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KUVEMPU UNIVERSITY

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMMES


Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - B.Sc. (IT)
Master of Science in Information Technology - M.Sc. (IT)

B.Sc.(IT) - 6th Semester

BSIT - 64

Computer Ethics & Cyber Laws

Directorate of Distrance Education

Kuvempu University
Shankaraghatta, Shimoga District, Karnataka

In
collaboration
with

Universal Education Trust


Bangalore

II

Titles in this Volume :


BSIT - 63 Advanced Computer Networks
BSIT - 64 Computer Ethics & Cyber Laws

Prepared by UNIVERSAL EDUCATION TRUST (UET)


Bangalore

First Edition : May 2005


Second Edition : May 2012

Copyright by UNIVERSAL EDUCATION TRUST, Bangalore


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for Improvement of Study material
are invited by Universal Education Trust, Bangalore.
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Ph : 94480 - 42724

III

COMPUTER ETHICS AND CYBER LAWS


(BSIT - 64)

: Contributing Author :

Na. Vijayashankar,

[M.Sc., C.A.I.I.B., C.I.I.F., A.I.M.A.D.M]

Techno Legal Information Security Consultant

IV

V
a

Contents

Unit 1
WHAT IS COMPUTER ETHICS
1.0
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4

Introduction
Evolution of computer ethics: Some historical milestones
Defining the field of computer ethics:
Three levels of Computer Ethics
Check your progress:

Unit 2
TOPICS IN COMPUTER ETHICS
2.0
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.7

Introduction.
Computers in the workplace: Social and Ethical issues
Computer crime:
Privacy and anonymity
Intellectual property
Professional responsibility
Globalization
Check your progress:

Unit 3
ETHICS AND THE INTERNET
3.0

Introduction

14

VI
3.1
3.2
3.3

3.4

Distinct features
Types of problematic behavior
Internet and Moral Values
3.3.1
Fundamental Moral Values
3.3.2
Moral rules on the internet
Check your progress

Unit 4
A PROFESSIONALS CODE OF ETHICS
4.0
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4

19

Introduction
Functions of the Code of ethics
Limitations of the Code of ethics
The Ten Commandments for Computer Ethics
Check your progress

Unit 5
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE NET
5.0
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7

24

Introduction
Objective
We, Cyberspace and Our Lives
The Nature of the Net
Features of the Net
Geographical Indeterminacy
Information technological revolution and societal impact
Check your progress

Unit 6
SOURCES OF THE LAW
6.0
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
6.6
6.7

Introduction
Objective
Sources of law
The Significance of Legislation
The common law or uncodified law
Precedent as a Source of law
Branches of law
Check your progress

29

VII
Unit 7
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ATTEMPTED
LEGAL RESPONSE
7.0
7.1
7.2

7.3
7.4

34

Introduction
Objective
Primary assumptions of a legal system
7.2.1
Sovereignty
7.2.2
Territorial Enforcement
7.2.3
Notion of Property
7.2.4
Real Relationships
7.2.5
Paper Based Transactions
Role of the Judiciary in the evolving legal framework
Check your progress

Unit 8
CYBER CRIMES
8.0
8.1
8.2
8.3

8.4

8.5
8.6

Introduction
Objective
Cyber Crime A perspective
The Problem: Current Forms of Computer Crime
8.3.1
Infringements of Privacy
8.3.2
Economic offences
8.3.3
Computer Hacking
8.3.4
Computer Espionage
8.3.5
Software Piracy and other forms of Product Piracy
8.3.6
Computer Sabotage and Computer Extortion
8.3.7
Computer Fraud
8.3.8
Illegal and harmful contents
Other Offences
8.4.1
Attacks on Life
8.4.2
Organized Crime
8.4.3
Electronic Warfare
Classification of Cyber Crimes in I.T. Act, 2000
Check your progress

38

VIII
Unit 9
CYBER CONTRACTS
9.0
9.1
9.2
9.3

9.4
9.5
9.6
9.7
9.8
9.9
9.10
9.11
9.12
9.13

9.14

47

Introduction
Objective
Cyber Contract
Essentials of a contract
9.3.1
Intention to be bound
9.3.2
Offer and Acceptance
9.3.3
Concept of offer
9.3.4
Offer by and to whom
9.3.5
Statements which are not offers
Termination of offer
Quality of acceptance
Consideration
Capacity of the parties
Consent
Unlawful agreements
Persons bound by contract
Performance and frustration
Subsequent Events and Frustration
Remedies for Breach of Contract
9.13.1 Damages
9.13.1.1
Penal Stipulations
9.13.2 Specific performance
9.13.3 Injunctions
Check your progress

Unit 10
CYBER PRIVACY
10.0
10.1
10.2
10.3

Introduction
Objective
Cyber Privacy A perspective
Policy approaches to privacy concerns
10.3.1 Market approach
10.3.2 Human rights approach
10.3.3 Contract approach
10.4 Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P)
10.5 Check your progress

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IX
Unit 11
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 (I.T. ACT, 2000)
11.0
11.1
11.2
11.3
11.4
11.5
11.6
11.7
11.8
11.9
11.10
11.11
11.12

65

Introduction
Objective
The Information Technology Act, 2000: An overview
Transmission of electronic documents
Evidentiary presumptions of a secured electronic document
Certifying Authority (CA)
Controller of Certifying Authorities
Suspension of Certifying Authority
Digital Signature
Digital Signatures: Power of Central Government to make rules
Digital Signature Certificate
Revocation of Digital Signature Certificate
Check your progress

Unit 12
PENALTIES AND ADJUDICATION
12.0 Introduction
12.1 Objective
12.2 Penalties and adjudication: A brief overview
12.2.1 Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc
12.2.2 Penalty for failure to furnish information, return, etc
12.2.3 Residuary penalty (Section 45)
12.2.4 Power to adjudicate
12.3 Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal
12.4 Composition of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal
12.5 Right of Appeal to Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal
12.6 Procedures and powers of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal
12.7 Compounding of Contravention
12.8 Jurisdiction of Civil Courts
12.9 Appeal to High Court on order of Tribunal
12.10 Check your progress

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X
Unit 13
AMENDMENTS TO CURRENT LEGAL PROVISIONS
13.0 Introduction
13.1 Objective
13.1.1 Amendments to the Indian Penal Code
13.1.2 Amendments to the Indian Evidence Act , 1872
13.1.3 Amendment to the Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891
13.1.4 Amendment to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
APPENDIX - I
Sample Codes of Ethics and Guidelines
APPENDIX - II
The Information Technology Act, 2000
APPENDIX - III
Bibliographical Information

78

1
Unit 1

What is Computer Ethics

1.0 INTRODUCTION

omputer ethics is the analysis of the nature and social impact of computer technology and the
formulation and justification of the policies for the ethical use of such technology. Computer
ethics examine the ethical issues surrounding computer usage and the connection between ethics
and technology. It includes consideration of both personal and social policies for ethical use of computer
technology. The goal is to understand the impact of computing technology upon human values, minimize
the damage that technology can do to human values and to identify ways to use computer technology to
advance human values. The term computer ethics was coined in the mid 1970s by Walter Manor to refer
to that field of applied professional ethics dealing with ethical problems aggravated, transformed or created
by human technology. (James H Moor, 1997)
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with what is considered to be right and wrong. There are
many definitions of ethics such as codes of morals of a particular profession, the standards of conduct
of a given profession, agreement among people to do right and to avoid wrong. While whatever is
unethical is not necessarily illegal, in most cases, individuals or organizations when faced with an ethical
question are not considering whether to break the law.
Many companies or professional organizations develop their own code of conduct. A code of ethics is
a collection of principles intended as a guide for the members of a company or an organization.
The diversity of IT applications and the incremental use of technology have created a variety of ethical
issues. Ethical issues can be classified into four kinds.
Privacy: Collection, storage and dissemination of information about individuals.


What information about oneself should an employer be required to reveal to others

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

2


What kind of surveillance can an employer use on its employees

What things can people keep to themselves and not be forced to reveal to others

What information about individuals should be kept in databases, and how secure is the information
there.

Accuracy: Authenticity, fidelity and accuracy of information collected and procured.




Who is responsible for the accuracy, fidelity and accuracy of information collected?

How can we ensure that information will be processed properly and presented accurately to the
users

How can we ensure that errors in databases, data transmissions and data processing are
accidental and not intentional?

Who is to be held responsible for errors in information, and how should the injured party be
compensated.

Property: Ownership and value of information (Intellectual Property)




Who owns the information

What are the just and fair prices for its exchange

How should one handle software piracy

Under what circumstances can one use proprietary databases

Can corporate computers be used for private purposes

How should experts who contribute their knowledge to create expert systems be compensated

How should access to information channels be allocated

Accessibility: Right to access information and payment towards the same.




Who is allowed to access information

How much should be charged for permitting accessibility to information

How can accessibility be provided for employees with disability

Who will be provided with equipment needed for accessing information

What information does a person or a organization have a right or a privilege to obtain under what
conditions and safeguards (Mason, 1995, Ethics of Information Management)

Unit 1 - What is Computer Ethics

Computer ethics is a dynamic and complex field of study, which considers the relationships between
facts, policies and values with regard to constantly changing computer technology. Computers provide us
with new capabilities and thus the society benefits from increased choices for action. The basic problem
in computer ethics is that a constantly changing computer technology is essentially involved and there is
uncertainty regarding the issues being thrown up and mode of dealing with them. Thus a typical problem
in computer ethics arises because there is a policy vacuum about how computer technology is to be used.
Either there are no policies for conduct in newly emerging situations or the existing policies are inadequate
as they were formulated without keeping technology in mind. A central task in computer ethics is to
determine what we should we do in such cases.
The focus is on professional ethics, privacy concerns, property issues, accountability and social
implications, which form the core issues in computer ethics. Included in the scope of computer ethics is
standards of professional practice, codes of ethics, aspects of computer law, public policy, corporate
ethics etc. (James H Moor, 1997)

1.1 EVOLUTION OF COMPUTER ETHICS: SOME


HISTORICAL MILESTONES
The computer revolution is occurring in two stages. The first stage was that of technology introduction
in which computer technology was developed and refined. The second stage is of technological permeation
in which technology gets integrated into everyday human activities. Thus evolution of computer ethics is
tied to the wide range of philosophical theories and methodologies, which is rooted in the understanding of
the technological revolution from introduction to permeation.
In the 1940s and 1950s computer ethics as a field of study had its roots in the new field of research
called cybernetics-the science of information feedback systems undertaken by Professor Norbert Weiner.
The concepts of cybernetics led Weiner to draw some remarkable ethical conclusions about the technology
that is now called information and communication technology. He foresaw revolutionary social and ethical
consequences with the advance of technology. In his view the integration of computer technology into
society would eventually constitute the remaking of society, which he termed as the second industrial
revolution. He predicted that workers would have to adjust to radical changes in the workplace,
governments would need to establish new laws and regulations, industries would need to create new
policies and practices, professional organizations would need to develop new code of conduct for their
members, sociologists and psychologists would need to study and understand new social and psychological
phenomena and philosophers would need to rethink and redefine old social and ethical concepts. In the
1960s Don parker of SRI Inc. began to examine the unethical and illegal uses of computers by computer
professions. He published Rules of Ethics in Information Processing and headed the development of
the first code of professional conduct for he association of computing machinery. The 1970s saw Walter
Maner coin the term Computer Ethics to refer to that field of inquiry dealing with ethical problems
aggravated, transformed by computer technology. He disseminated his starter Kit in computer ethics,

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

which contained curriculum materials and guidelines to develop and teach computer ethics. By the 1980s
a number of social and ethical consequences of information technology were becoming public issues in
America and Europe. Issues like computer enabled crime, disasters caused by computer failures, invasions
of privacy through computer databases etc become the order of the day. This led to an explosion of
activities in the field of computer ethics. The 1990s heralded the beginning of the second generation of
computer ethics. Past experience led to the situation, which helped to build and elaborate the conceptual
foundation while developing the frameworks within which practical action can occur, thus reducing the
unforeseen effects of information technology application.

1.2 DEFINING THE FIELD OF COMPUTER ETHICS


In the mid-70s Walter Manor coined the term Computer Ethics which was to include an examination
of the ethical problems aggravated, transformed by computer technology. He surmised that some old
ethical problems were made worse by computers while others were wholly new due to information
technology. Deborah Johnson in her book Computer Ethics defined the field as one which studies the
way in which computers pose new versions of standard moral values and moral dilemmas, reopening of
old problems and the necessity of applying ordinary moral norms to new areas emerging from information
technology. Her contention was that computers gave a new twist to old ethical issues, which were already
well known. James Moors definition of computer ethics in his article What is computer ethics was
much broader and more wide-ranging than that of Maner or Johnson. Moors definition has been the most
influential one. He defined computer ethics as a field concerned with policy vacuums and conceptual
muddles regarding the social and ethical use of information technology. In an another way of understanding
computer ethics, the approach taken by Weiner in his book The Human Use of Human Beings defines
computer ethics as the identification and analysis of the impact of information technology upon human
values like health wealth, opportunity, freedom, democracy, knowledge, privacy, security, self-fulfillment,
etc. This broad view of computer ethics embraces applied ethics, sociology of computing, technology
assessment and computer law.

1.3 THREE LEVELS OF COMPUTER ETHICS


Computer ethics questions can be raised and studied at various levels. Each level is vital to the overall
goal of protecting and advancing human values.
On the most basic level, computer ethics tries to sensitize people to the fact that computer technology
has social and ethical consequences. Newspapers, magazines and TV news programs have highlighted
the topic of computer ethics by reporting on events relating to computer viruses, software ownership law
suits, computer aided bank robbery, computer malfunction, computerized weapons etc. These articles

Unit 1 - What is Computer Ethics

have helped to sensitize the public at large to the fact that computer technology can threaten human
values as well as advance them.
The second level consists of someone who takes interest in computer ethics cases, collects examples,
clarifies them, looks for similarities and differences, reads related works, attends relevant events to make
preliminary assessments and after comparing them, suggests possible analyses.
The third level of computer ethics referred to as theoretical computer ethics applies scholarly theories
from philosophy, social science, law etc. to computer ethics cases and concepts in order to deepen the
understanding of issues. All three level of analysis are important to the goal of advancing and defending
human values. (James H Moor, 1997)

1.4 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

Define computer ethics.

