March 5, 2021

Cyber Offences v Cyber Contraventions: A Brief Analysis

Introduction:

Cyber Crimes are offences associating to computers, information technology, internet and virtual reality. It is covered under section 65-74 of the Information Technology Act of 2000.Many of the same offense can be committed with a computer or smart phone, including theft or child pornography, which were committed in person prior to the computer age. Cyber Crime is an illegitimate action carried out where the computer is either a tool or target or both. It includes unauthorized access of computers, data diddling, virus attack, theft of computer system, hacking and web jacking[1].

Cyber Crimes is perhaps the most complicated problem in the cyber world. The cyber criminals may be children and adolescents who are between the age group of six to eighteen years, organized hackers, professional hackers or even a discontented employee. On the other hand, Cyber Contravention are civil wrongs for which the compensation is to be paid by the defaulting party. It is covered under section 43-45 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which deals with illegal access to computer system[2].

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It is said that India have the highest frequency of compliant filed than U.S, U.K and other technologically advanced countries. It is easy for the hackers to access the data stored. The computer has the characteristic of storing data in small space which is easier to steal and make profit. Negligence is one of the reasons which provides cyber-criminal access and control over the computer system[3] .

One of the reasons for increased cases of cyber crimes is dependency on technology that is on computer where people store important details. It is surprising to note that even the highly secured websites of Government are now getting hacked. The hackers generally send links to email or any social media and the victim or user click open the link and the hacker gets access to the computer system[4]. Hackers find this as an easy way to make money. They target individuals who are rich and have properties or like banks, financial firms who hack sensitive information and get huge amount of money.

Comparison Between Cyber Crimes and Cyber Contravention:

Cyber contravention is a civil wrong for which the defaulting party has to pay some amount as compensation. It may lead to civil prosecution. The defaulting party may be charged with up to 1crore. It is covered under section 43-45 of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which deals with illegal access to computer system or network. The investigation is done by the controller who is appointed by the Central Government under the provisions of the Act or an official authorized by him/her.

On the other hand, Cyber offences constitute cyber frauds and crimes which are criminal wrongs. The punishment of imprisonment and/or fine is prescribed by the Act. Cyber offences may lead to criminal prosecution. It is covered under Sections 65-74 of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which deals with serious cyber- crimes related to computer system and network. The offender can be punished with confinement, fine or both. Cyber offence investigation is done by the police officials not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police[5].

In simple terms, both are distinguished based on the type of wrongs that is civil or criminal wrong; the type of proceeding that is civil or criminal; who investigates the matter; nature and section covered under the act and lastly the punishment or the penalty for the offence committed.

Conclusion:

Cyber Crimes or offences is a new invention of crimes which is committed by intellectual and sophisticated criminals. These offences started to operate when computer technology went peak and took a new turn to satisfy human needs and desires. It is very much complicated for effective law enforcement as the criminals are well versed in using the technology. Sometimes, it provides benefits to the offenders. These crimes may happen or originate in any part of the world and may pass across different countries. Therefore, such situation may increase both technical and legal complexities of investigating and prosecuting it[6].

The Indian law has not given specific definition for the term ‘cyber-crime’. The Indian Penal Code has not included the term ‘cyber-crime’ even after the amendment by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act ,2008. But the term ‘Cyber-security’ is defined under Section (2)(b) of the IT Act,2000. Cyber offence is just a blend of crime and computer. The IT Act needs to get amended and update time to time to include offences which are not included in the Act. The rapid evolution of the Internet has also raised numerous legal issues and concerns over the time.

As the scenario continues, countries are still struggling and resorting to different approaches towards controlling, regulating and facilitating electronic communication and commerce[7]. Cyber -offences can be prevented by using a full -service internet security suite; using strong password; keep up to date on major security breaches; take measures to protect from identity theft[8].

References

[1] https://www.tutorialspoint.com/information_security_cyber_law/offences_and_penalties.htm

[2] https://www.slideshare.net/darshanchouhan121/cyber-contraventions-and-cyber-offences-under-the-it-act/Published on Oct 7, 2019

[3] https://krazytech.com/technical-papers/cyber-crime#:~:text=Causes%20of%20Cybercrime%3A,Catching%20such%20criminals%20is%20difficult/ By Ravi Bandakkanavar | April 25, 2020

[4] http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-797-an-analysis-on-cyber-crime-in-india.html

[5] https://www.studymumbai.com/cyber-contraventions-vs-cyber-offences/ FEBRUARY 13, 2015

[6] https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/66825/19/19_conclusion%20and%20suggestions.pdf

[7] https://www.juscholars.com/post/cyber-contraventions-to-what-extent-the-it-act-2000-deals-with-it

[8] https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-how-to-how-to-recognize-and-protect-yourself-from-cybercrime.html


Author Details: S Aparna (Sastra University)

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