What Are Cyber Laws?
Cyber Laws relate to the regulations that affect the transactions of individuals in Cyber Space namely the imaginary transaction area that seems to exist when two computers exchange data. These laws can be divided into four broad categories namely, 1. Laws Relating to Digital Contracts
2. Laws Relating to Digital Property
3. Laws Relating to Digital Rights
4. Law of Cyber Crimes
The Law of Digital Contracts:
Contracts are the lifeblood of business. They are agreements between two or more parties which can be enforced in a Court of Law. The Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA-2000) has given legal recognition in India for “Electronic Documents” and “Digital Signatures” so that in any context, if a document is to be in written form and signed for it to be legally valid, the document can be rendered as an Electronic Document and “Digitally Signed”. There are a few documents which are exempted from this recognition and they include documents relating to transfer or sale of immovable properties, wills, power of attorney documents, Trust deeds, promissory Notes and Bills of Exchange. Excepting these exempted cases therefore, in India, Electronic documents have an universal recognition today. The “Digital Signature” is an important component of the Contract law and only a system using a standard one way hash algorithm for data integrity check and a standard asymmetric Crypto system using the Private and Public Key combination for encryption is defined as a valid “Digital Signature”. For issuing the standard key generation systems to the public, the Government is licensing agencies called “Certifying Authorities” who will on application from a member of the public issue a “Digital Certificate” based on certain approved procedures. The Digital Certificate will contain such details as the name and address of the holder, his e-mail address, a serial number and date of expiry. Presently four agencies have been licensed for this purpose including IDRBT (a Division of RBI) and NIC. Two private sector CA s are Safe Scrypt and TCS. In addition to giving recognition of electronic documents and digital signatures under the Indian law, ITA-2000 has also clarified how we can determine the time and place of a electronic document execution when it is transmitted from one place to other. In simple terms, the usual place of residence of the sender/receiver of an electronic message would be considered as the place from which a document is executed by such sender /receiver. The time of sending is normally when the message leaves the sender’s system. If the receiver has designated the e-mail address to which the messages are to be sent on his behalf, the time of receipt is considered as the time when the message enters the system of the receiver whether or not he has seen the message. With the passage of this law therefore any electronic document which includes a webpage, e-mail or any other computer generated document can be held against the originator for legal purpose. If the document is not digitally signed, it would still be valid just like a “Oral Contract”. Another important aspect of the law of Digital Contracts is that any automatic system which can be a hardware or a software (eg: Servers, Routers, Programmes etc) can be considered as an “Agent” of its owner and any action taken by such a device or a programme may be legally held to be an action taken by the owner himself. Laws Relating to Digital Property:
The Information Technology Act was enacted to give a boost to E-Commerce and hence it focused more on the Digital Contracts and Cyber Crimes. It did not focus on “Digital Property”. Hence there is no specific law in India other than the extended meaning of regular laws of physical property to address the issues arising out of Digital Property. For example, “Domain Name” is an important digital property which any website owner possesses. But who owns it and how it can be...
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