Consultation on Cyber and IT Law
In theory, statutory provisions dealing with ‘obscenity’, ‘defamation’, ‘cheating’ and ‘copyright infringement’ are appropriate for proceeding against the perpetrators. Nevertheless, there are several hurdles in identifying the perpetrators in the first place. Criminal laws usually operate over a defined territorial jurisdiction but the content of websites can be created and uploaded anywhere in the world. Even when the source of offensive material is located, the police will face several practical difficulties in proceeding against perpetrators located in foreign jurisdictions. Even with respect to perpetrators in a local jurisdiction, there are problems on account of the structure of the flow of information over the internet. End-users can post content through fake identities and proxy server locations to misguide the investigating agencies.
The Information Technology Act was amended a few months ago and Section 79 now provides a defence for ‘Network Service Providers’ who can demonstrate that they were not aware of the offensive content circulated through their services.
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Information Technology Act (Part I)
Information Technology Act (Part II)
Important Judgments on Cyber Law
Relevant provisions of Information Technology Act to regulate the cyber mishandlings and cyber crimes:
43. Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc.
43. Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc.-If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is incharge of a computer, computer system or computer network,-
(a) accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network;
(b) downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base or information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium;
(c) introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any computer, computer system or computer network;
(d) damages or causes to be damaged any computer, computer system or computer network, data, computer data base or any other programmes residing in such computer, computer system or computer network;
(e) disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;
(f) denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorised to access any computer, computer system or computer network by any means;
(g) provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder;
(h) charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network, he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding one crore rupees to the person so affected.
Explanation.-For the purposes of this section,- (i) ''computer contaminant'' means any set of computer instructions that are designed- (a) to modify, destroy, record, transmit data or programme residing within a computer, computer system or computer network; or (b) by any means to usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer system, or computer network; (ii) ''computer data base'' means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions in text, image, audio, video that are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalised manner or have been produced by a computer, computer ystem or computer network and are intended for use in a computer, computer system or computer network; (iii) ''computer virus'' means any computer instruction, information, data or programme that destroys, damages, degrades or adversely affects the performance of a computer resource or attaches itself to another computer resource and operates wh n a programme, data or instruction is executed or some other event takes place in that computer resource; (iv) ''damage'' means to destroy, alter, delete, add, modify or rearrange any computer resource by any means.
44. Penalty for failure to furnish information, return, etc.
44. Penalty for failure to furnish information, return, etc.-If any person who is required under this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder to- (a) furnish any document, return or report to the Controller or the Certifying Authority fails to furnish the same, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one lakh and fifty thousand rupees for each such failure; (b) file any return or furnish any information, books or other documents within the time specified therefor in the regulations fails to file return or furnish the same within the time specified therefor in the regulations, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure continues;
(c) maintain books of account or records, fails to maintain the same, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues.
65. Tampering with computer source documents.
65. Tampering with computer source documents.-Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, comp ter system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with oth. Explanation.-For the purposes of this section, "computer source code" means the listing of programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis of computer resource in any form.
66. Hacking with computer system.
66. Hacking with computer system.-(1) Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes i s value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hacking.
(2) Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
67. Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.
67. Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.-Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend t deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may exte d to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rup es.