Tag: Cyber law in India

5 key factors about hacking and the laws

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

Photo curtsy: Google 

Hacking is undoubtedly one of the worst issues that one wants to deals with. Often I get to see women complaining about hacking of their social media accounts, people including men and women fearing about and getting victimized by way of hacking of their email accounts , net banking profiles and overall, the computer devices. New netizens are more prone to getting victimized by hacking; so are their parents if these netizens are pre-teens or teenagers. It is important to know some key factors which are associated with hacking. These are as below:
The five key factors which everyone should know about hacking:
1.    The term hacking is not defined in any uniform style. Different researchers have defined hacking in different ways. All most all academic definitions have indicated that computer hacking or cyber hacking may mean unauthorized access to the computer, computer data etc, changing the data without any authorization etc. In a way, it is directly related to unauthorized data privacy infringement. A ‘smart’ example could be the allegedly unauthorized access into the personal documents including bank access details of the TRAI chief by the ethical hackers when the TRAI chief threw challenge that  ADHAR ‘hack proof’.[1]
2.    Indian laws especially Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) does not address the issue as “hacking”. The issue is dealt with by not one, but three Sections, namely, Ss. 65 which prescribes punishment for tampering with computer source documents, 66, which prescribes punishment for computer related offences and 43, which speaks about Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system etc.
3.    Hacking may literally start with unauthorized access or securing to the computer, computer system, computer network etc. Accessing or ‘securing access’ can be done by various ways. This may also include giving way to the hackers by opening suspicious mails/messages or links. It is for this reason that new users of internet and digital technology must be extremely cautious while opening suspicious mails/links etc.
4.    Hacking may also include downloading/extracting data etc, modifying such data, reproducing that data in an altered form etc. It may also include unauthorized access to the computer or computer system or data etc and infecting the same with viruses which will immediately or gradually destroy all data, software etc stored in the computer and computer system. Hacking may necessarily include unauthorized accessing and then using of the computer network, email id, phone number or social media profile for impersonating and unethical gain. It is for this reason that often people complaint about hacking when their accounts have been unauthorisedly accessed, data extracted/accessed and modified and email ID/social media profiles etc are used for impersonating by way of a fake avatar.
5.    Hacking may also involve denial of services, which is why a computer or computer system  thus affected may not get connected to the internet easily and according to the wish of the real owner of the computer or computer system etc, but according to the wishes of the hacker only.
Now you may understand that when your computer shows activities which are not generally expected, you must be alarmed that your computer or the computer network or the computer system has been affected by hacking : typically your device may slow down for no reason, you may start getting to see that the data is altered, your net banking account or email or social media account’s password and username and the related phone number and email id may get changed without your authorization, your documents including your photo may get published or circulated elsewhere without your knowledge. Most scary of these is the camera device of your phone or laptop or Ipad (when they are on switch on mode) etc may become active even when you are not using the camera. It is for this reason that  cyber security experts suggest to not to use the electronic devices when one expects complete privacy from the outside world, like when one is in the washroom.
So, what about the punishment?
Do Indian laws address hacking as “hacking” ? The answer is NO.  But this does not mean that the act of hacking is not punishable.  As discussed above, when the constituting elements mentioned under points nos 3, 4 and 5 create unauthorized access to the computer, computer system,  data etc, Sections 65, 66 and 43 may immediately be applicable for booking the offences for tampering the computer source code, computer related offences and damage to the computer  system etc. As such there are two types of punishments that are prescribed for hacking related offences : punishment as per civil offences which are regulated by S.43 and punishments as per criminal nature of the offence, which are regulated by Ss. 65 and 66. In the later, the punishments may include imprisonment for a period upto three years  and/or fine which may extend to Rs. two lakhs. In case S.66 is applied, then the fine amount increases upto Rs. 5 lakhs. Again, if the act of hacking is judged as per S.43, then the provision would be read with S. 45 of the Information technology Act, which indicates that, a maximum of Rs. 25, 000/ may be paid as compensation to the victim for such offences (this is especially so because S.43 does not mention any specific amount of compensation and this lacuna is filled by S.45 which prescribes residuary penalty).  However, the recent trend may show that most of hacking related cases had been booked under Ss. 66, 65 and 43 so that the perpetrators may undergo jail term as well as are bound to pay fine.
Interestingly, the Information Technology Act does not restrict the criminal liability to a specific age as is seen in the Indian penal code. Hence, even if it is a computer genius as young as 10 or 12 years of age, he/she may not escape the clutches of law in case he/she has done the offence/s which may constitute hacking. Considering their age and maturity level, Juvenile Justice  (care and protection) Act , 2015 may also be applicable.  Again, this would NOT mean that parents would be considered completely innocent. Very recently the courts in Gujarat had made the parents liable for underage kids driving two and four wheelers.  If the children are arrested, the parents may have to pay for negligence in monitoring the wrong doing of their children.
I end this piece with a positive note: if we adults are aware, then our children will also be aware and we can prevent the digital as well as real life privacy infringement in a swift way.

