In India, cyber laws are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) which came into force on October 17, 2000. The main purpose of the Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government.
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.
The Information Technology Act, 2000 essentially deals with the following issues:
- Legal Recognition of Electronic Documents
- Legal Recognition of Digital Signatures
- Offenses and Contraventions
- Justice Dispensation Systems for cyber crimes.
Main Provisions of IT Act 2000
Digital signature and Electronic signature:-Digital Signatures provide a viable solution for creating legally enforceable electronic records, closing the gap in going fully paperless by completely eliminating the need to print documents for signing. Digital signatures enable the replacement of slow and expensive paper-based approval processes with fast, low-cost, and fully digital ones. The purpose of a digital signature is the same as that of a handwritten signature. Instead of using pen and paper, a digital signature uses digital keys (public-key cryptography).Digital signature provides Authentication, Integrity and Non Repudiation.
E-Governance: Chapter III discusses Electronic governance issues and procedures and the legal recognition to electronic records is dealt with in detail in Section 4 followed by description of procedures on electronic records, storage and maintenance and according recognition to the validity of contracts formed through electronic means.
Section 66A :-Sending offensive messages thro communication service, causing annoyance etc through an
electronic communication or sending an email to mislead or deceive the recipient about the origin of
such messages (commonly known as IP or email spoofing) are all covered here. Punishment for these
acts is imprisonment upto three years or fine.
According to Sec.1(2) of Information Technology Act, 2000, the Act extends to the whole of India and also applies to any offence or contravention committed outside India by any person. Further, Sec.75 of the IT Act, 2000 also mentions about the applicability of the Act for any offence or contravention committed outside India. According to this section, the Act will apply to an offence or contravention committed outside India by any person, if the act or conduct constituting the offence or contravention involves a computer, computer system or computer network located in India.
Common types of Cyber Crimes may be broadly classified in the following groups:-
Against Individuals: –
- Harassment through e-mail
- Dissemination of obscene material on the Internet.
- Indecent exposure.
- Computer vandalism.
- Transmitting virus.
- Internet intrusion.
- Unauthorized control over computer system.
- Hacking /cracking.
Against Government, Private Firm, Company, Group of Individuals: –
- Hacking & Cracking.
- Possession of unauthorized information.
- Cyber terrorism against the government organization.
- Distribution of pirated software etc.