September 29, 2022

By Kashish Shah

The author is a first-year law student at National Law University Odisha

The term “cyber”

The indiscriminate use of the prefix cyber, be it in a cybercafe or cyber laws compel us to know what cyber stands for. It is used to describe a person, thing, or idea as a part of the computer and information age.

Advent of Internet

It is a network of networks that have connected various different offices of a plethora of different professions with the help of cables. It helps to facilitate the information from one place to another easily in a single click within seconds. Now, this is some positive definition of what the internet is, lets discuss a brief history surrounding the internet.

In the 1960s US-funded research to connect military networks but the civilian funds and a new U.S agency, National Science Foundation spawned worldwide participation to find new technologies and led to the commercialization of the internet in the mid-1990s.

Internet vis a vis World Wide Web.

Since a long www and internet are confused with each other. Internet is the infrastructure that connects different computers, whereas www is a service that is communicated with the help of the internet.

Tim Berners Lee invented the internet in 1989.

Need for Cyber laws.

After the commercialization of the internet, the introduction of e-commerce, social media, dating websites, and a lot of things that increased people to people contact also introduced fringe and perverted personalities to cyberspace, and here is where the basic fundamental rights and human rights play a role to secure private or the statutory laws which prevent some criminal activity from coming into play. So cyber laws consist of constitutional safeguards, criminal law, and contract law.

Digital Crime in India (Source: NDTV, Business line, NCRB)

  1. Digital India Sees 63.5% Increase In Cyber Crime Cases, Shows Data(Digital India Sees 63.5% Increase In Cyber Crime Cases, Shows Data (ndtv.com)

2. Almost 300% rise in cyber attacks in India in 2020, govt tells Parliament(Almost 300% rise in cyber attacks in India in 2020, govt tells Parliament | Latest News India – Hindustan Times

The regime of IT laws and the need for it.

India got its first IT act on 17th October 2000, as India is a country that has a powerful judiciary and a well-defined constitution in place. But the newly emerging Cyberspace had many new problems which made already existing statute’s interpretation tough, so to tackle this problem IT act 2000 was introduced.

Some controversies and need for amendment.

When the IT act 2000 was introduced, India was a novice to the terms like e-commerce, open market, and internet transactions. But India did quite well to develop in the IT sector and this was what led the Internet to permeate throughout the Indian society.

  1. Shreya Singhal vs UOI

This is the landmark judgment case that invalidated Section 66A of the IT act 2000 on the basis of Article 19(1)(a) which guarantees free speech only to citizens of India.

2. Safe harbor provisions.

The IT act 2000 section 79 contains safe harbor provisions for intermediaries which exempted them from any liabilities just by following the letter of the act.

3. When the act was enacted the internet users were limited and hence it was not a potential threat to public order. But as the internet permeated society the users too increased, social media platforms became significant in a sense that they can even affect the sentiments of people be it in a positive or negative sense.

4. The potential shift from satellite television to OTT platforms.

This is how the need for new rules gathered momentum and finally, on 25th February 2021, IT rules 2021 were notified.

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