Cyber Laws & Cyber Security

Cyber Laws in India

The internet is evolving at a rapid pace – with India being the second-fastest digital adapter among 17 of the world's most digital economies – it is now easily available at every nook and corner of the country. Given the pace at which technology is reaching the hands of the people, cyber crimes are also on a rise.

This increasing digitization necessitates proactive cybersecurity measures. It is critical for corporations or related government bodies to identify and close gaps in their organizations. A dedicated cybersecurity Law is the need of the hour in India.

The United States of America was the first country in the world to enforce cyberlaw (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1986), while Singapore was the first Asian country to do so.

Overview of Cyber Laws In India

Areas covered Under Cyberlaw in India

  1. Fraud.
  2. Defamation
  3. Stalking & Harassment.
  4. Copyright & Intellectual Property.

Information Technology Act, 2000

It was the Department of Electronics (DoE) who drafted the bill in July 1998. However, it is introduced in Parliament just a year and a half later, on December 16, 1999, following the establishment of the IT Ministry.

The Union Cabinet endorsed the bill on May 13, 2000, after integrating numerous proposals from the Ministry of Information Technology, and both houses of the Indian Parliament enacted the Information Technology Bill on May 17, 2000. The Bill got the President's assent on June 9, 2000, and became known as the Information Technology Act, 2000.
 
Summary
  • First Cyber Law in India.
  • Cabinet approval – May 13, 2000.
  • Parliament approval – May 17, 2000.
  • Presidential Assent – May 9, 2000.
    • Signed by – President K. R. Narayanan.
    • Prime Minister – A. B. Vajpayee.
  • Enacted on – June 9, 2000.
  • Came into force – October 17, 2000.
  • 13 Chapters, 94 Sections & 4 Schedules.

First amendment – IT Act Amendment 2008 / IT Act 2008.

  • Passed by Lok Sabha – December 23, 2008.
  • Passed by Rajya Sabha – December 24, 2008.
  • Presidential Assent – February 5, 2009.
    • President – Pratibha Patil.
    • PM – Dr. Manmohan Singh.
  • Came into force – October 27, 2009.
  • 14 Chapters, 124 Sections, 2 Schedules & 4 parts.
  • The term 'electronic signature/digital signature' was introduced.
  • Sections 66A to 66F have been added to Section 66.
According to the IT Act 2000, only a police officer of DSP can investigate a cybercrime; however, the IT Act 2008 modified this, enabling inspectors and higher-ranking officials to examine crimes.

Important Sections of IT Act 2000

SectionOffensePenalty
65Tampering with Source Documents
of Computer
3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹200,000.
66Hacking3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹500,000.
66A*Sending Offensive Messages 3 Yrs imprisonment
and/or fine.
66BReceiving Stolen Computer or
Communication Device
3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹100,000.
66C Unauthorized use of electronic signature (ID theft)
3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹100,000.
66DUsing the Password of Another Person3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹100,000.
66EViolation of privacy (images)3 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹200,000.
66FActs of Cyber TerrorismLifetime imprisonment (Non-Bailable).
67Transmission/publication of obscene
materials
5 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹10,00,000.
67APublishing images containing
pornography.
7 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹10,00,000.
67BBrowsing/Transmission/publication of obscene materials involving children (Child Porn)5 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹10,00,000.
70Attempting to secure protected information 10 Yrs imprisonment and/or fine
71Misrepresentation2 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹100,000.
72Breach of confidentiality and privacy2 Yrs imprisonment and/or
fine upto ₹100,000.
73 &74Publishing of false Digital Signature Certificate in certain particulars.2 Yrs imprisonment and/or fine upto ₹100,000.

Section 66A of the IT Act was repealed by a Supreme Court bench of justices R.F. Nariman and J. Chelameswar on March 24, 2015, in the case of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, stating that it was unconstitutional and violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

Laws related to Cyber security

The Internet and Cybercrime emerged after the adoption of the Constitution. 

As a result all issues concerned with the cyber laws subsequently fall under the category of residuary powers (Article 248), and only the Parliament has the authority to create legislation on this subject. 

The laws related to Cyber security are:

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Amended for IT Act 2000).
  • Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Amended for IT Act 2000).
  • Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 (Amended for IT Act 2000).
  • Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (Amended for IT Act 2000).
  • National Cyber Policy, 2013.
  • Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

Other Government Initiatives

  • National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) – The technical Intelligence Agency that acts under the National Security Advisor of India in the Prime Minister Office.
    • Established in – 2004.
  • National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) – Plan of Actions designed to improve the security and resilience of national infrastructures and services in India.
  • CERT-IN (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team CERT) – Nodal agency in India that deals with cyber threats.
    • Established in – 2004.
    • National agency for incident response.
    • Responsible for blocking websites in India.
  • Cyber Appellate Tribunal – Tribunal formed to handle the disputes in cyber laws.
    • Initial name – Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (CRAT).
    • Established in – 2006.
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
  • Online cybercrime reporting portal.
  • Sandes Platform
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra.

Non-Profit Organizations in the Cyber Security Field (India)

  • Filternet Foundation.
  • End Now Foundation
  • Incognito Forensic Foundation.
  • Center for Internet Security (CIS).
  • Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).


📝SideNotes:
  • World Computer Security Day – November 30.
  • World Intellectual Property Day – April 26.
  • Internet services were launched in India – August 15, 1995 (by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited).
  • Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
    • Established on – July 19, 2016.
    • Headquarters – New Delhi.
    • Minister – Ashwini Vaishnaw.
  • First Cyber Court in India – New Delhi (2009).
  • First Cyber Forensic Laboratory in India – Tripura (2013).
  • Father of Cyber Criminology – Karuppannan Jaishankar.
  • Cyber State of India – Andhra Pradesh.

Comments