2.

Explain the four classifications of ethical issues.

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

6
Unit 2

Topics In Computer Ethics

2.0 INTRODUCTION

2.1 COMPUTERS IN THE WORKPLACE: SOCIAL AND


ETHICAL ISSUES

omputers as a universal tool can in principle perform any task and hence pose a threat to jobs.
They are far more efficient than humans in performing many tasks. Therefore economic incentives
to replace humans with computerized devices are very high. In the industrialized world many
workers doing jobs as bank tellers, autoworkers, telephone operators, typists, graphic artists, already have
been replaced by computers. Even professionals like medical doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants
and psychologists are finding that computers can perform many traditional duties performed by workers
and professionals.
On the other hand the computer industry has generated a wide range of new jobs in the form of
hardware engineers, software engineers, system analysts, webmasters, information technology teachers,
computer sales clerks etc. Even when a job is not eliminated by computers, the job profile could be
radically altered. An airline pilot for example gets to fly the plane with less manual effort with the assistance
of a computer. In other work places computerized devices actually perform the needed tasks. In this way
computers tend to cause de-skilling of workers, turning workers into passive observers. In other cases,
new jobs generated by the advent of computers have required new sophisticated skill to perform. Job
gains and losses are to be viewed in the context of the society we live in. Thus ethical questions regarding
the fate of people who have been displaced by the advent of computer needs to be addressed.
Another workplace issue concerns health and safety. When information technology is introduced into

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

Unit 2 - Topics In Computer Ethics

the work place it is important to consider likely impact upon health and job satisfaction of workers who
will use it. The advent of stress in the workplace due to the introduction of computers is becoming more
and more evident. The threat to the health of the workers from exposure to monitor radiation and repetitive
stress injury is becoming pronounced. These are just two of the social and ethical questions that arise
when information technology is introduced into the workplace.

2.2 COMPUTER CRIME


In the era of computer viruses and spying by hacking, computer security is a topic of concern in
the field of computer ethics. Computer crime can be can be looked into from five different aspects:
1. Privacy and confidentiality
2. Integrity Ensuring that data and programs are not modified without proper authority
3. Unimpaired service
4. Consistency: Ensuring that data and behavior we see today will be the same tomorrow.
5. Controlling access to resources.
Malicious kinds of software or programmed threats provide a significant challenge to computer security.
These include viruses which cannot run on their own but are inserted into other computer programs.
Worms are software that are programmed to move from machine to machine across networks and
could consist of parts of themselves running on different machines; Trojan horses are programs which
tend to appear as a sort of program but actually end up doing damage behind the scenes; logic bombs
check for particular favorable conditions and then execute when such conditions arise and bacteria or
rabbits are programs which are programmed to multiply rapidly nod fill up the computers memory.
Computer crimes are normally committed by personnel who have the permission to use the system.
An hacker is one who enters the system without authorization. It is done to steal data, commit vandalism
or merely explore the system to see how it works and see what is contained. However every act of
hacking is harmful as it involves the unauthorized entry into a system thus in fact trespassing into a
persons private domain. Even if the hacker did indeed make no changes, a computers owner must run
through a costly and time-consuming investigation of the compromised system (Spafford, 1992).

2.3 PRIVACY AND ANONYMITY


One of the earliest computer ethics topics to arouse public interest was privacy. The ease and efficiency
with which computers and computers networks an be used to gather, store, search, compare, retrieve and
share personal information, make computer technology threatening to anyone who wish to keep various

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

kinds of sensitive information out of public domain or out of the hands of those who are perceived as
potential threats. During the past decade, commercialization and rapid growth of the internet, the rise of
the world wide web, increasing user friendliness and processing power of the computers, decreasing
costs of computer technology have led to new privacy issues such as taking data without authorization,
data mining, data matching, workplace monitoring, recording of click trails on the web and so on.
The concept of privacy itself has undergone a sea change over the period of time. Initially privacy
was defined as control over personal information[Weston, 1967]. Later interpretation was that control
of personal information was insufficient to establish or protect privacy and that the concept of privacy
was best defined in terms of restricted access not control[Moor, 1997]. Yet another interpretation was
that privacy also existed in public places and thus a definition of privacy must take into account privacy
in public[Nassenbaum, 1998]. As anonymity provides the same benefits as privacy, questions regarding
anonymity and privacy are discussed in the same context. Anonymity and privacy can be helpful in
preserving human values, but at the same time it can be exploited to facilitate unwanted and undesirable
computer aided activities in cyberspace such as money laundering etc.
Information privacy is the right to control the disclosure of and access to ones personal information.
The internet has facilitated a significant abuse of the principles of disclosure and access. Information
privacy is violated when the individual:


Does not know what information is being collected about them

Cannot limit access to what is being collected

Cannot control the use and distribution of this information

Cannot correct erroneous data and out-of-date information.

Since their inception, computers have facilitated the violation of privacy of individual information. In
order to protect privacy of an individual, the computer professionals Code of Ethics also came out with
guidelines that a computer professional should:


Take precautions to ensure accuracy of data

Protect it from unauthorized access

Protect from accidental disclosure to inappropriate individuals

Establish procedures to allow individuals to review their records and correct inaccuracies

Define retention and disposal periods for information.

The concern to protect privacy from large centralized databases of personalized information led to
formulation of numerous legislations. Data collection principles focus on:

Unit 2 - Topics In Computer Ethics

Collection limitation: Data should be obtained lawfully and fairly; some very sensitive data should
not be collected at all.

Data quality: Data should be relevant to the stated purposes, accurate, complete and up to date;
proper precautions should be taken to ensure this accuracy.

Proper specification: The purposes for which data will be used should be identified and the data
should be destroyed if they no longer serve the given purpose.

Use limitation: Use of data for purposes other than specified is forbidden, except with the
consent of the data subject or by authority of the law.

Security safeguards: Agencies should establish safeguards to guard against loss, corruption,
destruction or misuse of data.

Openness: It must be possible to acquire information about the collection, storage and use of
personal data.

Individual participation: The data subject had the right to access and challenge personal data.

Privacy policy guidelines for databases include guidelines for data collection, data accuracy and data
confidentiality.

Data collection


Data should be collected on individuals only for the purpose of accomplishing a legitimate business
objective.

Data should be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the business objective.

Individuals must give their consent before data pertaining to them can be gathered. Such consent
may be implied from the individuals actions.

Data Accuracy


Sensitive data gathered on individuals should be verified before it is entered into the database.

Data should be accurate and where and when necessary kept current.

The file should be made available so the individual can ensure that the data is correct.

If there is disagreement about the accuracy of the data, the individuals version should be noted
and included with any disclosure of the file.

Data confidentiality


Computer security procedures should be implemented to provide reasonable assurance against

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

10

unauthorized disclosure of data. They should include physical, technical and administrative
security measures.


Third parties should not be given access to data without the individuals knowledge or permission,
except as required by law.

Disclosures of data, other than the most routine, should be noted and maintained for as long as
the data is maintained

Data should not be disclosed for reasons incompatible with the business objective for which
they are collected. (Mason, 1995)

The overriding positive value of the internet is free information exchange. The privacy trade-off is that
the window that helps us to look out on the world is the same window that lets the world look in on us, and
this open window reduces our control over private information. The privacy problem on the internet has a
different flavor from what it had before- individuals now open doors to information about themselves
(Donald Gotterbarn).

2.4 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY


The issue of privacy receives much publicity because it affects almost every individual. In contrast,
the issue of protecting intellectual property is discussed less frequently because it affects only some
individuals and corporations. The issue is important for those who make their livelihood in knowledge
fields. Intellectual property is the tangible property created by individuals or corporations, which is protected
under trade secret, patent and copyright laws.
One of the more controversial areas of computer ethics concerns the intellectual property rights
connected with software ownership. Some people, like Richard Stallman who started the Free Software
Foundation believe that software ownership should not be allowed at all. He claims that all information
should be free, and all programs should be available for copying, studying and modifying by anyone who
wishes to do so (Stallman, 1993). Others argue that software companies or programmers would not invest
weeks or months or work and significant funds in the development of software if they could not get the
investment back in the form of license fees or sales (Johnson, 1992). Todays software industry is a
multibillion-dollar part of the economy and software companies claim to lose billions of dollars per year
through illegal copying (Software piracy). Many people think that software should be ownable, but
casual copying of personally owned programs for personal use should also be permitted (Nissenbaum,
1995). Ownership is a complex issue since there are several aspects of software that can be owned and
three different types of ownership: Copyrights, trade secrets and patents.
A trade secret is intellectual work, such as a business plan that is a company secret and is not public
information. An example of trade secret is a companys corporate strategic plan.

Unit 2 - Topics In Computer Ethics

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A patent is a document that grants the holder exclusive rights on an invention for a fixed period of time.
Patenting of software would be superior to copyright protection as it protects against later independent
development and not just actual copying.
Copyright is a statutory grant that provides the creators of intellectual property with ownership of it
also for a fixed period of time with generally extends till the life of the creator of the work plus sixty years.
Owners are entitled to collect fees from anyone who wants to copy the property. With respect to literary
work, the copyright holder among other rights has the exclusive right to reproduce the work in any
material form.
The most common intellectual property relating to information technology deals with software. A
computer program can be classified into different aspects, which is capable of being owned independently.
These are:
1. Source code: the source code consists of the code written by the programmer in a high-level
computer language like Java or C++.
2. Object Code: It is the machine language translation of the source code.
3. Algorithm: It is the sequence of machine commands that the source code and object code
represents.
4. Look and Feel of the program: It is the way the program appears on the screen and interfaces
with the users.
Computer software is granted copyright protection as well as patent protection.
Copyright protection enables companies to prevent copying, limit competition and charge monopoly
prices for the products. In the U.K., before 1985 it was uncertain whether software was protected by
copyright. Subsequently, after intense lobbying by the computer industry, computer programs are now
protected as literary works. It also protects implicitly other forms of works created using a computer or
stored in or on computer media. In India, literary works being protected by copyright includes computer
program, table and compilations including databases.
A very controversial issue today is regarding ownership of a computer algorithm through a patent. A
patent provides the patent owner an exclusive monopoly on the use of the patented item thus denying the
right to the others to use the mathematical formula that are part of the program without the permission of
the patent holder. Opponents of algorithm patenting argue that algorithm patents effectively remove parts
of mathematics from public domain causing detriment to the society at large. They claim that algorithm
patenting stifles competition and decreases the variety of programs available to the society (The League
for Programming Freedom, 1992).
Patent laws differ from country to country. Whether a product is entitled to protection in India is
determined by the Patents Act, 1970. The U.S. approach towards computer related inventions is that

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12

software that demonstrably controls or configures some computer hardware is patentable, regardless of
whether it includes mathematical algorithms. The European approach to patentability of software related
inventions is that to determine whether the software program has technical content or makes a technical
contribution. The Indian position on patenting on computer programs or computer related inventions have
not developed much. The Indian Patents Act, 1970 states that computer program per se or algorithms
cannot be patented.

2.5 PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY


Computer professionals have specialized knowledge and have positions with authority and access to
various forms of confidential information. Hence they are in a position to significantly impact various
aspects of peoples lives. Along with such power to change the world comes the duty to exercise the
power responsibly (Gotterbarn, 2001). Computer professionals find themselves in a variety of professional
relationships with other people (Johnson, 1994) including:
employer

employee

client

professional

professional

professional

society

professional

These relationships involve a diversity of interests and sometimes these interests can come into conflict
with each other. Responsible computer professionals, therefore, will be aware of possible conflicts of
interests and try to avoid them.
Professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of
Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) have established code of ethics, curriculum guidelines and
accreditation requirements to help computer professions understand and manage ethical responsibilities.
They have also adopted Code of Ethics for their members which include general moral imperatives
such as avoiding harm to others and to be honest and trustworthy, specific professional responsibilities
like acquiring and maintaining professional competence and knowing and respecting existing laws pertaining
to professional work. The IEEE Code Of Ethics includes such principles as avoiding real or perceived
conflicts of interest whenever possible.

2.6 GLOBALIZATION
Computer ethics is rapidly evolving into a broader and even more important field, which might reasonably
be called global information ethics. Global networks like the internet and especially the World Wide

Unit 2 - Topics In Computer Ethics

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Web are connecting people all over the globe. Efforts are on to develop mutually agreed standards
of conduct and efforts to advance and defend human values. Some of the global issues being
debated are:
Global laws: Over two hundred countries are already interconnected by the internet. Given this situation,
what is the effect and impact of the law of one particular country on the rest of the world? Issues
regarding freedom of speech, protection of intellectual property, invasion of privacy vary from country to
country. The framing of common laws pertaining to such issues to ensure compliance by all the countries
is one of the foremost questions being debated.
Global cyber business: Technology is growing rapidly to enable electronic privacy and security on the
internet to safely conduct international business transactions. With such advanced technology in place,
there will be a rapid expansion of global cyber business. Nations with a technological infrastructure
already in place will enjoy rapid economic growth, while rest of the world lags behind. This disparity in
levels of technology will fuel a political and economic fallout, which could further widen the gap between
the rich and the poor.
Global education: Inexpensive access to the global information net for the rich and the poor alike is
necessary for everyone to have access to daily news from a free press, free texts, documents, political,
religious and social practices of peoples everywhere. However the impact of this sudden and global
education on different communities, cultures and religious practices are likely to be profound. The impact
on lesser known universities would be felt as older well-established universities begin offering degrees
and knowledge modules over the internet.

2.7 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

Examine the social and ethical issues arising out of the presence of computers in the workplace.

2.

Discuss the impact of globalization on computer ethics.

