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CAN CYBERSECURITY AND CYBERCRIMES INFRINGE HUMAN RIGHTS?

By

Sakshi Dubey, III year of B.A., LL.B. from Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida.         


Introduction

Cybercrime and cybersecurity are complex issues that need to be separated from the networked environment. And today both are considered as one of the greatest challenges. New technologies create new criminal opportunities but few new types of crime.


Cybersecurity is the act of shielding PCs, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks and data from malicious assaults. It is also known as information technology security or electronic information security. They might be intended to access or destroy sensitive data or extort money. For instance, network security includes antivirus and antispyware programs, a firewall that block unauthorized access to a network and virtual private networks used for secure remote access.


Cybercrime is also called computer crime, the utilization of computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing extortion, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities or violating privacy. It has grown in importance as the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment and government.


Laws to control cybercrimes

India does not have a dedicated cybersecurity law. The Information Technology Act (ITA) read with the rules and regulations outlined thereunder manage network protection and the cybercrimes associated therewith. Cyber law in India is identified with legal informatics and supervises the digital dissemination of data security and e- commerce. IT law does not consist in a separate area of law, rather it encloses aspects of contract, intellectual property, privacy and data protection laws.

Policymakers have developed several national guidelines to protect the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) from immoral criminals. However, many of these guiding principles are too broad, ill- defined and the lack of strong oversight and other mechanisms for democratic accountability that can lead to human rights violations and disruption of innovation.


Indian cyber law prevents crimes committed by computers using technology, a major tool for cybercrime. The Cybercrime Act protects citizens from sharing confidential information with foreigners on the internet.


There are only a few provisions that provide punishment for cybercrimes. Section 66D of IT Act prescribes punishment for ‘cheating by personation by using computer resource’ and provides that any person who cheats by means of any communication device or computer resource by personation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3.


Cybercrimes under IT Act, 2000 are as follows

  • Tampering with computer source documents- Section 65

  • Publishing obscene information- Section 67

  • Unauthorized access of protected systems- Section 70

  • Breach of confidentiality and privacy- Section 72

  • Publishing false digital signature certificates- Section 73


Similar offences that fall under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are

  • Sending threatening and defamatory messages by email – Section 503 and Section 499

  • Forgery of electronic records- Section 463

  • Bogus websites, cyber frauds- Section 420

  • Web jacking- Section 383

  • Email abuse- Section 500

  • Pornographic- Section 292


Loopholes in Law

The Indian legal system has various laws concerning the cybercrimes. But the nature of the cybercrime is technical, therefore it requires the technical process to execute the criminal law in the proper sense. The technical process is lacking in the Indian legal system; therefore, the substantive criminal law is sufficient, but due to lacking in the procedural aspect, it is unable to execute in India.


There are numerous shortcomings and escape clauses revolving around the Information Technology Act, even after the Amendments made in 2008. It does not cover various evolving forms and manifestations of cybercrimes such as- cyber theft, cyber stalking, cyber harassment etcetera.


Not only this, the biggest flaw is the improper implementation of the cyber laws as the police stations are not well equipped with required technology and technical skills associated with them.

Lack of privacy laws in India allow cyber criminals to misuse users' data on social organizations. Cybercrime is growing due to which cyber law is growing significantly every single year. Mere making laws is not sufficient, the execution is possible when they recognize the act as a crime and allow a proceeding on that aspect.


Infringement of Human Rights

Laws and policies related to cybersecurity and cybercrimes have direct impact on human rights, especially the right to privacy (protected under Article 21), freedom of expression (Article 10 of the Human Rights Act) and the free flow of information.


Mostly, human rights protection in Indian cyberspace is an ignored world. Very few people are aware of the importance of this issue and some do not realize the consequences of protecting human rights in cyberspace due to the events in the media.


In my views, since laws are made, but still there are many lacunas in its implementation. Only framing laws and regulation is not sufficient to stop these cybercrimes. These are violating human rights as they are not being implemented properly and strictly followed. As these laws/ punishment for cybercrimes are available to a smaller extent. So, one should take the following precautions to control these crimes as far as it is possible to their extent.

  • Firstly, report any cybercrime to the nearest police station, there is no bar anywhere against such reporting.

  • Keep the software up to date

  • Encrypt the data

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi


Conclusion

The internet constantly changes, and it is difficult to predict the nature and conceivable extent of all the current and future opportunities for cybercriminals. Legislators at every level of government should watch and study the nature of human interactions with and via computers and networks, adapting laws to deal with the most pressing risks as they become apparent.


Self-protection is the prime tool. Also, organizations should focus on implementing cybersecurity plans that address people, processes and technology issues. Development of systematic plans for handling sensitive data, records and transactions, along with proper laws and enactments is much needed in today’s cyber world.


Reference

https://www.britannica.com/topic/cybercrime

https://books.google.com/books?id=P5x_BAAAQBAJ

https://www.mondaq.com/india/it-and-internet/891738/cyber-crimes-under-the-ipc-and-it-act--an-uneasy-co-existence

https://digiinfomedia.online/ipc-sections-connected-with-it-act/