Crimes in the Virtual World
A facility which becomes very helpful and useful for doing our various activities may be turned into one of the dangerous facility to be used when humans starts taking advantage of the facilities provided. It can vary from smallest to smallest facility such as an object to a large one as a technology. The world from past few decades has developed rapidly in the field of technology, this as helped us to do important activities quickly but, at the same time many people have used this to find shortcuts and make their livelihood and fulfill their desires. Some Cyber laws are also laid down by our Constitution to prevent such crimes.
What is Cyber Crime?
Cyber crime is a computerized or computer based crime. Cyber criminals operate in the cyberspace, which is a space in between the two conversations which takes place in the virtual world. Just as individuals walking on the road leaves marks, in the same way an individual operating on the digital network leave marks behind, which can be hacked by skilled individuals to exploit their information. Various crimes such as identity exploitation, violation someone’s privacy, traffic in child pornography and intellectual property, etc is a part of this cyber crime. These crimes would happen before the introduction of digital network as well, It is not that it is happening only through computer platforms, but the improvised technology has enabled these crimes to take place virtually, without any physical intervention and with the use of some computer skills of hacking .
Various dimensions of Cyber Crime and its consequences
There are various forms of cyber crimes. Here are few major important crimes and its consequences listed out:
- Phishing scams: here personal information of people such as bank account number, credit card number, passwords etc is exploited by fake phone calls and messages from temporary mail ID’s and phone numbers. Here you might get messages such as you have won a lottery of cash, some suspicious activity taking place on your account etc, and they’ll ask for information to sort it out. Thus, becoming successful in exploiting these. It can also happen through some random adds popping on the window. The consequence of all these is, you will start seeing some random transactions from your bank account.
- Virus dissemination: here computer virus such as malware sneaks into one part of victims system and spreads all over the system, damaging and causing havoc to your computer, phone or tab, so that the culprits can steal your personal information and other informations such as credit card details.
- Hacking: here the hackers use your computer system without your permission. They do it through computer programming and with high computer skills. From this they can easily access your personal information such as account number, photos, messages and can use it for fame, to fulfill their desires or can misuse it in the rage of grudge.
- Cyber bullying: here the culprit will gain control over the victim through fake accounts created on social media and other website platforms, and by committing another crime of cyber stalking, the culprit send abusive images, videos and messages to the victim. By doing this he will gain control over the victim. Eg: Recently there was a game named ‘blue whale’ introduced in Russia. Many users all over the world who were playing this were psychologically tortured to do certain tasks, in fact there were few people who committed suicide in the name of task; this is the result of gaining control over the victim and cyber bullying.
- Child soliciting and abusing: Here the criminals solicit children under 16 years of age through chat rooms for the purpose of pornography. Pornography can also take place on adults when culprit access their photos through different cyber crime. They can sexually abuse an individual online.
There are many other such cyber crimes prevailing on the digital platform. So, the users must be responsible and cautious about the activities in the virtual world.
Cyber Crime in the legal world
There are various legal provisions laid down by the legislation to protect individuals from such cyber crimes.
The Information Technology Act, 2000, or also known as the Indian Cyber Act or the Internet Law came to force in India. Since the enactment, the Indian Internet Laws were drafted to bring in view all the electronic records and online/electronic activities to legal recognition. The IT Act also addresses the important issues of security, which are critical to the success of electronic transactions. The Internet Laws in India not only validates digital signatures but also provides for how authentication of the documents, which has been accepted and generated by using the digital signatures, can be done.
As IT Act is a cyber security law introduced to secure cyberspace, the Information Technology Law was amended under;
- the Indian Penal Code
- the Indian Evidence Act
- the Banker’s Book Evidence Act
- the Reserve Bank of India
The prime focus of cyber law in India is to prevent:
- computer crime
- forgery of electronic data & record in e-commerce
- electronic transaction
Some of the important penalties under IT Act 2000 are:
- Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc: penalized under section 43 shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding one crore rupees to the person so affected.
- Penalty for misrepresentation: penalized under sec 71 with imprisonment for terms which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
- Penalty for publishing Digital Signature Certificate false in certain particulars: under sec 73 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
These cyber crimes may prevail in the cyber world even after the government takes the utmost care and even after laying down legal provisions and punishments or provisions for the same. It is very much crucial for an individual to take his own care and be responsible on online platforms especially during this pandemic situation where all the works such as education, cash transactions, shopping, office work is taking place digitally all over the country. The citizens must be aware of the cyber crimes and take appropriate measures to tackle the same by not disclosing their personal information, being careful while visiting new sites, while installing new software and most importantly should be wise enough while operating on social media.
Recently the Chinese apps were also banned in India for the same reason as they were obtaining Personal information of the citizens of our country, which could cause great damage or loss to the country. It could pave way for terrorism activities also. So to be prudent while operating in virtual world is very crucial.
Author: Harshini P,
IFIM LAW SCHOOL(BBA LLB, 1st year)