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Unit 3

Ethics And The Internet

3.0 INTRODUCTION

3.1 DISTINCT FEATURES

nternet has the potential to make life easy for some people and at the same time it has the power to
create problems as well. It tends to bridge distances to bring people together and provides a new
arena for increased economic cooperation, entertainment and sociability. Internet can be compared
as a means of communication and can be regarded as having three distinct features:
1. Global scope of communication
2. Anonymity
3. Reproducibility
Global scope: Internet communication has much broader scope and reach. With little effort a user can
reach hundreds and thousands of individuals around the globe. The ability to reach many people quickly
and easily is not exactly new or unique compared to radio or television communication. But the significant
difference between the internet and television and radio is that, in the case of radio and television it is in
most cases one way whereas in the case of internet it is interactive. It is this interactivity that is the unique
characteristic of the internet which provides to many individuals who are geographically distinct the
power to communicate easily and quickly.
Anonymity: The second important feature of the internet is that it provides a certain kind of anonymity.
It is a silent feature of this type of communication that people can deliberately avoid seeing or hearing one
another directly. On the internet, individuals can create a different person ensuring that information about

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Unit 3 - Ethics And The Internet

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themselves cannot be traced while in communication with the other on the internet. This kind of anonymity
makes accountability for ones action difficult to achieve and tends to diminish trust in the information that
is being exchanged. The feature of anonymity has also facilitated the development of Virtual information.
The open and anonymous nature of communications on the web, a species of software has been developed
and employed with stealth to gather information intelligently. An inference is made from information
gathered without our knowledge or consent, which is termed as virtual information. This type of information
adds information to a persons profile and tends to redefine a persons digital persona. This is an invasion
of ones virtual privacy.
Reproducibility: This third important feature is not just a feature of the internet, but of information
technology in general. Electronic information exists in the form that makes it easy to copy without any loss
of originality or value in the process of reproduction. Copied data or software is perfectly usable. Copied
data or software leave no evidence behind of it being copied and the creator/owner of the data or software
could remain unaware of their work being copied. Reproducibility facilitates anonymity. The traditional
notion of a persons property is that the person is in the control of the property over which he claims
ownership. Reproducibility goes counter to this traditional notion wherein the scope of anonymity gives
rises to serious questions regarding the integrity of the information.
These three features of communication lead directly or indirectly to a wide range of ethical issues. The
global scope of the internet do things to one another demonstrates the great amount of power when
connected to the internet. The global scope enables individuals apart from fraternizing with one other also
to disrupt, steal, damage, snoop, harass, stalk and defame from great distances. Anonymity available on
the internet gives individuals a sense if invisibility that allows them to engage in behavior that they might
not otherwise engage in. The positive aspect of anonymity is that it might allow individuals to get a free
and equal treatment irrespective of their race, colour or creed. It might also enable their participation in
activities where individuals might otherwise be reluctant. But anonymity leads to serious problems for
accountability and integrity of information. Reproducibility exacerbates the problems arising from global
reach and anonymity. It also adds to the problems of accountability and integrity of information arising out
of anonymity.

3.2 TYPES OF PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR


With this background of the special features of the internet and the scope of ethical issues involved,
different types of problematic behavior can be identified.
One type of problematic behavior involves individuals engaged in illegal behavior that disrupts the
smooth functioning of the internet. The behavior is destructive and it undermines the reliability and security
of the internet. It involves actions such as gaining unauthorized access to computer systems, releasing
viruses, taking control of web sites etc. These actions are broadly referred to as hacking. Earlier during
the initial attempts to unauthorized access the systems, hacking was considered to be more of an academic

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problem. The hackers were usually young men who had acquired a good knowledge of the computers and
were involved in testing the limits of their knowledge by attempting to breach the protection devices of a
system. Only over a period of time did the activity of hacking become branded as an illegal activity as
attempts to break into systems were directed towards illegal actions including stealing software. It also
included intentionally sending viruses or worms on the net that damage the computer systems and also
taking unauthorized control of a web site. Hacking causes harm, it violates legitimate privacy and property
rights and it often deprives users of access to their own computer systems. Thus hacking is unethical and
has rightly been made illegal.
The other category of problematic behavior is the criminal actions involving theft and extortion. In
these cases the internet facilitates such behavior. Falling in the scope of criminal actions include stealing
of electronic funds, cyber stalking, slander, fraud, harassment, solicitation of minors etc.
The third category of problematic behavior involves issues whether specific laws need to be framed to
make such behavior illegal. Such laws framed to counter such behavior forms a part of netiquette or in
other words the type of actions that are acceptable or informal conventions regarding how to behave on
the net. Netiquette is defined as the dos and donts of online communication or as informal rules of the
net or as common courtesy online. Violations of netiquette are considered unethical. Being polite,
being patient and not breaking any laws are considered the important features of netiquette. Acts of
spamming i.e. sending unsolicited bulk e-mail and sending inflammatory or insulting messages called
flaming are examples of violations of netiquette. Thus for the smooth functioning of the internet, laws
have been framed and human behavior has in many cases caused inconvenience and harm to others.
Netiquette promotes ethical behavior and thus is an important tool for shaping the behavior on the net.
(Johnson, 1999)

3.3 INTERNET AND MORAL VALUES

3.3.1 Fundamental Moral Values


Traditionally two fundamentally different and mutually exclusive conceptions of the moral evaluation
of individual actions stand out in the history of moral philosophy. One is to examine an issue under
independently justified principles of what one considers being right. The idea here is to follow the principles
that articulate what is morally right irrespective of the consequences. This is referred to as deontological
approach where one starts out with one or more moral principles and see how they apply to particular
cases. The other is to look for the course of action that maximizes the good. This approach involves
determining which action yields the best consequences measured in some standard of the good. This
approach is referred to as teleological approach involves framing what is good for users, and spells out
what is wrong with actions that interfere with attempts to get it. What is good could be conceived of in

Unit 3 - Ethics And The Internet

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terms of happiness, basic needs, shares of primary goods, desires etc. Both of these approaches represent
overly simplistic accounts of moral deliberation and decision-making and need to be supplemented or
enriched to be adequate as an ethical framework for the moral evaluation of individual cases and actions.
These different types of value reflect the value that human beings can take different perspectives and
can switch between them. One can think of a problem or situation from a self interested and personal
stance, but also from the point of view of humanity or from the point of view of us as social beings with
roles and position in a social network of relations. Some of the fundamental values are outcome oriented
(Utility), some are abstract from the consequences of actions (obligations and duty), and some of them
are personal and self centered and others impersonal. (Van den Hover, 1999).

3.3.2 Moral rules on the Internet


Moral rules can incorporate, express or serve the fundamental moral values. Moral rules can be
distinguished into two types governing online behavior.
The first type of moral rules identifies our moral obligations online. Examples of such rules are netiquette
rules and Codes of conduct examples of which are be polite in e-mail correspondence, always tell the
client the truth, make yourself look good online.
The second type of moral rules or recognition rules allows us to identify what is moral and what is
not. A recognition rule enables us to recognize the perspectives in an action or decision that we have a
reason to endorse (Hart, 1961). Examples of recognition rules are read the signs, follow the instructions,
familiarize yourself with netiquette.
On netiquette, that is the recommended ways to behave properly online, Virginia Shea (1999) lists one
such rule:
1. Remember the human.
2. Adhere to the same standards online that you follow in real life.
3. Know where you are in cyberspace.
4. Respect other peoples time and bandwidth.
5. Make yourself look good online.
6. Share expert knowledge.
7. Help keep flame wars under control.
8. Respect other peoples privacy.

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

18
9. Dont abuse your power.
10. Be forgiving of other peoples mistakes.

Most of these rules are connected with two things, first the respect for human beings (1,2,3, 8,10), and
second respect for information resources (3,4,6,9). Of common concern to both parts is the ease with
which e-mail is sent, wrong attachments are appended, and effects on the individual are forgotten because
of the technological mediation and absence of real human interlocutor. They also draw attention towards
maintaining good relationships. Neglect of these factors can lead to flame wars that is episodes of escalating,
rude e-mail correspondence. Flame wars add injuries to insult, since in addition to insults that are made,
disrespect is shown for things like time, attention, resources that are scarce and valuable to others.

3.4 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

Discuss the distinct features of the Internet.

2.

What are the fundamental conceptions regarding the evaluation of individual actions?

19
Unit 4

A professionals code of ethics

4.0 INTRODUCTION

code of ethics helps in clarifying issues and provides a broader and firmer foundation on which
an ethical framework can be built. It would provide a basis to address issues from the viewpoint
of the computing profession. Some view the Code as a veiled attempt to generate a positive
image for the computing profession. Others claim that the Codes merely establish a moral minimum and
are incomplete. It is necessary to identify and emphasize the characteristics of the Code that are relevant
to the situation. Despite the misgivings, Codes do serve a number of positive functions. The different
functions of Codes are better understood by distinguishing them into
1. Code of ethics: Code of ethics are more aspirational. They are mission statements emphasizing
the professional objectives and vision.
2. Code of conduct: Code of conduct are more oriented towards the professionals attitude. They
do not describe in detail now to carry out a particular action, bur they make clear the issues at
stake in different specialized fields.
3. Code of practice: Code of practice on the other hand fixes some accepted state of art (Berleur,
1996) and relate to current operational activities.
The degree of enforcement possible is dependant on the type of code. Code of ethics, which is primarily
aspirational, uses no more that light coercion. Codes of conduct violations generally carry sanctions ranging
from warning to exclusion from the professional bodies. Violations of the codes of practice may lead to
legal action on the grounds of malpractice or negligence. The type of code used to guide behavior affects
the type of enforcement. The hierarchy of codes parallel the three levels of ethical obligations owed by
professionals. The first level identified is a set of ethical values, such as integrity and justice, which

Unit 4 - A professionals code of ethics

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

professionals share with other human beings by virtue of their shared humanity. Code statements at this
level are statements of aspiration that provide vision and objectives. The second level obliges professionals
to more challenging obligations than those required at the first level. At the second level, by virtue of their
role as professionals and their special skills, they owe a higher degree of care to those affected by their
work. Every type of professional shares this second level of ethical obligation. Code statements at this
level express the obligations of all professionals and professional attitudes. They do not describe specific
behavior details, but they clearly indicate professional responsibilities. The third and deeper level comprises
several obligations that derive directly from elements unique to the particular professional practice. Code
elements at this level assert more specific behavioral responsibilities that are more closely related to the
state of art within the particular profession. The range of statements is from more general aspirational
statement to specific and measurable requirements. Professional code of ethics needs to address all three
of these levels.

4.1 FUNCTIONS OF THE CODE OF ETHICS


Professional societies have used the codes to serve the following functions:
1. Inspiration: Codes function as an inspiration for positive stimulus for ethical conduct. Codes
also serve to inspire confidence in the customer or user.
2. Guidance: Historically, there has been a transition away from regulatory codes designed to
penalize divergent behavior and internal dissent, towards codes which help someone determine
a course of action through moral judgement.
3. Education: Codes serve to educate, both prospective and existing members of the profession
about their shared commitment to undertake a certain quality of work and the responsibility for
the well being of the customer and user of the developed product. Codes also serve to educate
managers of groups of professionals and those who make rules and laws related to the profession
about expected behavior. Codes also indirectly educate the public at large about what the
professionals consider to be a minimal acceptable ethical practice in the field, even if practiced
by a non-professional.
4. Support for positive action: Codes provide a level of support for the professional who decides
to take positive action. They provide an environment in which it will be easier, than it would
otherwise be, to resist pressure to do what the professional would rather not do. The code could
be used as a counter pressure against the urging by others to have the professional to act in
ways inconsistent with an ethical pattern of behavior.
5. Deterrence and discipline: Codes can serve as a formal basis for action against a professional.
The code defines a reasonable expectation for all practitioners. A failure to meet these expectations

Unit 4 - A professionals code of ethics

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could serve as a formal basis in some organizations to revoke membership or suspend license to
practice.
6. Enhance the professions public image: Codes serve to educate multiple constituencies
about the ethical obligations and the responsibilities of the professional. They educate the
professionals about what they should expect from themselves and what they should expect
from their colleagues. Codes also serve to educate society about its rights, about what society
has a right to expect from the practicing professional.
A code fulfilling its function will change the approach of many to the internet and provide a counter
pressure against the tendency to behave unethically. It would also help many to realize that their behavior
may be unethical. The standards expected and the realization of ones conduct will make them pause and
think about the consequences of their actions. This is summed up in the preamble to the Software Engineering
Code of Ethics and Professional Practice:
These principles should influence internet developers / users to consider broadly who is affected by
their work; to examine if they and their colleagues are treating other human beings with due respect; to
consider how the public, if reasonably well informed, would view their decisions; to analyze how the least
empowered will be effected by their decisions; and to consider whether their acts would be judged worthy
of the ideal professional working as a software engineer. In all these judgements, concern for the health
safety and welfare of public is primary; that is public interest is central to the code. ( Donald Gotternbarn,
1994).

4.2 LIMITATIONS OF CODE OF ETHICS


Most codes are limited in several major ways. These limitations restrict codes to providing only very
general guidance, which in turn makes it essential for professionals to exercise a personal moral responsibility
to solve their moral problems. The limitations of codes are as follows:
1. Codes are restricted to general and vague wording. They are not straightforwardly applicable to
all situations. New technical developments and shifting social and organizational structures
combine to generate continually new and often unpredictable conditions. Even in a case of
unforeseeable situation it is not possible to word a code so that it will apply in every instance.
Attempting to do so would yield something comparable to an intricate set of laws rather than a
manageable code. A sense of responsibility is absolutely necessary for the creative applications
of code guidelines for concrete situations.
2. It is easy for different entries in codes to come into conflict with each other. Usually codes
provide no guidance as to which entry should have priority in these cases, thus creating moral
dilemmas.

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

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3. Codes cannot serve as the final moral authority for professional conduct. To accept the current
code of a professional society as the last word would amount to ethical conventionalism.
Ethical conventionalism is viewing that a particular set of conventions, customs or law is selfcertifying and not to be questioned as long as it is set in force at a given time or for a given place.
Such a view rules out the possibility of criticizing that set of conventions from a wider moral
framework.
4. Codes do not indicate if a view taken in respect to a particular situation is correct or not. They
only provide a framework for ongoing debate and discussion. Codes represent a compromise
between differing judgements and are developed amidst disagreements.
5. The existence of separate codes for different professional bodies could give rise to feeling that
ethical conduct is rather relative. It also gives room for suspicion that none of the codes are
really right. (Mike W. Martin, 2003)

4.3 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR COMPUTER ETHICS


1. Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
2. Thou shalt not interfere with other peoples computer work.
3. Thou shalt not snoop around in other peoples files.
4. Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
5. Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
6. Thou shalt not use of copy software for which you have not paid.
7. Thou shalt not use other peoples computer resources without authorization.
8. Thou shalt not appropriate other peoples intellectual output.
9. Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you write.
10.Thou shalt use a computer in ways to show consideration and respect.
(Computer Ethics Institute)
** For Sample Codes of Ethics and Guidelines refer Appendix I

Unit 4 - A professionals code of ethics

4.4 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

How do professional codes address issues from the viewpoint of computing profession?

