Since the rapidly growing age of globalization via internet and computers, humans witnessed a lot of positive developments though some negative use of internet & computers also developed. In the age of computers and its abuse has also developed a gamut of advanced crimes and which are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000.
When the ‘World Wide Web’ was developed it had no idea that it would also give rise to its misuse in committing crimes. For this reason, now we need laws to regulate internet/computer activities to stop and prevent its misuse.
What is Cyber-Crime?
In present time the usage of internet, computers and other electronic devices is so intense and immense that it cannot be ignored. Today, a majority population of the human race is dependent on such advancements right from paying bills to shopping or communication and transfers of data globally. Though, Cyber Crime is not defined in Information Technology Act, 2000 or in the I.T. Amendment Act, 2008 or in any other legislation in India. Internet crime is committed in various ways when crime & computers get together it is termed as cyber-crime.
Cyber-Crime in laymen terms includes all internet based and computer related crimes such as – phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, kidnapping children via chat rooms, scams, cyber terrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, Spam and so on. All such crimes are computer related and facilitated crimes.
Origin of Information Technology Laws:
As we already said that due to this huge impact of globalization and computerization in every aspect including e-governance and e-commerce needs a certain degree of data protection and its respective misuses. It was during mid-90’s that an imminent need was required for preserving and protecting electronic data. Evidence and records, until then, were predominantly paper evidence and paper records or other forms of hard-copies only. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted the Model Law on e-commerce in 1996. The General Assembly of United Nations passed a resolution in January 1997 inter alia, recommending all States in the UN to give favourable considerations to the said Model Law, which provides for recognition of electronic records and according to it the same treatment like a paper communication and record.
Information Technology Act 2000:
The Parliament of India passed its first Cyber-Law namely – The Information Technology Act, 2000 [IT ACT, 2000], which provides the legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India. The IT Act, 2000 reads its objective as under –
“to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “electronic methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
2008 Amendment to the IT Act:
A major amendment to the information technology act was made in the year 2008. This amendment introduced Section 66A which penalized sending of offensive messages. Also, other provisions like- Section 65 was made which talks about tampering with the computer source document. Section 66 deals with hacking, Section 66 C deals with using the password of another person, Section 66 F deals cyber-terrorism and many more considerate issues are addressed with this Amendment Act of 2008.
Overall, The Information Technology Act, 2000 is a historical step in the right direction by the Government of India. To adhere to the UNCITRAL, 1996 model and in promoting the growth of e-commerce and e-governance in the country, India has marked bigger achievement by bringing the Information Technology Law.