In today’s techno-savvy environment, the world is becoming more and more digitally sophisticated and so are the crimes. Internet was initially developed as a research and information sharing tool and was in an unregulated manner. As the time passed by it became more transactional with e-business, e-commerce, e-governance and e-procurement etc. All legal issues related to internet crime are dealt with through cyber laws. As the number of internet users is on the rise, the need for cyber laws and their application has also gathered great momentum. 6 In today’s highly digitalized world, almost everyone is affected by cyber law. For example:
- Almost all transactions in shares are in demat form.
- Almost all companies extensively depend upon their computer networks and keep their valuable data in electronic form.
- Government forms including income tax returns, company law forms etc. are now filled in electronic form.
- Consumers are increasingly using credit cards for shopping.
- Most people are using email, cell phones and SMS messages for communication.
- Even in “non-cybercrime” cases, important evidence is found in computers / cell phones e.g. in cases of divorce, murder, kidnapping, tax evasion, organized crime, terrorist operations, counterfeit currency etc.
- Cyber-crime cases such as online banking frauds, online share trading fraud, source code theft, credit card fraud, tax evasion, virus attacks, cyber sabotage, phishing attacks, email hijacking, denial of service, hacking, pornography etc are becoming common.
- Digital signatures and e-contracts are fast replacing conventional methods of transacting business.
Technology per se is never a disputed issue but for whom and at what cost has been the issue in the ambit of governance. The cyber revolution holds the promise of quickly reaching the masses as opposed to the earlier technologies, which had a trickledown effect. Such a promise and potential can only be realized with an appropriate legal regime based on a given socio-economic matrix.