2.

How is a professional code distinguished?

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

24
Unit 5

Information Technology and the Net

5.0 INTRODUCTION

e begin by giving you a brief picture of the electronic world we all live in. It is apparent that
geographical divide is no longer a limiting factor for doing business. Electronic commerce has
literally shrunk the globe and has virtually made it a market without boundaries.

5.1 OBJECTIVE
At the end of this chapter you will be able to understand the relationship between electronic world and
our lives. You will also be able to explain the nature of the net, the features of the net and the impact of
information technology revolution on society.

5.2 WE, CYBERSPACE AND OUR LIVES


The virtual world has taken over the real one. Our society is increasingly relying on new information
technologies and the internet to conduct business, manage industrial activities, engage in personal
communications and perform scientific research. E-business and e-commerce are the new mantras and
electronic transactions dominate the overall business paradigm.
While these technologies facilitate enormous gains in efficiency, productivity and communications,
they also create new vulnerabilities in terms of possibilities of misuse. The same interconnectivity that
allows us to transmit information around the globe at the click of a mouse or push of a button also creates
unprecedented opportunities for criminals, terrorists and hostile foreign nation states, who might seek to

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Unit 5 - Information Technology and the Net

25

steal money or proprietary data, invade private records, conduct industrial espionage, cause a vital
infrastructure to cease operations, or engage in information warfare.
Digitalization has radically transformed the ways of accessing and using information. Technical
convergence not only rendered fillip to this process, but also as a result, affected positive impact on
economics of the nations. The influence of cyber is so striking in our day to day lives, that one would
discern not only in the realm of trade and commerce, but also in the ambit of personal communications,
academic and scientific research, critical infrastructure and the like. In the Indian context, but for the
inherent lack of capacity in terms of PC penetration, basic telephony etc., cyber influence would have
been far different from our own contemplation. In view of two significant strengths of internet, namely
connectivity and the pace and accuracy with which the transmission of information takes place, online
transactions particularly that of commercial nature has secured tremendous social receptivity. The resultant
outcome, as a natural corollary of the same, can be observed not only in terms of swelling numbers of
online users but also creative and expansive nature of services that are rendered by the internet providers.
For instance, in the initial stages of cyber influence, broadly, if one may put it, the subject matter of
substantial part of online transactions was merely focusing on tangible or physical property and service
rendering. Now, with the convergence, digitalization of various products is taking place, as a result,
transactions involving particular kind of subject matter are more effectively facilitated by the cyber medium.
For instance, online music and software tools and techniques are some of the products falling under this
category. This clearly indicates how the strides in information technology are changing the facets of
cyberspace.
Again, the advent of global computer networks has rendered geographical boundaries increasingly
porous and ephemeral. As internet subscription increases, just as any sizeable number of human beings
interact, disagreements may be expected to arise. As the community of internet users grows increasingly
diverse, and the range of online interaction expands, disputes of every kind may be expected to occur.
Online contracts will be breached, online torts (any kind of civil wrong) will be committed and online
crimes will be perpetrated. Although, many of these disputes will be settled informally, others may require
formal mechanisms of dispute resolution and adjudication of liability.

5.3 THE NATURE OF THE NET


The internet has been called a network of networks with local computer systems hooked to regional
systems, and to national or international high capacity backbone systems. Each link, or node, in this web
is a computer or computer site, all connected together by a variety of connectionsfibre-optic cable,
twisted pair copper wire, microwave transmission, or other communications media. Each computer in the
network communicates with the others, by employing machine language conventions known as the IP or
Internet Protocols. It is these protocols that define a network. Those machines that talk to one another
using IP are the internet.

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

This medium defined by these shared protocols is distinctly unlike any other. First, the internet is a
packet switching network. Unlike communications media that tie up the entire channel in real time during
transmission, the internet breaks information into discreet packets of bits that can be transmitted as
capacity allows. Packets are labeled with the addresses of their final destination, and may follow any of
a number of different routes from computer to computer until finally their final destination, where they are
re-assembled by the recipient machine. Thus, packets from a variety of sources may share the same
channel as bandwidth allows, promoting more efficient use of available carrying capacity. (Dan L. Burk,
1999).
There is no centralized control of packet routing, or for that matter, of almost any other aspect of the
internet. From a technical standpoint, each computer acts autonomously, co-ordinating traffic with its
nearest connected neighbors, and guided only by the invisible hand that arises from the sum of millions
of such independent actions. From a management standpoint, each node is similarly autonomous, answering
only to its own systems administrator. This means that there is no central authority to govern the internet
usage, no one to ask for permission to join the network, and no one to complain to when things go wrong.

5.4 FEATURES OF THE NET


The IP provides for telepresence or geographically extended sharing of scattered resources. An
internet user may employ her internet link to access computers, retrieve information, or control various
types of apparatus from around the world. These electronic connections are entirely transparent to the
user. Access to internet resources is provided via a system of request and reply; when an online user
attempts to access information or services on the network, his/her local computer requests such access
from the remote server computer where the addressee is housed. The remote machine may grant or deny
the request, based on its programmed criteria, only if the request is granted does the server tender the
information to the users machine.
These features make available a vast array of interconnected information, including computerized
digitalised text and graphics and sound. A crop of private internet access providers has developed to offer
network access and facilities to such customers outside the research community. Consequently, although
the academic and scientific research community remains an important part of the internet community as
a whole, private and commercial traffic has become a dominant force in the development and growth of
the electronic frontiers. In particular, the network offers novel opportunities for transactions involving
information based goods and services.

5.5 GEOGRAPHICAL INDETERMINACY


The rules of the road for online commerce are different from business interactions in real space. Much
of this difference stems from the internets telepresence features, which render the network technologically

Unit 5 - Information Technology and the Net

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indifferent to physical location. So insensitive is the network to geography, that it is frequently impossible
to determine the physical location of a resource or a user. In real space, a business can usually locate a
person or entity with which it is interacting; this tends to facilitate identification of partners and validation
of transactions. This process is far more difficult in cyberspace, when the parties in a transaction may be
in adjoining rooms, or half the world away, and the network offers no way to tell the difference. In other
words, there is no nexus between cyberspace and real space. Even in some instances an internet address
tells something about the location of a given machine, it tells nothing about the location of the user of that
machine.
To fully appreciate the inchoate nature of internet geography, it is important to consider the common
internet practice of caching copies of frequently accessed resources. In order to better manage packet
traffic, some internet servers will store partial or complete duplicates of the materials from frequently
accessed sites; keeping copies on hand eliminates the need to repeatedly request copies from the original
server. An internet user who attempts to access the materials will never know the difference between the
cached materials and the original. The materials displayed on the users machine will appear to come
from the original source, whether they are actually transmitted from there or from a nearly cache. Nearby
connotes logical proximity but not physical proximity.
The modern world relies on computerized systems for almost everything in life from air, train and bus
traffic control to medical services and co-ordination of national security. Even a small glitch in the operation
of these systems can jeopardize human lives. The societys dependence on computer systems, therefore,
has a profound human dimension too. The rapid boundaryless expansion of large-scale computer networks
and the ability to access systems through regular telephone lines increases the vulnerability of these
systems. And it also increases the opportunity for perpetrating crimes. The consequences of computer
crime may have serious economic implications, as well as invaluable loss in terms of human security. In
this context, it is important to understand the motivation behind cyber crimes in terms of perceived value
of information as a critical source in todays digital society. This value of information revolves around six
factors:
a) The persons concerns and commitments;
b) The persons capabilities;
c) Availability of information resource to the person;
d) Availability of information resource to other persons affected;
e) Resource integrity;
f) Time. (Nina Godbole, 2000)

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28

5.6 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION AND


SOCIETAL IMPACT
Many of us tend to simplistically dismiss the potential impact of information technology on our society.
According to a recent treatise on Cyber Laws, while comparing with erstwhile technologies and their
impact with that of information technology, the authors went on record by saying that; People often
compare the growth of the internet to the historic growth of other technologies, sometimes to suggest that
the internet is just the latest technological advance and may not signal a revolutionary advance. But there
are differences between the birth of the internet and technologies that preceded it. For example, electricity
was first harnessed in 1831, but it was not until 1882 that the first power station was built, and it was
another 50 years before electricity powered 80 per cent of the factories and households across the United
States. Radio was in existence 38 years before 50 million people used it; TV took 13 years to reach the
same benchmark. It was 16 years before 50 million people used a personal computer. Once the internet
was made available to the general public, it took only 4 years for 50 million people to go on-line.

5.7 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

E-Commerce is the new mantra of business Explain?

2.

Describe the nature and features of the internet.

3.

Discuss the impact of the information technology revolution on society.

4.

There is no nexus between cyber space and real space - Comment.

29
Unit 6

Sources of the Law

6.0 INTRODUCTION

espite divergent views and opinions about law, it is universally construed as an instrument of
social change. In other words, law and legal regulation is expected to bring about desired social
change and order which is quintessentially necessary to maintain societal peace and tranquility.
Yet times, it is necessary to facilitate rule or norm compliance to ensure orderly human conduct in a
particular activity like economic one.
However, this is not to be understood that such desired rule compliance or social change is only
possible because of law and legal system. Suffice it to say that law and legal system form part of series
of measures which would influence such change like education, economic parity, ethics and the like. But
law and the legal system definitely plays a decisive role in bringing about the required change subject to
factors like, social receptivity and fair and non-discriminatory nature of legal enforcement.

6.1 OBJECTIVE
The objective of this unit is to give you a brief overview as to the evolution of law. You will be able to
explain the sources of law and the different branches of law needed to cater to societal needs.

6.2 SOURCES OF LAW


Speaking for our own context, our legal system is based upon the foundations of common law conceived

Unit 6 - Sources of the Law

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

and shaped by British rulers and jurists. Common law connotes, judicial practice of recognizing customary,
traditional practices of the people in a formal sense of judgments.
In this kind of system there are three main sources of the law, namely, legislation, case law and
custom.
Legislation is the formal enactment of law by the legislature created or authorized by the Constitution.
Essentially, the process of codification or legislative enactment is the premise. It stands in contrast to
judge made law; Legislation consists of leges scriptae (written laws), as contrasted with judge made law
or common law (jus commune). Legislation also stands in contrast to customary law (consuetudines).
Common law comprises the body of principles, which derive their authority solely from the decisions
of courts. It is a body of law that develops and derives through judicial decisions, as distinguished from
legislative enactments. Its principles do not derive their validity from formal law making by any body of
persons, but from their enunciation through decisions of courts. Judicial decisions become a source of law
by reason of the practice of courts (in common law jurisdictions), of accepting precedent as a source of
law, that is, the established judicial practice that a court must follow the law laid down by a decision of the
higher judiciary in the country or State and the law laid down by itself in an earlier judgment, if it is itself
an organ of the higher judiciary.
Custom (as a source of law) denotes a usage or practice of the people (including a particular social
group or a group residing in a particular locality) which, by common adoption and acquiescence and by
long and unvarying habit, has become compulsory and has acquired the force of law with respect to the
place or subject matter to which it relates [Black, Law Dictionary, (1990), page 385]. Legislation and case
law can (subject to constitutional limitations) operate in any sphere of human activity, while the operation
of custom is generally restricted to a particular locality, group or family. (P.M. Bakshi, 1996)

6.3 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LEGISLATION


As a source of law, legislation assumes and is considered to be the foundation of democratic polity.
The main points are:
The legislature can legislate in advance. Judges cannot do so.
The legislature can make a law on any subject within its competence. But Judges can deal with a
subject, only when the point arises before them. They cannot spread their canvas beyond the point or
points that have actually arisen before them.
The legislature (both of parliament, state or even local self Government) can (subject to constitutional
limitations) override the law laid down by the courts, on a particular point (though, because of the doctrine

Unit 6 - Sources of the Law

31

of separation of powers, the legislature cannot reverse or modify the actual decision rendered by the court
in a particular case). In contrast courts cannot repeal or modify a legislature enactment (though they can
declare it to be void, as unconstitutional).
Legislation is the most fertile source of law. Subject to limitations flowing from the constitutional
doctrine, that matters of policy cannot be delegated, the legislature can vest a subordinate authority with
power to make rules, orders, etc. But a court pronouncing a judgment cannot do so.
A legislative enactment is not subject to appeal; and the law enacted by it cannot be reversed, as such,
by a higher authority (though it can be declared to be void, if it is unconstitutional). In contrast, the law laid
down in a judgement of a court laying down the law may be reversed on appeal by a higher judicial
authority, which may take a different view of the law. (P.M. Bakshi, 1996)

6.4 THE COMMON LAW OR UNCODIFIED LAW


In earlier days, commands issued by the sovereign authority were considered as either laws or norms
to be obeyed. Similarly, the process of dispute resolution or adjudication of liability by either village elders
or people holding power through the process of issuing commands has also received social acceptance.
Thus uncodified law or common law is the law flowing from judicial decisions. Fairly large segments of
the legal regime are governed, in a substantial measure, by uncodified law. The judgment pronounced by
an organ of the higher judiciary performs at least two important functions.
(a) For the immediate parties, the judgment becomes a source of rights and duties;
(b) For the world at large, it becomes a source of law, it happens to deal with a legal proposition and to make a definite pronouncement on the subject.
There is a difference between the two aspects setout at (a) and (b) above. As regards (a), the,
judgement can grant a concrete relief to the parties and that relief can (if necessary) be enforced through
the machinery of execution (if it is a civil suit). If the judgment results in conviction and sentence
(having been pronounced in a criminal prosecution), the punishment so imposed will be appropriately
carried out.
Thus, under aspect (a) above, the focus is on the individual plaintiff, defendant or accused.
In contrast, when one comes to aspect (b) above, the judgment does not grant any relief to an individual.
Its impact is on the society at large. Aspect (a) creates no ripples in the legal system (though it may
seriously affect the fortunes of the individual litigants). But aspect (b) may affect the content of the law.
(P.M. Bakshi, 1996)

