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CURRENT INTERNATIONAL LAWS FOR CYBER CRIMES- NEED OF A NEXT STEP

Introduction

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of Cyber incident to ruin it” – Stephane Nappo

These words quoted by Stephane, not “eureka” worthy, but still need to be taken with a pinch of salt by the ones in charge around the world. The nations which are currently ruling the world in the area of cyber security and statutes have been determined by a team of Harvard researchers based on the NCPI i.e. National Cyber Power Index.


NCPI (explanation)

You must be wondering, What’s NCPI and how does it concern our topic?

The research team has very smartly come up with this concept using “all of country approach” through which they ascertained 7 national objectives that countries pursue with the help of Cyber technology which can be stated as below:

1. Keeping a track of Domestic Groups

2. Improving National Cyber Defences

3. Having a hold on the Information Environment

4. Collecting Foreign Intelligence for National Security

5. Strengthening Growth of Domestic Industry

6. Destroying Infrastructure and Capabilities of Rivals

7. Delineating Technical Standards and Norms of International Cyber Laws


Cyber Powers used by various Countries and their rank analysis

This can also be categorised as the following cyber powers used by the countries based on their capabilities and efficiency:

a. Surveillance: China ranks first in this category as it has the most powerful cyber network, followed by Russia and USA.

b. Commerce: China tops the list again followed by USA.

c. Defense: China is on the top of the list where Netherland and France are 2nd and 3rd respectively whereas USA is at the 4th position and Canada is 5th.

d. Additional Categories: Even though China is giving a tough competition to the world in the stream of Cyber Security and crimes, USA is leading in cyber offence which includes cyber intelligence as well as norms.

According to the research only 5 countries managed to make it up to the list of efficient cyber crime redressal plot which is topped by USA. The United States manages to be at the top, but China is growing at a commendable speed as it is contributing a lot for the R&D of the technologies that helps the country to achieve its objectives.


International Cyber-laws and Laws for Cyber-crime in India

As per the research and the known facts USA has been the global leader in making and reforming cyber laws. The smooth working of cyber security in the USA is backed by the 10 specific laws structured by them for cyber-crimes.

At this time when too many countries have already started to pay noticeable attention for structuring cyber laws, India is lacking behind as it still relies upon the IT Act i.e. The Information Technology Act, 2000 and by making amendments in the existing Acts in the country such as The Indian Penal Code (IPC), Indian Evidence Act, Banker’s Book Evidence, etc. which are clearly not sufficient for the number of cases/ crimes registered.


Data Analysis of Cyber-crime in India

Isn’t it disturbing to know that India has not come up with a specific or concrete act for cyber security in an era where there is multi-fold increase in the number of cyber-crimes every passing day?

According to the FBI’s crime report on the internet in 2021, 8,47,376 complaints of cyber-crime were registered in the FBI. As per the calculations, there were not less than 2,200 cyberattacks per day. This means, one cyber-attack took place in every 39 seconds.

Research shows that there have been a sudden hike in the cases of cyber-crime since 2018 as India reported 2,08,456 cases in that year, followed by 3,94,499 cases in the year 2019, 11,58,208 cases in 2020 , 14,02,809 cases in 2021 and 2,12,485 cases in the FIRST TOW MONTHS of 2022.

Conviction in the cyber-crime cases in India continues to be very low, even though the crimes which are recorded, have more than doubled in the preceeding 2 years.

During the same period, 3,206 cases were filed while convictions were made merely in 234 cases. It is quite possible that some of the cases that were recorded in the chargesheets could not make it to the convictions from the past years. For example, 9,622 cases were recorder in the chargesheet but only 76 cases made it to the level of investigation in 2016.


Response of Cyber professionals and Government w.r.t. Laws related to cyber-crime

In a recent interview of Mr. Pavan Duggal, Cyber Law Expert in India; the expert mentioned that it is because of the lack of importance given to the existence of a separate act for cyber-crimes. The expert also stated that the UG has been dedicated development of the cyber security for quite some time but it will not have a statutory penal force behind the same. Which means this too won’t help us achieve the object of establishing a specific law for cyber-crime which will look after the cyberspace and cyberspace only and not generalise all the technologies in one single act.

The expert Pavan Duggal also mentioned that there was bill tabled before the Parliament in December 2019 for Personal Data Protection which has not been passed yet. He specially stressed upon the non-adequacy of the current laws which are being used for protection against cyber-crimes and the need for more effective legal framework and stringent provisions to fight cyber-crime.


Conclusion

From all this Information we can at least say that there are measures being taken for cyber security but we definitely need to work harder if we want to sustain the competition in cyberspace. To conclude I’d like to quote the words of Jeh Johnson , “Cyber security is a shared responsibility, and it boils down to this: in cyber security, the more systems we secure, the more secure we all are.”


References:

· Various news channels (Zee News, NDTV, etc.)


This article is written by Komal Majethia of Mumbai University.

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