Technology and Cyber Legal Challenges
Technology plays an eminent role in the digital cashless economy.
Technology plays an eminent role in the digital cashless economy. The author outlines certain cyber legal challenges faced in the modern digital world.
The commercial introduction of the internet to the country was on August 15, 1995. The introduction of the internet brought in an irreversible modification to all sort of professions in the country. At present, the country has over 50 crore internet users and the number is growing massively with each passing day, which tells us the importance or the need for the internet in our daily lives. The power of the internet has grown massively and it has the potential of changing one’s life entirely.
The emerging technologies bring forward certain legal challenges. For instance, artificial intelligence is not considered to be a legal entity. To tackle tricky situations concerning AI, legal frameworks for AI are being developed. Artificial Intelligence Law Hub is created in Delhi which works on cutting edge legal principles to regulate AI at a global level.
The whole world is under digitization. Legal professionals leave a lot of electronic footprints of what has been their past. A client today is extremely well informed. People get influenced by what they read or see on the web.
Traditionally, it was just computers but now, we have so many devices, having access to the internet. These devices collect information that the user wouldn’t likely want to be collected. This information further may result in drastic consequences.
Blockchains are dealt with different scenarios in different countries. The finance minister of India declared bitcoins as illegal to maintain uniformity. This forced the crypto economy out of the country.
Internet and Law
Cyber Law is among the most important fields of law, today. It has been existing for more than two and a half decades. The definition of cyber laws has grown wider over these years. It incorporates all the aspects pertaining to legalities concerning the use of computers, electronic data and digital privacy.
Cyber law as a framework is constantly evolving ever since it was incorporated. This discipline assumes massive significance for everyone irrespective of the branch one is working on. The legal frameworks pertaining to the internet are now well established globally and in India as well.
It was in 1996 when the state of Utah, USA, became the first state in the US to come up with a Cyber Law[i].
- January 30, 1997, the UN General assembly called upon the member nations of UN Nations to come up with National Laws for promoting e-commerce.
- Introduction of Indian Information Technology Act, 2000.
- It is now the ultimate digital law in the country.
- It deals with various cyber-crimes.
- Electronic authentication is among the major objectives of the Act.
Internet and Legal Profession
Legal profession is the least changed profession in the last 200 years. However, the internet has now challenged to change at a lightning speed.
Artificial Intelligence tends to wipe out more than 65% of the strength of the paralegal industry from law firms. Legal professionals are expected to be in sync with the technology since people won’t stop coming for the experience and professional advice over the data available on the internet and AI assistance.
Mindset of people has changed due to advanced technology and numerous modes of communication. The clients lack patience because of the ease of connectivity with the lawyer. We should be aware and cautious while using technology as lawyers for the proper dealing of electronic evidence and personal digital safety.
Cyber legal Challenges
Our country is having a distinct challenge because there is no legal framework to support electronic or mobile payments. RBI has not adequately covered or regulated these aspects. Nonetheless, on June 2, 2016, RBI came up with a notification stating that all banks in India must have distinct cybersecurity which should be different from the IT Security Policy. Compliance with this has been a hefty job for most banks.
Digital mode of payment is basically a contract between the holder and the service provider. Issues related to this have not been covered under Information Technology Act or any other act.
Ever since its independence, our country has not implemented any privacy laws. The government has been pretty silent in the matter of privacy which is very unfortunate because it’s difficult to get people’s support without ensuring adequate security of privacy.
Internet and applications like WhatsApp collect and save data publicly and have legal rights to freely access it. Such electronic footprints are reliable evidence. It was held in the judgement of Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer[ii], September 18, 2014, that taking any kind of output from all electronic devices shall be valid legal electronic evidence.
Cyber Security of one’s personal data is the responsibility of the user more than the government. India is seeing a great Indian vomiting revolution. People are vomiting data on the internet about their personal, professional and social lives without giving much thought.
Few ways to protect privacy
- The information must be shared/broadcasted on social media only on a need-to-know basis.
- We must not save debit credit cards on our devices.
- Sharing of pin codes and passwords must be restricted.
- We must use secured apps like Telegram, Signal and so on.
Cyber Extremism is going through a very massive increase. There has been signing of numerous ethical hackers from India despite the knowledge that the potential employer is a terrorist organisation.
Law doesn’t recognize ethical hacking as a different concept than hacking, which is a punishable offense with imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine which may exceed 2 lakhs or both. Students are taught ethical hacking and when they aren’t employed, they use these skills in large number of criminal purposes. We don’t have a mechanism of potentially dealing with these kinds of scenarios.
Cybercrime is growing at a massive pace in the post-demonetization era. If India really aspires to be successful in the digital cashless economy, cybercrime must be curtailed. Our nation has dealt with less than a hundred cyber-related convictions in more than fourteen years which is an alarming situation for us.
We have problems in terms of trying to prove electronic evidence. We need to simplify our mobile and electronic evidence rule.
Recently, RBI has started addressing these issues. In February 2017, they came up with a new standing committee on cybersecurity who is responsible for monitoring the compliance of banks with the security. A bank is only one component of a cashless economy. As users, we also need to contribute towards a better tomorrow. We need to protect our digital identity.
Aadhaar act has been passed in a great amount of hurry. The issues pertaining to either cyber security or protection of privacy have not been addressed properly. Aadhaar is the digital identity of any person and further, the act makes the holder responsible for the biometrics and casualties related to Aadhaar till the time the misuse is reported.
There is a dire need to inculcate the culture of cybersecurity. There must be a dedicated law on cyber security. The Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 is not adequately dealing with the realities of today’s digital transactions. including these transactions, there are a lot more areas of the cyber world that need to be monitored and cannot be overlooked anymore.
We must come up with legal provisions to protect India’s critical information structure like Germany. China as well is coming up with distinct National laws on National security including cybersecurity. In November 2016, China came up with Cyber Security Legislation.
The author, Tushar Srivastava, is an ambitious legal enthusiast. The driving cause of choosing law as a career is to build bridges between people and the complexities of the law in layman's language.
- Cyber Security – Challenges & Solutions, Convergence India Expo, Available Here
- What is Ethical Hacking?, EC-Council, Available Here
[i] The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) was the United States Congress’s first notable attempt to regulate pornographic material on the Internet
[ii] AIR 2014 SC 4226