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6.5 PRECEDENT AS A SOURCE OF LAW


In addition to what has been enumerated as sources of law, in common law system; precedent also
plays a vital role.
When a higher court pronounces a judgment deciding a question of law, it is reported in a law journal.
A future judge, confronted with the same question of law, will have to cull out from the judgment the legal
proposition flowing from the judgment. It is to be remembered that the earlier judgment may not necessarily
have enunciated the legal proposition in so many words. The decision in the judgment may be found to be
mixed up with the facts of the case. The law, then, has to be isolated from the facts. The complex and
concrete factual matrix would have to be converted into an abstract proposition.
While one is so extracting the legal proposition, a problem may sometimes arise. One has to decide
which of the facts in the earlier judgment were material for the legal conclusion arrived at. One may have
to formulate the ratio decidendi,( basis or grounds of a particular judgment) forming the basis of the
earlier judgment. On this point, differences of opinion can arise. Ascertaining the ratio decidendi of the
earlier judgment is not only very important, but also a complex task. This is precisely because it is the basis
or ground alone, which has the character of binding the subordinate courts and none other.
The situation becomes more complex, when, in the earlier judgment, there was a plurality of judgments.
Different judges who took part in the earlier judgment might have expressed themselves in different
manner (even if they have reached the same conclusion). The later judge must analyze them, dissect the
reasoning and come to his own conclusion, as to what was the substantial conclusion arrived at, in the
earlier judgment. (P.M. Bakshi, 1996)

6.6 BRANCHES OF LAW


In the above backdrop of information, law with in the realm of common law system, could be at a
fundamental level classified as substantive law and procedural law. Substantive law is one, which basically
recognizes, defines and confers rights on the parties. Whereas procedural law focuses on procedure to be
followed to give effect to the predetermined rights, duties and obligations both outside and inside the
courts of law. Similarly, another categorization is civil and criminal laws. Another criterion for division
could be connected with the impact and coverage of the particular rule of law. Does it relate to the public
domain, or does it concern individuals, rather than the public, as such? The former categorizes public
law. For instance, laws like constitution law, administrative law and criminal law are construed as public
laws as their impact can be discerned on the public at large. The latter concerning individuals is labeled as
private law. The law of contracts as envisaged by the Indian Contract Act, 1872 is one example in this
regard.

Unit 6 - Sources of the Law

6.7 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

Explain the different sources of law.

2.

Discuss the significance of legislation.

3.

Distinguish between the different branches of law.

4.

What is common law. How does it differ from codified law?

5.

Explain how custom is a source of law?

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34
Unit 7

Information Technology and the


Attempted Legal Response

7.0 INTRODUCTION

aw always finds it very difficult to respond effectively to a technological process. Obviously,

technological pace is something insurmountable for the law to keep abreast. In addition, the process
of law making itself has a definite contribution towards this. A look into the assumptions upon

would give an idea on the factors involved in law making.

7.1 OBJECTIVE
After going through this unit will be able to explain the primary assumptions which any legal system is
based upon. You will be able to understand the relationship between national law, sovereignty and world
commerce especially in the age where world commerce is blurring geographical boundaries.

7.2 PRIMARY ASSUMPTIONS OF A LEGAL SYSTEM


Any legal system is premised upon the following primary assumptions as a foundation. They are:
a) Sovereignty
b) Territorial Enforcement
c) Notion of property

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Unit 7 - Information Technology and the Attempted Legal Response

35

d) Paper based transactions


e) Real relationships

7.2.1 Sovereignty
Law making power is a matter of sovereign prerogative. As a result, the writ of sovereign authority
runs throughout wherever sovereign power exercises authority. Beyond its authority, which is always
attributed to determinate geographical boundaries, the sovereign cannot regulate a subject matter through
legal intervention. However, in the cyber context, geography is a matter of history, in the sense that
barriers in terms of distance and geographical boundaries do not make much sense.

7.2.2 Territorial Enforcement


Any law in real world context can only be subjected to predetermined territorial enforcement. In other
words, the territory over which the sovereign authority exercises power without any qualification or
impediment will be able to enforce the law. However, this proposition carries some exceptions. It is a
normal practice in the case of criminal law, the sovereign authority enjoins extra -territorial jurisdiction as
well. It is to indicate that even if the crime is committed beyond the limits of territory, the sovereign
authority will be able to initiate prosecution, provided if the custody of the person is fetched. Towards this
end, it is a normal practice to invoke extradition proceedings (which reflect mutual understanding and
undertaking to co-operate with each other nation in cases of crime commission). However, serious
impediment in this respect is, the proceedings must comply with the principle of double criminality. It
means that, in both the countries, the alleged act of commission must have been criminalized. In the
context of cyber law, there are only twelve countries in the globe, where relevant laws have been enacted.
But when it comes to Civil law, say in the case of international contracts, pertinent principles of Private
International Law are invoked to address these issues. When it comes to cyber context, territory does not
hold any meaning. Connectivity without any constraint is the strength of cyber world.

7.2.3 Notion of Property


The obtaining premise (though of late subjected to marginal change) of the legal response considers
property as tangible and physical. With the advent of intellectual property, undoubtedly, this concept or
understanding of property has undergone change. In the cyber context, property in the form of digitized
services or goods pose serious challenges to this legal understanding. Similarly, domain names raise
fundamental questions vis--vis the legal understanding of what constitutes property.

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7.2.4 Real Relationships


Quite often, legal response considers relationships, which are real world oriented. In view of connectivity,
pace and accuracy as to transmission, in the cyber context, these relationships acquire unique distinction
of virtual character. In the broad ambit of trade and commerce, it is the commercial transaction in the
form of contracts, which constitutes the foundation of legal relationship.
Hence, if the relationships are virtual, what should be the premise of contract law, which is basically
facilitating in nature? Even with regard to other activities, which are potentially vulnerable to proscription,
what kind of legal regulation is required to be structured?

7.2.5 Paper Based Transactions


Obtaining legal response considers and encourages people to create and constitute legally binding
relationships on the basis of paper-based transactions. No doubt, the definition of document as is obtaining
under Section 3 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 takes within its fold material other than paper also, still
popularly the practice covers only paper based transactions. But in the cyber context, it is the digital or
electronic record, which form the basis of electronic transactions. As a result of which transactions will
be on the basis of electronic records.
In the light of these seemingly non-applicable foundations, the legal system originating from a particular
sovereign country has to face complex challenges in formalizing the structure of legal response. However,
the inherent complexity did not deter select countries in making an attempt in this regard. From the
obtaining patterns it can be understood that, substantial number of these countries have apparently considered
the following benchmarks in structuring the relevant legal response.
Application of the existing laws duly modified to suit the medium of cyber context with an appropriate
regulatory authority monitoring the process and adjudicating the rights and liabilities of respective
stakeholders;
Respective legislations enacted by the concerned sovereign states with a deliberate attempt to encourage
and facilitate international co-operation to enforce these laws.

7.3 ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY IN THE EVOLVING LEGAL


FRAMEWORK
Apart from these, while interpreting the pertinent laws, judiciary has also played an active role in
evolving and conceptualizing various legal issues and responses.
The rapid development of information technology presents challenges for the law. Challenges which

Unit 7 - Information Technology and the Attempted Legal Response

37

are not confined to any single one of the traditional legal categories but which arise in, for example,
criminal law, intellectual property law, contract law and tort law. For instance, presently, the following
issues are being addressed by law.


How does the law deal with computer hackers or those who introduce viruses?

Should a contract for the acquisition of software be categorized as one dealing with goods?

Similarly, should software be regarded as a product? Can copyright subsist in a computer program?
Would patent protection be more appropriate?

Does the widespread dissemination of text on networks herald the death of copyright?

Should the content of the material on the internet be regulated and, if so, by whom? What about
freedom of information and expression?

How is the privacy of the individual to be protected amid the increasing capacity for storing,
gathering and collating information?

An overview of these concerns will enable us to broadly identify the applicable parameters for better
comprehension and understanding of:


cyber crimes;

cyber contracts;

cyber privacy;

information technology related intellectual property rights.

7.4 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

State and discuss the primary assumptions of a legal system

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

Unit 8

Cyber Crimes

8.0 INTRODUCTION

t the outset, terminological clarification about usage of this phrase namely, cyber crimes is
warranted. Many a time, cyber crimes is used synonymously to indicate computer crimes also.
However, technically speaking, the phrase cyber crimes entails a different and unique
understanding. No doubt, computer, in whatever sense we use the term is basically required to undertake
any activity in the cyber context. In other words, possible crime can be perpetrated with the help of a
computer devoid of cyber context. But as matters stand now, without the help of a computer network it
is not possible to involve in any kind of activity in the cyber context.

8.1 OBJECTIVE
The objective of this unit is to define what constitutes Cyber Crime. You will be able to identify the
offences that constitute Cyber Crime under the I.T. Act 2000.

8.2 CYBER CRIME A PERSPECTIVE


In an influential research work, Prof. Ulrich Sieber observed that; the vulnerability of todays
information society in view of computer crimes is still not sufficiently realized: Businesses, administrations
and society depend to a high degree on the efficiency and security of modern information technology. In
the business community, for example, most of the monetary transactions are administered by computers
in form of deposit money. Electronic commerce depends on safe systems for money transactions in
computer networks. A companys entire production frequently depends on the functioning of its data-

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Unit 8 - Cyber Crimes

39

processing system. Many businesses store their most valuable company secrets electronically. Marine,
air, and space control systems, as well as medical supervision rely to a great extent on modern computer
systems. Computers and the internet also play an increasing role in the education and leisure of minors.
International computer networks are the nerves of the economy, the public sector and society. The security
of these computer and communication systems and their protection against computer crime is therefore
of essential importance.
In the course of this development computer crime has developed into a major threat of todays
information society. The spreading of computer technology into almost all areas of life as well as the
interconnection of computers by international computer networks has made computer crime more diverse,
more dangerous, and internationally present. An analysis of relevant criminogenic factors shows that
modern computer and communication networks have specific characteristics which are highly useful for
perpetrators but which imply difficulties for potential victims and for law enforcement (such as complex
security questions, multiple hardware and software systems, inexperience of many users, anonymity,
encryption and international mobility). Groups active in organized crime, professional business espionage
and secret services around the world are already exploiting these new features of computer crime.
However, many governments, businesses and private users are not aware of the attacks that happen or
could happen to them in the data processing area. Thus, governmental agencies, the industry and private
users should be made aware that protection against computer attacks is of great significance. They
should be informed about the main threats of computer crime and the responses thereto. (Prof. Ulrich
Sieber, 1997)

8.3 THE PROBLEM: CURRENT FORMS OF COMPUTER


CRIME
In most countries, the discussion about computer misuse began in the 1960s with the endangerment of
privacy, which was discussed under the headword of data protection and was later integrated within
the concept of computer crime. Since the 1970s, scientific research concentrated on computer-specific
economic crimes, especially computer manipulations, computer sabotage, computer espionage and software
piracy. The rapid growth of the telecommunications sector since the 1980s and especially the spread of
the World Wide Web (WWW) since the 1990s brought along the dissemination of illegal and harmful
contents, such as pornography, hate speech and other communication offences in international computer
networks. At the same time, the use of computers and modern communication technology by perpetrators
in new fields of crime, e.g. in organized crime, made it obvious that there were almost no boundaries for
computer-related crime and that from a phenomenological point of view, homogeneous computer crime
no longer existed. Since the respective modi operandi no longer follow a continuous path, but constantly
adapt to new technologies, the following analysis of these four main groups of computer crime will each
start with a short description of the historical development and then give an analysis of the present main
forms of crime.

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

8.3.1 Infringements of Privacy


While computers began their triumph in the 1960s, it was realized in several western countries that the
collection, storage, transmission and connection of personal data endangered the personal rights of citizens.
Orwellian visions and the mistrust of the revolting youth of the late sixties inspired the discussion about the
dangers of the big brother. However, during the 1980s, the old pattern of the computer as an exotic
instrument in the hands of the powerful became obsolete with the massive spreading of personal computers.
It became clear that the protection of privacy within the data processing area also had to consider the
multitude of private computer systems and to establish a difficult balance of interests between the privacy
interests of data subjects concerned and the economic freedom of the holders of personal data.

8.3.2 Economic offences


Since the 1970s, the discussion about computer misuse was not only marked by infringements of
privacy but also by computer-related economic crimes, which today are regarded as the central area of
computer crime and which were at first exclusively characterized by that term. During the 1970s, fraudulent
computer manipulations were the starting point of the discussion about computer-related economic offences
and the core center of computer-related economic crime. However, today hacking has increasingly become
a basic offence which is then used to commit acts of espionage, software piracy, sabotage as well as
computer fraud.

8.3.3 Computer Hacking


The term computer hacking traditionally describes the penetration of sabotage or espionage but for
the pleasure of overcoming the technical security measures. In practice, this kind of offence can be
frequently found. As far as the damage of these cases is concerned, a differentiation is essential: In
numerous cases, the penetrated computer user is not actually harmed, but only endangered. However, in
these cases, too, the formal sphere of secrecy or the integrity of the concerned computer systems is
violated. Contrary to this, considerable damages occur in other cases especially when the perpetrators
later use their knowledge for committing espionage, sabotage or fraud.
Due to recent developments in the field of telephone and telecommunications technology (such as
ISDN hacking does not only affect classic computer systems but also increasing telephone lines, answer
phones and voice-mail-systems. Telephone hackers dial themselves in to the telephone companies local
phone exchanges and are thus able to eavesdrop on the digitally led conversations in a respective part of
town. In the US, besides other confidential information, especially the numbers of telephone access cards
(Calling cards) are eavesdropped on, which are then resold.

