CYBER OFFENCES UNDER INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000
A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT
CHAPTER - 1 INTRODUCTION
Internet has made revolutionary changes in almost every walk of life. The diffusion and proliferation of the medium has made tremendous impact in the way people gather information and communicate. Remarkable achievements in the Information Technology sector is really a matter of pride to India but the associated problem that is causing serious concern is the rapid raise in cyber crimes. With increased use of computers and Internet in homes and offices, there has been a proliferation of cyber crimes in India. These offences involve not only the use of computers but the Internet, cyberspace and the tools and techniques of World Wide Web as well.
Cyber crime possesses some unique qualities which create a series of challenges for our existing laws. These qualities are: its lack of respect for jurisdictional boundaries, its openness to participation, the potential for anonymity of members of the virtual community, and its apparent economic efficiency.
Definition of Cyber Crime
Cyber crimes which are also known as ‘Computer crimes’ or ‘Internet crimes’ can be defined as ‘any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrument, target or a means for perpetuating further crimes or offences or contraventions under any law’. The Cambridge dictionary defines Cyber Crimes as “Crimes committed with the use of computers or relating to computers, especially through the Internet”. These offences involve not only the use of computers but the Internet, cyberspace and the tools and techniques of World Wide Web as well. A simple definition of these crimes would be “unlawful acts wherein the equipment transforming the information be it a computer or a mobile is either a tool or a target or both”. Cybercrime has been defined as an act of crating, distributing, altering, stealing, misusing and destroying information through the computer manipulation of cyberspace; without the use of physical force and against the will and interests of the victim. As a concept, information and the victim can be an individual, a corporate person or as criminal law is defined: the state and society as a whole. At the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, in a workshop devoted to the issues of crimes related to computer networks, divided cybercrime into two categories and defined thus: a. Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime): Any illegal behavior directed by means of electronic operations that targets the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. b. Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crime): Any illegal behavior committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network. In a more strict sense, cyber crime can be defined as:
Any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrument, target or a means for perpetuating further crimes comes within the ambit of cyber crime. A generalized definition of cyber crime may be "unlawful acts, wherein the computer is either a tool or target or both". The computer may be used as a tool in the following kinds of activity-financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, pornography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, email spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, harassment, cyber stalking. The computer may, however, be target for unlawful acts in the following cases - unauthorized access to the computer, computer system, computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, email bombing, Trojan attacks, Internet time thefts, theft of computer system, physically damaging the computer system. Cyber crimes could be directed against individuals (in person or...
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