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The Role Of Cyber Law In Cybersecurity In India

The need to advance and enhance current technologies has always pushed man towards bettering computer network systems. Advances in cyberspace have resulted in significant growth, which has served as a platform for future growth and development of the World.

Cyberspace can be defined as a place in a virtual and dynamic computer world created with the help of machine clones, which facilitates online communication. It consists of a vast computer network made up of several worldwide computer subnetworks that use the TCP/IP protocol to facilitate communication and data exchange.

The Indian legislature has not provided a precise definition of cybercrime in any legislation. Even the Information Technology Act of 2000, which deals with cybercrime, does not define the term. However, in general, the term cybercrime means any crime that has been carried out using computer and telecommunications technologies, where a computer was used as a tool.

To secure cyberspace from such crime, attack, misuse, damage, and economic espionage cybersecurity is very important and, to ensure that people do not misuse cyber technologies and for the security of cyberspace, cyber laws are generated. The basic idea of Cyberlaw is to prevent any person from infringing or violating the rights of other people in cyberspace.

Need of Cybersecurity
Cyber threats are becoming common due to increasing internet users, online transactions, and the digital push for start-ups. The government projects like Government e-Market, Bharat Net, Digi Locker, etc. are also encouraging citizens, businesses, and government agencies to transact online.

One of the most basic reasons for having cyber security is that cybersecurity threats cost the country a lot of money every year. India has already lost a significant amount of money, and it is likely to lose even more in the future if effective cybersecurity laws are not enacted.

Cyber Laws

Cyberspace is regulated by a legal system known as cyber law. Cyber law is a broad phrase that encompasses the regulatory and legal aspects of the Internet. It is the branch of law concerned with the connection of the internet to technological and electronic elements such as computers, information systems (IS), software, and hardware. As the internet progresses, a slew of new legal challenges emerge.

Cyber laws protect information access, privacy, communications, intellectual property (IP), and freedom of speech related to the use of the internet, computers, websites, email, smartphones, cell phones, software, and hardware, such as data storage devices, in effort to stop or minimize large-scale damage from cybersecurity attacks.

Cyber Laws in India

India, being one of the countries where the internet is widely used, is important to have strict cyber laws. There are four major cyber-security laws in India. These cyber laws have facilitated the growth of e-commerce and e-governance by ensuring maximum connection and reducing security concerns in the country. This has also increased the scope and effectiveness of digital media by allowing it to be used in a wider range of applications.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act)

The main goal of this act is to give electronic commerce legal recognition and make it easier to file electronic records with the government. The IT Act also penalizes numerous forms of cybercrime and imposes harsh punishments, including up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore. The Indian law is directed by IT Act to tackle cybercrime more strictly. A lot of amendments have been implemented because of the increase in the number of cybercrimes. The scope of IT law has been broadened to include all modern and current communication devices.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)

Cybercrime also includes traditional criminal behaviour that falls under the ambit of the Indian penal code and is subject to its prohibitions. Several cybercrimes are punishable under the Indian Penal Code (as amended by the IT Act) some examples of which are Forgery of electronic records, cyber Scams, and the destruction of electronic evidence.

Companies Act, 2013

The Companies Act set up the 'Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO),' which has the power to prosecute companies and their directors in India. The SFIO has grown stricter and more vigilant in this area since the introduction of the company's inspection, investment, and inquiry rules in 2014.

The Act ensures that all regulatory codes and standards are appropriately covered, including electronic discovery, cyber forensics, and cyber-security diligence. Strong standards have been stated about the roles and functions of company directors and managers in verifying cyber-security under the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules of 2014.

NIST Compliance

The 'National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)' has validated the 'Cyber Security Framework (NCFS)' as the most trustworthy global certification authority, providing a coordinated approach to cyber security. All the required laws, standards, and best practices for efficiently managing cyber-related risks are contained in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

Case laws:
Avnish Bajaj v. State (NCT) of Delhi ( Case) 1
Based on this case, Section 79(1)[2] of the IT Act was amended. This section provides protection and a safe harbour to mediators (such as the Website) from liabilities under the IT Act for content made publicly available on its platform by third parties, subject to specific conditions.

Shreya Singhal V. Union of India 2

This case is a landmark judgment on cyber law, in this the court held that section 66A of the IT Act is a derogative provision to Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, and therefore an arbitrary provision that infringes on individuals' right to freedom of speech and expression on the internet. Hence, the provision is unconstitutional and must be repealed in its entirety.

State by Cyber Crime Police vs. Abubakar Siddique (The bank NSP case) 3

In this case, a management trainee at the bank got engaged in a marriage with a young lady. Using the company's computer, the couple used to exchange emails. Eventually, they divorced, and the young lady wrote emails to the boy's international clients using fictitious email addresses like " Indian bar associations". To do this she accessed the bank's computer. The boy's business suffered significant client loss and sued the bank. For emails sent through the bank's system, the bank was held responsible.

S.M.C. Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. Jogesh Kwatra 4

This is India's first cyber-defamation case. In this, the defendant Jogesh Kwatra, who worked for the plaintiff company, began sending offensive emails to his employers as well as to various branches of the said company around the world to disparage the business and its managing director, Mr. R K Malhotra. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from carrying out his unlawful activities of sending the plaintiff slanderous emails. It was argued on behalf of the plaintiffs that the defendant's emails were obscene, abusive, vulgar, frightening, humiliating, and defamatory in nature.

The Internet has incredible advantages but along with that it also has various drawbacks and challenges. Cybersecurity is seriously a matter of concern in a developing country like India, where Cybercrime is becoming more prevalent. Although the Indian government has enacted various laws, rules, and regulations, it is still necessary for the government to implement new and strict laws to strengthen cybersecurity in India. Cybercrime has the potential to be utterly destructive, regulations need to be revised constantly to consider new crimes committed every day.

  • (2008) 105 DRJ 721
  • AIR 2015 SC 1523
  • C.C.No. 24836/2009
  • S.M.C. Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd vs Shri Jogesh Kwatra on 12 February 2011

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