Unit 8 - Cyber Crimes

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8.3.4 Computer Espionage


Computer espionage only rarely appearing in official statistics- constitutes a special danger compared
with traditional economic espionage, because in computer systems huge quantities of data are stored in an
extremely narrow space, and the data can be copied quickly an easily with the help of modern technology,
also via data telecommunication. The objects of offence are especially computer programs, data of research
and defence, data of commercial accounting as well as addresses of clients. Besides young hackers and
competing business enterprises, the secret services are increasingly dealing with economic espionage in
recent years.
With the convergence of data processing and telecommunication as well as with the digitalization of
telecommunication, the line between traditional computer espionage and telephone fax and e-mail monitoring
becomes increasingly blurred. In the case of telephone tapping, the criminals are able to penetrate the
telephone exchanges of the telephone companies especially via normal data lines. Car phones, directional
radio stations and satellite connections are particularly easy to attack in case of uncoded communication.

8.3.5 Software Piracy and other forms of Product Piracy


The unauthorized copying and use of computer programs -often called software piracy at first involved,
the copying of individual software which frequently contains important internal company know-how and
information. Therefore software theft overlaps with computer espionage in many cases.

8.3.6 Computer Sabotage and Computer Extortion


The high concentration of data stored in the electronic devices mentioned above, along with the
dependence of many companies and administrative authorities on data processing, make computer sabotage
another particular danger for business and administration. The objects of computer sabotage are the
tangible computer facilities as well as the intangible data containing computer programs and other valuable
information.
For the modi operandi, one can be differentiate between methods causing physical damage and
those causing logical damage. During the 1970s, the most frequently practiced methods of causing physical
damage were igniting or bombing a building. These techniques were typically applied by outsiders not
employed or otherwise related with the owners of the facilities damaged. Local damage was typically
caused by insiders who had access to a companys systems and facilities.

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8.3.7 Computer Fraud


During the era of large mainframe computers, fraud committed by computer manipulations constituted
a uniform group of crimes. Due to the diversification of computer systems in the 1980s, nowadays the
term computer fraud describes a spectrum of various cases within the field of economic crimes.
Among the classic large-scale computer fraud cases, invoice manipulations concerning the payment
of bills and salaries of industrial companies as well as the manipulations of account balances and balance
sheets at banks were and still are the predominant offences.

8.3.8 Illegal and harmful contents


In the late 1980s, first cases occurred in which information glorifying violence or information of racist
content was distributed with the help of computers especially by political extremists.
In the USA, the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, skinheads, and other neo- nazi organizations
had already realized in the 1980s that it was much more effective to work with means of electronic
communication than with traditional newsletters. These groups used electronic communication systems
mainly to distribute the names of Jewish opponents and to give advice for violent actions.
In Germany, right-wing and left-wing extremist organizations first used Bulletin Board Systems (BBS)
and other electronic communication systems at the beginning of the 1995. Right-wing extremist organizations
especially used the so called Thule- Network, which consists of about 10 BBSs. In these BBSs,
information about neo- fascistic organizations and corresponding propaganda material was stored. The
electronic means of communication were used for the communication within private groups of users as
well as for informing the public. Left-wing radical groups (particularly from the anarchistic autonomous
scene and from the sphere of the so called Red Army Fraction) distribute their plans of action especially
via the BBS- network Spinnennetz (cobweb), which is included in an international exchange of information
via the European Counter Network (ECN).
At the beginning of the 1990s, the triumphant rise of the internet was accompanied by an exchange of
illegal and harmful material which was intensively monitored by the press and public. Today the center of
attention is focused especially on child pornography, hate speech and libel in international computer networks.
The distribution of child pornography and contents glorifying violence within the internet and similar
computer networks was illustrated in the famous CompuServe- Case: In 1997, Bavarian State prosecutors
indicted the head of the German CompuServe GmbH subsidiary for not having filtered pornographic
newsgroups and games glorifying violence within the proprietary service, both types of data stored on
servers of CompuServe Inc. in the USA.

Unit 8 - Cyber Crimes

43

In 1996 the Spanish public was stunned by a case of distribution of child pornography. Two students
had a collection of over 150 floppy disks with child pornography all collected over the internet. Both had
to be released from prison after 3 days because of a legal gap in the new Spanish Criminal Code of 1996.
Increasingly, video games with a racial background in which the user could discriminate against foreigners
and ethnic minorities is serving as propaganda material for young people.
An example for libel was dealt with by court in the United States in 1991. In this case, CompuServe
contracted with a third party for that user to conduct a special- interest forum (called Rumorville) on
CompuServe. The plaintiff claimed that defamatory material about its business was posted by a user in
that forum, and sued both the forum host and CompuServe. CompuServe moved for, and received, summary
judgement in its favor.
The prosecution of perpetrators disseminating illegal contents in the Internet is not only made difficult
by the fact that these perpetrators are acting from abroad and that the international mechanisms of cooperation are often weak and slow. Prosecution is often impossible since perpetrators can hide behind the
anonymity which today is granted by anonymous re-mailers and by the abuse of free access software.

8.4 OTHER OFFENCES


Along with the advance of information technology, new areas of live computers can be used for almost
all offences. This includes, e.g., threats to human life, various activities of organized crime as well as
electronic warfare.

8.4.1 Attacks on Life


Computer manipulations described above did not only serve the purpose of gaining pecuniary benefits,
but were also used for attacks on life -as in the case of the manipulation of a flight control system or of a
hospital computer.
An example for the spreading of computer crime in traditional fields of offences is the manipulation of
a British hacker, who accessed the information system of a Liverpool hospital in 1994 because he simply
wanted to see what kind of chaos could be caused by penetrating the hospital computer. Among other
things, he changed the medical prescriptions for the patients: A nine-year-old patient who was prescribed
a highly toxic mixture survived only because a nurse re-checked his prescription.

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

8.4.2 Organized Crime


It is obvious that the powerful tools of modern computer and communication systems to store, administer
and transfer data are also used by organized crime groups in many areas. Organized crime is especially
involved in the above described acts of sophisticated computer fraud, credit card fraud, telephone fraud
as well as software and product piracy. Computer data stored and transmitted in encrypted form is also
used e.g. by drug and arms dealers to administer their activities. In the future, electronic money transactions
and cyber money will be increasingly used for illegal gambling and for money laundering on the internet.
The involvement of organized crime groups in the field of computer fraud was illustrated when a
Russian group attacked one of the best known US banks in New York via data networks in 1994. Operating
from St. Petersburg, the group succeeded in causing the American bank to transfer over US$ 10 million
to foreign accounts. Monitoring and following the money trail of the manipulations, some of the perpetrators
finally could be arrested.

8.4.3 Electronic Warfare


In the meantime, the possibilities of computer manipulations have also been recognized in the military
sector. Strategic Information Warfare has become a form of potential warfare of its own. This type of
warfare is primarily directed to paralyze or manipulate the adversarys computer systems.
The dependency of military systems on modern information systems became evident in 1995 when a
tiger-team of the US Air Force succeeded in sending seven ships of the US Navy to a wrong destination
due to manipulations via computer networks.
Experts point out the possible danger originating from a manipulated nuclear power station in order to
stress that computer misuse has become a global threat and the security of modern computer systems has
gained central significance for the information society of our days.(Prof.Ulrich Sieber, 1999)
As the technological potential misuse unfolds, we need to expand the scope of criminalization. The
possibility of marginal differences as to the scope and ambit of respective cyber crimes cannot be ruled
out. Strides in information technology further blurred the legislative understanding of what constitutes
cyber crime.
Thus broadly speaking, the following specified nature of offences are recognized by respective nationstates in their legislations. The list by no means is to be construed as exhaustive but only illustrative.
Computer Fraud: The input, alteration, erasure, or suppression of computer data or computer programs
or other interference with the course of data processing that influences the result of the data processing,
thereby causing economic or possessory loss of property of another person with the intent of procuring an
unlawful economic gain for himself or any other person;

Unit 8 - Cyber Crimes

45

Computer Forgery: The input, alteration, erasure, or suppression of computer data or computer programs
or other interference with the course of data processing in a manner as prescribed by the law;
Damage to computer Data or computer Programs: The erasure, damaging, deterioration, or suppression
of computer data or computer programs without right;
Computer Sabotage: The input, alteration, erasure, or suppression of computer data or computer programs
or other interference with computer systems, with an intent to hinder the functioning of a computer or a
telecommunication system;
Unauthorized Access: The access without right to a computer system or network by infringing security
measures;
Unauthorized Interception: The interception made without right and by technical means, of
communications to, from and within a computer system or network;
Unauthorized Reproduction of a Protected Computer Program: The reproduction, distribution, or
communication to the public without right;

Pornographic content on the net.

8.5 CLASSIFICATION OF CYBER CRIMES IN I.T. ACT, 2000.


(Amended in 2008)
Accessing or securing access to a computer, computer system or computer network
Downloading , coping or extracting any data or information for such computer, computer system
or computer network including information or data held or stored on any removable storage
medium
Introducing any computer virus or contaminant in the computer, computer system or network
Damaging the computer, computer system or network
Disrupting the working of the computer, computer system or network.
Denying access of the computer, computer system or network to an authorized user.
Providing assistance to ensure unauthorized access to the computer, computer system or network.
Using a computer resource and charging it to another person
Diminishing the value or utility of information residing inside a computer
Altering, or deleting information residing inside a computer
Tampering with computer source documents

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

46

Sending grossly offensive, defamatory, annoying messages through E Mail or SMS


Publishing or distribution of information which is obscene in electronic form
Publishing, distribution, browsing, collecting, searching, etc of information that is obscene and
depicts children.
Not retaining information as defined
Being in possession of and using stolen computer devices
Impersonation and identity theft in the form of password theft etc
Capturing obscene pictures in violation of the privacy of an individual
Cyber terrorism
Carrying on activities that are not in compliance with the provisions of the Act.
Failure to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the Controller to decrypt any information
necessary for the security of the nation.
Unauthorized access or attempt to secure unauthorized access to a system that by official
notification is declared a protected system.
Misrepresenting or suppressing any material fact from the Controller or Certifying Authority for
obtaining any license or Digital Signature Certificate.
Breach of confidentiality and privacy.
Publishing Digital Certificate that are false in certain particulars
Failure to furnish any document, report, information, maintain book of account as required by
the Controller or Certifying authorities.
Civil liabilities also arise in respect of commission of various offences and failure to practice reasonable
security practices for protecting sensitive personal information.
Vicarious liabilities arise on organizations and its employees when there is failure of practice of Due
Diligence to prevent occurrence of any contraventions.

8.6 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

Discuss the current forms of computer crime.

2.

Discuss the classification of crimes under the IT Act, 2000.

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Unit 9

Cyber Contracts

9.0 INTRODUCTION

he Indian Contract Act, 1872 has been the basis for the enforcement of Contracts. The Act
specifies the conditions that are necessary for a contract to be a valid contract and to be enforceable
by law. The Information Technology Act, 2000 (I.T. Act, 2000) contains provisions on how a
contract can be formed electronically. The Act acts in conjunction with the Indian contract Act, 1872.

9.1 OBJECTIVE
The objective in this unit is to give you a concise picture regarding the formation of a contract, the
validity of a contract and statutory provisions governing the formation of a contract. After reading through
this unit you will be able to explain the essential features of a contract and the specific requirements for
electronic contracts.

9.2 CYBER CONTRACT


The formation of a valid contract is governed by the Indian Contract Act, 1872. A contract could be
made in any form to show an agreement between two parties which takes into account all the essentials
of a contract. Writing is not essential for the validity of a contract except where a specific statutory
provision requires writing. An arbitration clause may be in writing. However the traditional method of
recording a contract and signing a contract by all the parties continues to be the prevalent mode of
executing a contract. A written document with the signature is associated with validity and as a useful
evidence of a transaction. An offer and acceptance are two main ingredients of a valid contract. New

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avenues to conclude and validate a contract executed by people separated geographically have emerged.
In the age of the internet where distances are no barriers to business, the primacy of paper documentation
had given way to contracts by electronic means. As far as there is a valid offer and acceptance, the
means of communication has ceased to be a factor. The I.T. Act, 2000 being a commercial code of ebusiness transaction, contains provisions with means to conclude a contract electronically and also to
provide a legal validity to such a transaction.
The I.T. Act states that where any law provides that information shall be in writing or in printed form,
the requirement is deemed to be satisfied if such information is in an electronic form and is accessible for
subsequent reference. The key ingredients of the formation of electronic contracts comprise communication
of offer and acceptance by electronic means, verification of the source of the communication, authentication
of the time and place of dispatch and finally the verifiability of the receipt of the data communication. If
the key ingredients are satisfied the legal enforceability of an electronic contract is at par with the paper
contract.
The provisions of Information Technology act are not applicable to the following
Negotiable instruments other than the cheque (i.e: Bill of Exchange and Promissory note)
as defined in the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
Power of attorney instruments as defined in the Power of Attorney Act, 1882
Trust as defined under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882
Will as defined in the Indian Succession Act 1925
Any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property
Any such class of documents or transactions as may be notified by the central Government in
the official Gazette

9.3 ESSENTIALS OF A CONTRACT


In India, the general law of contracts is contained in the Indian Contract Act 1872. The Act defines
contract as an agreement enforceable by law. The essentials of a (valid) contract are: 

Intention to create a contract.

Offer and acceptance.

Consideration

Capacity to enter into contract.

Unit 9 - Cyber Contracts

Free consent of the parties.

Lawful object of the agreement.

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Writing is not essential for the validity of a contract, except where a specific statutory provision
requires writing. An arbitration clause must be in writing.

9.3.1 Intention to be bound


A definite intention to be bound is highlighted by Gibson v. Manchester City Council (1979) 1 All E.R.
192. In 1970, M adopted a policy of selling council houses to tenants. In February, 1971 the City Treasurer
wrote to G, stating that council may be prepared to sell the house to you at 2,180 (freehold). The letter
asked G to make a formal application. This he did, and the council took the house off the list of councilmaintained properties. Before the completion of the normal process of preparation and exchange of
contracts when property is sold, control of the council changed hands and the policy of selling council
houses was reversed. The new council decided only to complete those transaction where exchange of
contracts had already taken place.
In the Court of Appeal, it was held (by a majority) that a contract had been made between G and M.
Lord Denning suggested that there is no need to look for a strict offer and acceptance in every case; a
price had been agreed and the parties intended to carry through the sale. However, the House of Lords
held that the February letter was (at the most) an invitation to treat and therefore Gs application was an
offer and not an acceptance.

