Understanding Cyber Crime and its Kinds under the Information Technology Act, 2000
Introduction to Cyber Crime
Cyber crime is a broad term encompassing illegal activities committed via the internet or computer networks. It pertains to a range of malicious activities ranging from online fraud to the spread of viruses and ransomware. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, was enacted in India to provide legal recognition to electronic transactions and to tackle the increasing instances of cyber crimes.
Definition of Cyber Crime
Cyber crime can be defined as any unlawful act where a computer or communication device or computer network is used to commit or facilitate the commission of crime. These crimes can target individual computer systems or networks, or use these systems to launch attacks on others.
Kinds of Cyber Crimes under IT Act, 2000: Classification
The Information Technology Act, 2000, categorizes cyber crimes into several kinds, broadly based on the nature and target of the crime.
Tampering with Computer Source Documents - Section 65
Tampering with computer source documents involves intentionally modifying, destroying, or concealing a computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, system, or network.
Case Reference: In the case of State of Tamil Nadu Vs Suhas Katti, the accused was convicted for harassing a woman online, which involved tampering with her online identity.
Hacking - Section 66
This section deals with hacking or the act of gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or network. The section has been further divided into several sub-sections that include crimes related to identity theft, cheating by personation, and violation of privacy.
Case Reference: In the landmark case of Avinash Bajaj vs State (NCT Of Delhi), the managing director of an online marketplace was held liable under this section for selling obscene material.
Publishing Obscene Material - Section 67
Section 67 deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. The ambit of this section extends to materials that are lascivious or appeal to the prurient interest.
Case Reference: In the Avinash Bajaj case, the court held that the intermediary couldn't be absolved from liability if it had knowledge of the act and failed to exercise due diligence.
Breach of Confidentiality and Privacy - Section 72
This section applies to anyone who, in pursuance of any powers conferred under the IT Act or rules, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document, or other material without the consent of the person concerned, and discloses such electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document, or other material to any other person.
Cyber Terrorism - Section 66F
Section 66F of the IT Act pertains to cyber terrorism. The section covers acts that threaten the unity, integrity, security, or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in people by denying or causing the denial of access to a computer resource, or attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorization.
Case Reference: In the case of Vaiko v. Union of India, it was held that cyber terrorism is a serious threat that needs to be addressed immediately, thereby upholding the provisions of Section 66F.
Cyber crime is a menace in the modern, digital era. The Information Technology Act, 2000, categorizes and penalizes various forms of cyber crimes to maintain the security of the virtual space. However, the dynamic nature of cyber crimes necessitates continuous amendments and updation in the existing laws. As technology evolves, the face of cyber crime transforms as well, making it imperative for the law to be adaptable and resilient.