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2018), “ 5 key factors  about hacking and the laws”  3rd September, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com


[1] See Rachel Chitra(2018), Hackers deposit Re 1 in Trai chief’s account. Published in https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hackers-deposit-re-1-in-trai-chiefs-account/articleshow/65190556.cms on 30/07/2018

“Gang raped” in the assembly

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER

By the middle of this week, we the curious watchers of legal battle between Google and 20 more websites and the Indian courts got a “nice” surprise …not from the Google, or from Facebook or even from the rest of those websites, neither from the courts and legal fraternity; but from three ministers in Karnataka state, which is known to have India’s first and most famous cyber crime police cell. When the assembly was being stormed by some very important debate, one of these ministers allegedly was  looking at a clipping which involved sex, abuse of woman, violence and probably violation of internet decency codes. The news reports suggested that it was the minister for cooperation who had the mobile phone device placed between his lap and the desk and started watching the clipping. He then started “flipping pictures of women” . The other two ministers joined him out of curiosity (see http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/karnataka/article2869723.ece). Who were the other two ministers? One was in charge of ecology, environment and ports; the other was none other than the minister in charge of women and child welfare. The ministers were immediately indicted and later they had voluntarily resigned from their posts. Even though they argued that they were seeing the clipping of a gang-rape incidence that was sent to the mobile phone device, their argument needs to be proved. But the issue that really moved me was, probably no human being can resist himself from viewing sex-related video images…but seeing these stuff in the assembly? No way… quite a long ago Bombay High court refused to provide a blanket ban on porn materials in the internet. I had even discussed about it in my earlier blogs. The high court rightly held that law cannot stop a person’s sexual rights (including right to be aroused by viewing such materials), if these materials are gained in the legal way and seen in private.  
Such materials could be gained in the legal way  as per the Indian laws, if they do not violate sections 66E, 67, 67A and B of the information Technology Act, 2008  specifically which prohibit voyeurism and publishing and transmitting of obscene, sexually explicit materials to anyone including children; and off course  sections 292, 293 of the Indian penal code, which prohibits sale of obscene books etc to anyone including children, 375, which discusses about rape, and 509  of the I.P.C,which is a popular provision used by the police for indicting  the perpetrator for creating nasty profiles in the social networking sites. Well, these are just a few provisions which prevent sexual exploitation, rather “slavery” of women and children, and also men (leaving aside provisions for rape and 509) online. But the law does not roll up its sleeve here. There are many other provisions which could be brought in to prevent the “world wide web” to transmit the humiliation. All were glaringly violated on this very day. First, the ministers saw the sex-clippings violating the core decorum of the assembly; second, if these were the pictures of gang rape incidence that were transmitted to them by someone else, as alleged by them, they did not immediately made a note to the assembly, which they should have, especially since the minister for women and child development was also involved; third, the clipping itself being shrouded in controversy, they may have also violated the legal provisions meant for internet sex-offences as I mentioned above. The ultimate result… a real gang rape of laws meant to prevent sexual exploitation of women online.
It is hoped that very soon the incidence will be probed and the real story behind the hush-hash viewing of the clippings by the ministers will be revealed; probably they will positively testify their own argument. But the underlying fact remains the same….. Audio-visual clips of naked or semi nude women writhing in pain gained from sexual intercourse,  transmitted through digital technology  to millions,  are the best entertaining materials even in a busy and important commitment like making ,breaking or deciding the fate of the laws in the parliament…………….. Shame……
** The author does not intend to hurt anybody’s political sentiments. This is an independent view of the author and the author has expressed her views in her own right towards exercising freedom of speech. If anybody feels hurt, the author apologises in advance.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), ““Gang raped” in the assembly, 10th February,2012, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/