9.3.2 Offer and Acceptance


It is an essential ingredient of a contract that there must be an offer and its acceptance. If there is no
offer, there is no contract, because there is no meeting of minds. Again, if there is an offer by one party,
but it is not accepted by the other party or if the ostensible acceptance of the offer is defective, then also,
there is no agreement and therefore no contract.
These propositions may appear to be elementary. A large bulk of commercial litigation, however,
requires the parties to deal with the basic questions, which are:


Has there been an offer at all in the particular case, or is there something less than an offer?

Has there been an acceptance of the offer?

If there is an acceptance, is it in the proper form?

Has the acceptance been communicated to the person making the offer?

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9.3.3 Concept of offer

An offer (or its Indian counterpart, a Proposal) is not defined by statute. It is generally understood as
denoting the expression, by words or conduct, of a willingness to enter into a legally binding contract. By
its terms, it expressly or impliedly indicates that it is to become binding on the offeror as soon as it has
been accepted, usually by a return promise or an act on the part of the person (the offeree) to whom it is
so addressed.
An acceptance, in relation to an offer, is a final and unqualified expression of assent to the terms of the
offer.
Offer followed by acceptance is an agreement. If an agreement is enforceable by law, it is a Contract.

9.3.4 Offer by and to whom


An offer must be made by a person legally competent to contract or on his behalf by someone authorized
by him to make the offer. It is usually made to a person or to a number of persons), but it can be made to
the entire world, as happened in Carlill v. Carbolic-Smoke Ball Co., (1893) 1 Q.B. 256: (1891-94) All
E.R. Rep. 127. In that case, the defendants (manufacturers of medicinal smoke balls) promised to pay
100 to anyone who, after having bought and used their smoke balls, caught influenza. Plaintiff did so and
caught influenza. Plaintiff was held to be entitled to recover his money. It was no defense that there was
no particular individual to whom the announcement was address. Such contracts are sometime called
unilateral contracts, not a very happy term, because a contract can never be unilateral. There must
be two parties. It is really a case of innumerable offers, made to all potential readers of the announcement.

9.3.5 Statements which are not offers


Every statement of intention is not an offer. A statement must be made with the intention that it will be
accepted and will constitute a binding contract. Following are not offers:


Statement made during negotiation, without indicating that the maker intends to be bound without
further negotiation.

A statement which invites the other party to make an offer (e.g. a notice inviting tenders).

Statement of lowest price. Harvey v. Facey, (1893) A.C. 552; Macpherson v. Appana, A.I.R.
1951 S.C. 184. It is regarded as an invitation to make offers Re Webster (1975) 132 C.L.R. 270.

A quotation. Mylappa Chettiar v. Aga Mirza, (1919) 37 M.L.J. 912.

Display of goods in a shop with price tags is not an offer, but is merely an invitation to make an
offer. Bell (1960) 3 All E.R. 731.

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9.4 TERMINATION OF OFFER


Some parties clearly indicate that their statements or documents do not constitute offers, e.g. estate
agents. These particulars do not form, nor constitute any part of an offer, or a contract, for sale.
Until an offer is accepted, it creates no legal rights and it may be terminated at any time in a variety of
ways.
Principal modes of termination of offer are 

By the offeror revoking (or withdrawing) it before acceptance.


In Great Northern Rly Co. Ltd v. Witham, (1873) L.R. 9 C.P. 16. GNR advertised for tenders
for the supply of such stores as they might require for one year. W submitted a tender to supply
the stores in such quantities as GNR might order from time to time and his tender was accepted.
Order were given for some time, but eventually W was given an order which he refused to
carry out. It was held that W was in breach. A tender of this kind was a standing offer which
was converted into a series of contracts as GNR made their orders. W might revoke his offer
for the reminder of the period covered, but must supply the goods already ordered. Revocation
of an offer is effective only when communicated to the offeree.

By the offeree rejecting the offer outright or by making a counter-offer.

By lapse of time, if the offer is stated to be open only for a fixed time.

9.5 QUALITY OF ACCEPTANCE


Acceptance of an offer must be absolute and must correspond with the terms of the offer. This rule,
a key constituent of the basic premise, does not always accord with the realities of complex business
contract negotiations today. Such negotiations may indeed proceed through a series of proposals, counterproposals, withdrawals, variations and qualifications, before agreement (or otherwise) is reached. When
parties carry on lengthy negotiations, it may be hard to say exactly when an offer has been made and
accepted. Butler Machine Tool Co. Ltd. v. The Ex. Cello Corp. (Eng.) Ltd., (1979) I W.L.R. 401.
The court must look at the entire correspondence to decide whether an apparently unqualified acceptance
did, in fact, conclude the agreement.
A conditional offer, if accepted must be accepted along with the conditions. Shyam Sunder v. Mun.
Chairman, A.I.R. 1984 Orissa III -113.

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9.6 CONSIDERATION
As a rule, an agreement without consideration is void. The Indian Contract Act defines consideration
as follows:
When, at the desire of the promisor, the promisee or any other person has done or abstained from
doing, or does or abstains from doing, or promises to do or abstains from doing something, such act,
abstinence, or promise is called a consideration for the promise.
A mere promise to give a donation, either orally or in writing, is not enforceable. Settlement of bona
fide but doubtful claims involves a bargain between the contracting parties and is, therefore, based on
consideration. Money is not the only form of consideration. A consideration may consist sometimes in the
doing of a requested act, and sometimes in the making of a promise by the offeree. Forbearance of sue at
the promisors desire constitutes good consideration.
Consideration is not required for a promise to compensate, wholly or in part, a person who has already
voluntarily done something for the promisor or something which the promisor was legally compellable to
do. It is also not required for a written and signed promise by the debtor (or his duly authorized agent) to
pay a time-barred debt to the creditor.

9.7 CAPACITY OF THE PARTIES


A person is competent to contract if, at the time of making it, he is of sound mind, major and not
disqualified from contracting under law. Where he has not attained the age of 18 years (or being under a
court of wards, has not attained the age of 21 years), he cannot contract. Agreements made by minors
are void. Minors cannot, on attaining majority, ratify agreements entered into during their minority. But if
a minor makes a fraudulent misrepresentation about his age and obtains a loan, he can be required (at the
discretion of the court under section 33 of the Specific Relief Act 1963) to refund it or to make compensation
for it. An unadjudged lunatic can enter into a valid contract during lucid intervals. A corporation can
contract subject to certain limits.

9.8 CONSENT
When consent to a transaction is procured by coercion, undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation,
the agreement is voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so procured. Cases of undue
influence arise where the transaction is ex facie unconscionable and one party was in a position to
dominate the will of the other. Where parties are bound by a fiduciary relationship, as in the case of father

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and son, doctor and patient, master and servant, advocate and client, the law protects the weaker party,
throwing on the other party the burden of proving that no undue influence was exercised. Mutual mistake
in respect of material facts in the formation of a contract renders the agreement void. A unilateral mistake,
however, does not render an agreement void. Nor does a mistake of law affect its validity.

9.9 UNLAWFUL AGREEMENTS


An agreement whose consideration or object is unlawful, is void. The consideration or object of an
agreement is unlawful, if it is forbidden by law or it would defeat the provisions of and law, is fraudulent,
or involves or implies injury to the person or property of another or the court regards it as immoral or
opposed to public policy.
A party to an illegal agreement who has advanced money under it to the other party is entitled to
recover it, if the illegal purpose has not been partly or wholly carried out.
Agreements in restraint of marriage, trade and legal proceedings are void. The seller of the good-will
of a business may, however, validly agree with the buyer to restrain from carrying on a similar business
within specified local limits, provides the limits are reasonable.

9.10 PERSONS BOUND BY CONTRACT


Promises bind the promisors and (in case of death of promisors before performance) their legal
representatives, unless there is a contract to the contrary, or the nature of the contract is such that it
depends upon the personal qualifications of any party.

9.11 PERFORMANCE AND FRUSTRATION


There are special provisions dealing with the case where time is the essence of contract. In commercial
contracts, it is better to provide specifically that time is of the essence. A contract is validly discharged by
faithful performance, by release or remission by the promisee, by frustration (under law) or by Novation
(by agreement). Frustration occurs when unexpected development subsequent to the making of the contract
render performance impossible.
Novation occurs when the old agreement is replaced by a new agreement.

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9.12 SUBSEQUENT EVENTS AND FRUSTRATION


If, subsequent to the making of the contract, some event happens, which the parties could not control
so that the agreement cannot be performed, the contract is said to be frustrated because the contract
then becomes impossible of performance. Frustration may occur by a change in the law, destruction of
the subject matter, incapacity of the contracting party to perform the contract or fundamental change in
circumstances after the contract is made. Mere strike, lock-out in the factory, rise in price of the contracted
goods or other commercial difficulties do not, as such, render the contract impossible of performance.
Introduction of the permit system by statute does not absolve the promisor from supplying the goods.
He must make reasonable efforts to procure the permit to fulfil his agreement. Change in market conditions
also does not justify a supplier in demanding a price higher than that stipulated, unless there is an escalation
clause.
Frustration leads to automatic termination of the contract, and exempts the parties from performance
or further performance of the contract without rendering any of them liable for damages. Where, however,
any party has received any benefit under the agreement, he must restore it or make compensation for it to
the other party.

9.13 REMEDIES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT


The principal remedies for the breach of contract are


Damages,

Specific performance of the contract

Injunction.

9.13.1 Damages
When a contract has been broken, the party who suffers by such breach is entitled to receive, from the
party who has broken the contract, compensation for any loss or damage caused to him thereby, being
loss or damages which naturally arose in the usual course of things from such breach or which the parties
knew, when they made the contract, to be likely to result from the breach of it.
Such compensation is not to be given for any remote and indirect loss or damage sustained by reason
of the breach.

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The same principle applies for determining damages for breach of an obligation arising from quasicontract.
In estimating the loss or damage arising from a breach of contract, the means which existed of
remedying the inconvenience caused by the non-performance of the contract must be taken into account.

9.13.1.1 Penal Stipulations


If a sum is named in the contract as the amount to be paid in case of breach of contract or if the
contract contains any other stipulation by way of penalty, the party complaining of the breach is entitled,
whether or not actual damage or loss is proved to have been caused thereby, to receive from the party
who has broken the contract, reasonable compensation not exceeding the amount so named or the penalty
stipulated for.
A stipulation for increased interest from the date of default may be regarded as a stipulation by way
of penalty. The court is empowered to reduce it to an amount reasonable in the circumstances.

9.13.2 Specific performance


In certain special cases dealt with in the Specific Relief Act, 1963 the court may direct against the
party in default specific performance of the contract, that is to say, the party may be directed to perform
the very obligation which he has undertaken by the contract. (P.M. Bakshi, 1994)

9.13.3 Injunctions
An injunction is a preventive relief and is granted at the discretion of the court. The discretion of the
court is not arbitrary but is guided by judicial principles. A further check on the discretion is the provision
for correction through an appeal in a higher court. The different types of injunctions are
a. Temporary injunction: A temporary injunction is granted to continue until a specified period of
time or until the time the court orders its continuation. The injunction can be granted at any time
of the suit and is governed by the Code of civil procedure.
b. Permanent injunction: A permanent injunction is granted to prevent a breach of an obligation
existing in favor of an applicant. A permanent injunction is granted by the court only after an
hearing and on the merits of the case.

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9.14 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS
QUESTIONS
1.

Discus the essentials of a valid contract

2.

What are the remedies for the breach of a contract

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Unit 10

Cyber Privacy

10.0 INTRODUCTION

rivacy in cyber space has assumed great importance given the proliferation in electronic commerce.
The privacy violation particularly in the western societies is viewed as an infringement of ones
right, whether the violation concerns activity that is of a commercial or a private nature. In this unit
you will find a detailed discussion regarding privacy issues confronting the cyber world

10.1 OBJECTIVE
This unit will discuss important issues that figure in cyber piracy. You will be able to explain the
different aspects of cyber privacy and analyze the privacy issues that need to be addressed.

10.2 CYBER PRIVACY A PERSPECTIVE


Be that as it may, like the benefits we are also experiencing the risks and effects of vulnerabilities of
the information technology in the same way. Among other concerns, privacy in cyber space has acquired
center stage, of late, in view of more than one reason. As the number of online users increase, the
information rendered by them multiplies. The concern about that information is, whether online users can
exercise any kind of control over the information that has been passed on to the service provider in the
cyber medium? The concern is quite legitimate, because, by and large such information is personal and
private.
Depending upon the nature of transaction that is likely to be entered or created, the nature and extent

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of information will be provided by the users or rather demanded by the service provider. The information
includes, e-mail identity, address for communication, telephone numbers, employment, marital status, health
status and financial information and the like. In other words, the growing influence of information technology
is resulting in sharing and storing of wealth of personal information. Today enormous amounts of information
are being collected by many thousands of web sites. As of now in the practice while an effective technology
called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is used for protecting the privacy of the transaction between a browser
and a web server, the protection ceases once the information is on the server and in the hands of the
entity.
In the area of data-gathering and use by on-line businesses, the new technology has made it possible
not only to store personal information provided by consumers but also to track consumers decisions as
they move through on-line sites - whether or not they complete transactions. Should this sort of transactional
data be used differently than the personal information affirmatively provided by consumers? The personal
and transactional information that can be captured on-line differs both qualitatively and quantitatively
from the information a merchant obtains when an in-person transaction is completed. Should the nature of
the information gathered limit the uses to which such information may be put by business? Are there, for
example, types of information that should not be used for target marketing purposes? Should information
gathered for the purpose of consummating a transaction be used for market research? What are the limits
on a business ability to resell/rent personal consumer information to other businesses? Is it appropriate to
think of a consumers interest in his or her personal or transactional information as a right? If so, what
is the responsibility of business with regard to that right? If not, to what extent should the consumer have
control over personal and transactional information? How should the consumers control be exercised?
What constitutes voluntary consent to the use of personal or transactional information that has been
gathered on-line? How much is the consumer entitled to know about the uses to which personal or
transactional information will be put? At what stage in a business relationship should the consumer be
asked for consent? Should that be informed consent ? If so, what kind of information is to be furnished by
the service provider? To what extent should consumers have access to the information about and the
ability to correct or modify information that is being collected from them and gathered about them? These
are well founded concerns of online users who part with the information, as and when demanded by the
service provider.
That the individual shall have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the
common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define anew the exact nature and
extent of such protection. Political, social and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and
the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society. Thus, in very early times, the
law gave a remedy only for physical interference with life and property, for trespass etc. ( See, Samuel D.
Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, Harvard Law Review, Vol.15, 1890,at p.192).
However, the passage of time revealed that only a part of the pain, pleasure, and profit of life lay in
physical things, and the remaining in the personhood, in the sense of, thoughts, emotions and sensations
and the like. The unique feature of common law enabled the judges to afford the requisite protection,

