This act deals with cyber crime and electronic commerce.
Cyber laws in India is not a separate legal entity. It acts in furtherance with the combination of contract, intellectual property, data protection, and privacy laws. Cyber law safeguards the rights of the internet user by protecting their data or protects citizens from dispensing sensitive information to the online stranger. Ever since then cyber laws are introduced in India, IT ACT 2000 was enacted and amended in 2008 for covering different types of cyber crimes and explains their punishment according to the law.
Definition of cyber crime:
cyber crime is a broad term and can be defined as the unlawful acts or criminal activity done by a person using a computer or computer network, either as a tool or a target or both. And it includes everything from electronic cracking to denial of service attack. According to a survey conducted by the Ipsos, the amount of complaint filed by the Indians are much higher, that is, 32% much higher than the U.S., the UK, and the other technologically advanced nations which ranges from 11-15% only. One of the main causes of the increase of cyber crimes because of our dependency on it, and because of this irresistible dependency, some people are going to take advantage of it.
Cyber crime can be categorized into two categories:
- The crimes in which computers can be used as a tool – cyber terrorism, pornography, credit card frauds, IPR violations.
- The crimes in which the computer can be used as a target – hacking, virus attack.
*Will this kind of invasion on your privacy be any different than someone is breaking into your house or your personal locker to get information about you and your family?
Hackers destroy property in the forms of data records or files. Hackers delete or alter files. Hackers invade your privacy. a person who is using a computer or any device to break into someone’s system to obtain information or some confidentially stored data.
The simple definition of privacy is a state in which the person is not disturbed or observed by other people.
“Privacy per se an undisputed right of an individual comprehensively bonded on his/her life. Privacy becomes a matter of controversy when it is mishandled/intruded illegitimately by erroneous individuals.”
Earlier there was a question on the constitutional validity of the right to privacy. But now in the recent judgment of the supreme court of India in the case of “ K.S. PUTTASWAMY (retd,) VS UNION OF INDIA, WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO 494 OF 2012”.
The petition filed by a retired supreme court judge challenging the constitutionality of Aadhar on the grounds that it violates the right of privacy.
The judges declared that: “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under article 21 and as the part of the freedoms guaranteed by the Part III of the constitution”.
The supreme court overruled the past judgment given in the case of “KHARAK SINGH VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH 1962”. KHARAK SINGH, an accused in the dacoity case was discharged due to lack of evidence and was under regular surveillance of Uttar Pradesh police. KHARAK SINGH filed a writ petition before the HON’BLE SUPREME COURT as this was an infringement of his fundamental rights. A Six Judge bench examined this issue of surveillance and as the infringement of fundamental rights. In the Judgement, the court rules that “privacy was not guaranteed under the constitutional right”. and “MP SHARMA VS SATISH CHANDRA 1954” MP Sharma related to the search of documents of the Dalmia group industries following into the business of Dalmia Jain Airways Ltd. The main issue that was considered was whether such procedures were violative of Article of 19 (1) (F) and 20 (3) of the constitution. The judges were in doubt that if there were any limitations to the government’s search and seizure and this would be a breach of privacy. These two cases cast doubts on the constitutional validity of privacy.
Subject matter of crimes:
This can be broadly classified under three groups—
- Against individual
- The person
- The property of an individual
- Against organization
- Company, firm
- Against society
- Unauthorized access and hacking
- Cyber stalking
- Cyber terrorism
- Child pornography
- Web hijacking
- Salami attack
- Sale of illegal article
- Virus attack
- IPR violations
Though not all the people are the victim of the cyber crime activities, but still they are at great risks. In 21st century technology has given new wide parameters to the criminals to do their malicious activities without being present there and the people wouldn’t know they are the victims. Mostly, the age ratio of cyber criminals ranges between 12 years young to 67 years old. Criminals are more advanced now and their weapons aren’t gun anymore, rather the mouse, the internet and the computer are their weapons.
As the areas of the cyber crimes increasing day by day, there is a strict need for timely amendments in the existing cyber laws. The role of Parliament is here, to make new and strict laws regarding the type of crime and the Judiciary deal with these matters without any sort of leniency. The Government needs to establish Cyber cell centers in states with 24*7 working to deal with criminal activities.
In some cases, the thin line between what will be the criminal act or what will be the civil conduct remained unanswered. As the internet operates internationally, the jurisdiction and enforcement matters remain always in question. This would be a controversial question when different countries have different standards of different penalties for cyber crime activities.
As technology develops, the laws need to be amended from time to time for covering greater dimensions of criminal activity.
- With the help of technology, the world can connect globally but crimes are also increasing. Cyber criminals are using different approaches to do the crime in a more sophisticated manner, so the laws of crime must be amended accordingly.
- The laws have been made but people are facing lack of awareness regarding the laws, so the general awareness programmes should be conducted by the government.
- Our judicial system needs to be updated in order to provide a speedy and a fair trial in the interest of justice.
 (1964) 1 SCR 332: (1963) 2 Cri LJ 329: AIR 1963 SC 1295
4] AIR 1954 SC 300: 1954 Cri LJ 865: 1954 SCR 1077