Defaming women in the Indian cyber space; does anybody bother about penal laws?

CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN

When I was a new internet user, I loved to experiment with my virtual avatar by befriending one and all. I never used to think this may bring unwanted “danger” or “perpetual nuisance”. At first, it was hotmail where I created an account and way back in 2004/5 , my email was the only identity for me in the cyber space. There were no social networking and no online chatting options available to me other than the yahoo messenger which I used to talk to my sister who stays over seas. Well, I had very limited knowledge about networking then. But slowly internet addicted me. I became quite a darling to internet predators who invaded my yahoo id…..I started getting funny mail messages and I sometimes ignored them, sometimes answered very foolishly. But, “they” never crossed their limits. In a way, probably these “senders” understood that I am not a good dish either for them or for the purpose of serving to others as I never shared any of my pictures or informations online and I was never interested in “intimate chattings”. But never mind, I won’t lie….. Sometimes, I loved those pranky messages. In no time, I was introduced to social networking and I used to hit the sites at least twice a day. I found a new world altogether. This time also, I never minded to choose friends randomly whoever peeped in. I felt quite comfortable to share my informations this time, as I believed, most of them out there are telling the truth. But yes, by the third month, I understood why it is called the “vicious net”. I saw quite a lot of groups or communities making fun of women…………..ordinary individuals as well as celeb women. I was not surprised when I saw some filthy comments in my own scrap book too. I knew it was time for me to close doors to unknown visitors. I did exactly that. But I still I cant accept when I see people making fun of women in the internet. Sadly, Indian women are humiliated by their counterparts not only in the real world, but in the “unreal world” too. It has become quite a fashion to use the computer keyboard to undress a woman and tell a tale about her to others. Remember “pen is mightier than sword” theory? Some “nuts” execute the theory in a digital fashion in most unwanted way.
But hey, come’ on. We have a strict law against it. The Indian Information Technology Act 2008 voices the concern .Remember, if some one wants to defame the woman online with false “stories” (enough to make the victim “annoyed” and the recipient “confused”) and sends it to a huge audience for cherishing the “gossip”, Section 66A will promptly sentence him/her for imprisonment which may extend to two to three years; If the perpetrator prefers to put on filthy “lascivious” words and pictures of his victim/s by doctoring her/their picture, then section 67 awaits for you with imprisonment sentences which may lock you in for two to three years; if the perpetrator wants to make the victim “ashamed”, “disgusted” or “traumatized” by publishing compromising pictures where he claims to accompany his victim, no matter what, be prepared to be “in” for minimum five years under section 67 A. Perpetrator, you may not be allowed to move freely because if section 67A tames you, there may not be any bail. And, do not forget the monetary fines along with imprisoning sentences. Your bank balance may become NIL . Ohhhh..wait.. Indian Penal code will play a foremost role to book the perpetrator under several strong sentences too; sections 500,501 and 509 will be the foremost of them when the question involves defamation and ruining the modesty of the woman. Section 292 A also awaits to be “employed” in, if the perpetrator plans to circulate doctored pictures, pictures of intimate moments or ‘please keep secret’ stuff to blackmail his victim.

So, next time if you want to hurt a woman in the most chosen mischievous fashion, remember, it is no more a “child’s play”.