Technology has been immensely developing since the 1990s- the era when digitalisation became popular. The use of technology in the world of internet, also known as cyberspace, brought along rise in criminal activities. As the users transformed from individuals to organisations, business houses also began to be targeted by cyber criminals.
At this stature, law firms and legal professionals operate through the use of technology and hence require considerable protection from cyber threats. Cybercrimes target a large audience, with India alone having 450 million users hence cyber crime India are classified on the basis of the victim, as stated below:
Against individuals- Cyber-stalking, Hacking, Carding, Message/Email spoofing, Intellectual property crimes, Transmitting viruses, Cyber trespass, Cyber vandalism
Against the government- Cyber terrorism, Possession of unauthorized information, Cyberwarfare
Against society- Cyber trafficking, Forgery, Financial crimes
In a bid to curb cybercrimes, India enacted the first law on technology through Information Technology Act, 2000.
Cyber law in india regulates all activities relating to technological activities. The Act gives legal backing to digital signature certification, e-filing, e-records, e-transactions, etc.
Some of the main provisions of the Information Technology Act that assist in curbing cybercrime are as follows:
Tampering with computer- Section 65 of the Act specifically criminalizes an act of altering data stored in a computer or any program, command or layout. The offender can be imprisoned for 3 years along with a fine of ₹3 lakhs!
Hacking- Section 66 of the IT Act says that destroying or deleting any data and thereby causing wrongful loss to the owner is punishable with three years of imprisonment and/or fine of ₹ 2 lakhs.
Physically damaging computer- The offense is penalized under section 426 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 under the act of mischief. Imprisonment for 3 months and/or fine is the punishment that is awarded to the offender.
Identity theft- The IT Act under Section 66C criminalizes the act and accords a punishment of three years of imprisonment and/or fine of ₹ 1 lakh.
Various cases decided by different Courts have also provided clarity on enforcement and working of the IT Act. The case of State of Tamil Nadu v Suhas Katti was relating to the posting of defamatory and obscene content of a divorcee woman and was one of the first cases for the defendant to be convicted for publishing information in electronic form under Section 67 of the IT Act. In another case, Syed Asifuddin v State of Andhra Pradesh and Another, various employees of Tata Indicom were arrested for tampering and manipulation of ESN programmed into cellular devices that were franchised to Reliance.
With the growth of technology every day, there is also growth in crimes relating to various forms of technology. The only way to prevent these crimes from taking place is through strong legislation. Laws in India relating to cybercrimes need to be updated regularly with a strong, authoritative body controlling all IT activities and thus, facilitating proper use of technology with minimum tampering and illegal activities.