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without the interposition of the legislature, in this area of intangible nature, i.e., privacy. Judge Cooley
pronounced this as right to be left alone. (See Cooley on Torts, 2nd ed., p.29)
In this process, over a period of time, the nature of legal response in the form of common law based
tort law, has evolved towards privacy concerns. This development had profound impact particularly on
constitutional law. In so far as Indian context is concerned, by and large, evolution of privacy related law
had undergone similar experience. One unique development in this respect is, judiciarys painstaking
efforts to recognize right to privacy involving gender dimension which can be acquired by virtue of a local
custom or a grant or special permission. (See Ratanlal and Dhirajlal, Law of torts at pp382-383).
In recent times, the Supreme Courts pronouncements (Particularly focusing on surveillance and
telephone tapping situations. Gobind v. State of M.P. (1975) 2 SCC 148 per Honble K.K. Mathew, V.R.
Krishna Iyer and P.K. Goswamy JJ. Also see Kharak Singh v. State of U.P. AIR 1963 SC 1295 per
Honble B.P. Sinha, Syed Jafer Imam, K. Subba Rao, J.C. Shah, N. Rajagopala Iyengar, J.R. Mudholkar
JJ.) on this matter from the perspective of Constitutional law are quite enlightening. Justice K.K. Mathew,
in one such case, observed that, privacy-dignity claims deserve to be examined with care and to be
denied only when an important countervailing interest is shown to be superior. If the court does find that
a claimed right is entitled to protection as a fundamental privacy right, a law infringing it must satisfy the
compelling State interest. Then the question would be whether a State interest is of such paramount
importance as would justify an infringement of the right. Obviously, if the enforcement of morality were
held to be a compelling as well as a permissible State interest, the characterization of a claimed right as a
fundamental privacy right would be of far less significance. Privacy primarily concerns the individual. It
therefore relates to and overlaps with the concept of liberty. The most serious advocate of privacy must
confess that there are serious problems of defining the essence and scope of the right. Privacy interest in
autonomy must also be placed in the context of other rights and values. Any right to privacy must compass
and protect the personal intimacies of the home, the family, marriage, motherhood, procreation and child
rearing. This catalogue approach to the question is obviously not as instructive as it does not give an
analytical picture of the distinctive characteristics of the right of privacy. Perhaps, the only suggestion that
can be offered as unifying principle underlying the concept has been the assertion that a claimed right
must be a fundamental right implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The right to privacy in any event will
necessarily have to go through a process of case-by-case development. In an attempt to legitimately
justify this kind of interpretation of bringing right to privacy under Article 21 of our Constitution, Justice
Kuldip Singh (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India (1997) 1 SCC 301 per Honble
Kuldip Singh, S. Saghir Ahmed JJ.) affirmed that, India is a signatory to the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, 1966. Article 17 thereof provides for right of privacy. Article 12 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 is almost in similar terms. Article 17 of the International Covenant
does not go contrary to any part of our municipal law. Article 21 of the Constitution has, therefore, to be
interpreted in conformity with the international law. The right to privacy, the Supreme Court continued, by
itself, has not been identified under the Constitution. As a concept it may be too broad and moralistic to
define it judicially. Whether right to privacy can be claimed or has been infringed in a given case would
depend on the facts of the said case. But the right to hold a telephone conversation in the privacy of ones

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home or office without interference can certainly be claimed as right to privacy. Conversations on the
telephone are often of an intimate and confidential character. Telephone conversation is a part of modern
mans life. Right of privacy would certainly include telephone conversation in the privacy of ones home
or office. Telephone tapping would, thus, infract Article 21 of the Constitution of India unless it is permitted
under the procedure established by law.
Though it is claimed that the constitutionally interpreted right to privacy under Article 21 can be
enforced against private persons as well, many others strongly feel that the right to privacy against private
persons can only be enforced by invoking the principle of privacy as an actionable tort per se. (See
R.Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu (1994) 6 SCC 632 per Honble B.P Jeevan Reddy and Suhas C. Sen
JJ Also see, Soli Sorabjee, Privacy and Defamation : Supreme Court defines parameters, Indian Express
dated 12th November, at p.9.)
Similarly, any act or behavior threatening or disturbing privacy per se has not been subjected to
criminalization, in the initial phase. One plausible reason could be, like criminal law, for long has not
recognized any kind of injury or interference caused to either intangible or incorporeal property. Thats the
reason why, till suitable and subject specific statutory codifications have been made, in English Criminal
law, theft of information was not construed as a criminal offence. (See Chris Reed and John Angel,
Computer Law at pp.270-71). For similar developments in Scotts Law and Canadian Law, see ibid. at
pp.271-76.) More or less similar developments have taken place in Indian context as well.
The concern has acquired a new dimension in the electronic era. Unlike the legal rules concerning
corporeal objects, information law does not only consider the economic interests of the proprietor or
holder but also takes into account the interests of persons concerned with the content of information.
Before the invention of computers, the legal protection of persons in regard to the content of information
was limited. Few provisions existed in the criminal law other than those in relation to libel. Since the 1970s,
however, new technologies have expanded the possibilities of collecting, storing, accessing, comparing,
selecting, linking and transmitting data, thereby causing new threats to privacy. This has prompted many
countries to enact new elements of administrative, civil and penal regulations.
Various international measures, support this evolution by developing a common approach to privacy
protection. (http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/~pr2gq1/rev4344.html )
In response to the challenges posed by the cyber context, different legal measures have been initiated
in diverse jurisdictions, particularly envisaging remedial measures for privacy violations. (For instance see
Data Protection Act, 1998. For a comprehensive source of primary and secondary legislation in this
regard, see Encyclopedia of Data Protection, S.Chalton, S.Gaskill,H. Grant and I Walden (eds),
London:Sweet & Maxwell. Section 72 of The Information Technology Act, 2000 states that any person
who, in pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder
has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or
other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book,
register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished

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with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh
rupees or with both.)
At the outset, it is necessary to understand and realize that any attempt to address the concerns
pertaining to consumer privacy should not ignore or overlook the concerns of all those who possess an
interest in the continued growth of e-commerce and trade. There appears to be a kind of consensus which
is largely driven by the thinking of National Information Infrastructure Task Force (NIIF) (Constituted by
Clinton administration, based in USA.) to the effect that electronic medium must shape development of a
workable privacy policy which could be pragmatically subjected to realistic enforcement without
compromising the interests of either the industry or the consumers. In this regard, fundamentally envisaged
principles include: (a) everyone associated particularly, consumers, government and business have a shared
responsibility towards fair and proper use of personal information; (b) the technology must be consumer
friendly, in the sense that it would empower individuals to take steps to protect that information themselves;
(c) transparency about and accountability for the process of collecting and using personal information; (d)
dissemination of information about the ways in which the personal information is used or misused in
cyberspace. (This is with a view to create public awareness, so that the public will be able to initiate
appropriate preventive measures.)
The NIIF privacy principles broadly identify three fundamental concerns that must govern the way in
which personal information is acquired, disclosed and used on the net information privacy, information
integrity and information quality. First an assurance as to the collected personal information regarding its
proper usage. Second, unfair or improper alteration of personal information. And, third, personal information
should be accurate, timely, complete and relevant for the purposes for which it is provided and used.
In addition, those who gather and use personal information should recognize and respect the privacy
interests that individuals have in personal information by (a) assessing the impact on privacy in deciding
whether to obtain or use personal information, and (b) obtaining and keeping only information that could
be reasonably expected to support current or planned activities and use the information only for those or
compatible principles and none else. As the individual consumers must be enabled to take informed
decision about providing personal information, the service providers or entities that collect information
must be obligated to comply with the following by disclosing: (a) why they are collecting the information;
(b) what is the apparent purpose of collecting such information; (c) what measures will be employed to
protect its confidentiality, quality and integrity of information collected; (d) reasonable consequences in
the form of substantive remedies for providing or withholding information.

10.3 POLICY APPROACHES TO PRIVACY CONCERNS


According to the current thinking the policy regime pertaining to protection of privacy concerns may
be premised upon three approaches, namely, based on markets, human rights and contracts.

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10.3.1 Market approach


Fundamentally, the market oriented approach rejects extrinsic legal enforcement and takes within its
fold self-regulatory mechanisms which would enable the market players to employ or adopt. Any failure
on the part of the market player will get disciplined or rectified by the market place. However, this
approach of market discipline does not talk tangible consumer remedies.

10.3.2 Human rights approach


The human rights approach recognizes right to information and the related attribute of privacy as a
human right. Naturally, surveillance becomes operational strategy to protect the interests of the members.

10.3.3 Contract approach


The third approach recognizes contract model. Prima facie this model premises on the ground that in
a given context the privacy concerns are better protected if the concern is treated as terms and conditions
of the contract. As a result, the contract imposes an obligation on the parties to protect the privacy
concerns, if not or in the event of breach, the contract itself provides for contractual remedies.
Almost in every case of cyber service provider, policy pertaining to protection of the privacy interests
of the consumer is normally announced. Normally this forms part of the envisaged terms and conditions
of the contractual relationship. For instance, Transpoints privacy policy runs as respecting customer
privacy is of utmost importance to transpoint. To assure you of transpoints commitment to privacy,
transpoint publishes and complies with this privacy policy in its delivery of the transpoint service to you,
the end user. Transpoint minimizes the collection of information that personally identifies you or allows
you to be contacted. Transpoint and its necessary service providers use your personal information to
operate the transpoint service, which includes providing customer service to end users, billers, and financial
institutions, to keep you informed of transpoint services, and to fulfill legal and regulatory obligations. In
order to protect your privacy, transpoint does not share your personal information with any third party
except as necessary to operate the transpoint system and to fulfill legal and regulatory obligations.
(http://www.transpoint.com/privacy_policy.asp )
Similarly, Paytrust privacy pledge reads as the privacy and security of your personal information is
the foremost consideration of the paytrust service, Paytrust will never sell any of your personal information
contact, financial, bill history to any other company, period. Unlike many billers who routinely sell their
customers to direct marketing organizations, Pay trust keeps all subscriber lists confidential. And, unlike
many other web sites, Pay trust does not depend on advertising for revenue. Paytrust is completely
committed to safeguarding your personal information and protecting your privacy. (http://
www.paytrust.com/htmlu/privacy.htm ).

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Despite the business practice of treating privacy concerns as part of overall contractual terms and
conditions, the current experiences have clearly revealed that, they have little to offer in terms of providing
equitable remedy to the online consumers. And also the different ways in which such personal information
is misused in the cyber context has unfolded downsliding nature of public faith in cyber systems. Naturally,
it is necessary to preempt the possible onslaught on the technological innovation by strategizing newer
ways of protecting and promoting the privacy concerns. In response to this, Privacy Preferences Project
(P3P) agreements have come to be viewed as an important process.

10.4 PLATFORM FOR PRIVACY PREFERENCES PROJECT


(P3P):
The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C), aims at providing a simple, automated way for users to gain more control over the use of personal
information on web sites they browse. To put it simply, P3P is a standardized set of multiple choice
questions, covering all the major aspects of a web sites privacy policies. In other words, this information
enables the online consumer to select the ways in which his or her personal information will be handled by
the service provider. P3P enabled browsers can read this snapshot automatically and compare it to the
consumers own set of privacy preferences. P3P enhances user control by putting privacy policies where
users can find them, in a form users can understand, and, most importantly, enables users to act on what
they see. (For details browse, http://www.w3.org/p3p)
Professor Lawrence Lessig opines that, in the context of proper legislation, P3P is the most promising
solution to cyberspace privacy. It will make it easy for companies to explain their practices in a form that
computers can read, and make it easy for consumers to express their preferences in a way that computers
will automatically respect.
P3P, on one hand, while providing facilitating environment for the consumer to decide, negotiate and
firm up the contractual relationship, on the other recognizes nine aspects of online privacy. The first five
aspects deal with (a) who is collecting this data? (b) what information is being collected? (c) For what
purpose is it being collected? (d) which information is being shared with others? (e) who are these data
recipients? The remaining four aspects focus on the sites internal privacy policies. They include (a) can
users make changes in how their data is used? (b) how are disputes resolved? (c) what is the policy for
retaining data? (d) where can the detailed policies be found in human readable form?
Essentially P3P will help responsible online businesses empower users to choose the privacy relationship
best for them. As of now, key international market players of diverse business practices are adopting this
approach. They include, Microsoft, Nokia, IBM, Netscape etc. (Supra. N. 21).
If we look into the way in which P3P agreements are invoked, there seems to be adequate material to
structure our critical response. P3P is nothing but a software to negotiate privacy agreements between

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web sites and online visitors. It is a kind of social technology which involves not merely technology but
also active participation of human beings. Software generated information enabling browsers to decide
about the effective ways of protecting their privacy interests, ( in the form of P3P ) as a process presupposes
prior knowledge on the part of the consumers. Mere computer literacy in the sense of operating a system
is not adequate. What is required is technical know how in understanding and appreciating the technical
language that is employed in structuring the agreements. Particularly the kind of vocabulary that is used.
Secondly, the entire framework of P3P lacks transparent negotiability factors, as a result of which the
online consumer has to depend on what is given as a possible option or choice. In a sense, the agreement
reflects more of unitary approach with standardized set of terms and conditions. Another significant part
is that, before the consumer finalizes the deal, he or she must be categorically and unequivocally informed
as to what the entity is going to do with the information to be provided by the consumer. Under no
circumstances, this option can be given to the party after finalization of the contract, in such a case, it
would not serve any purpose. How do we ensure this? Unless it is ensured, it is difficult to say that P3P
agreements empower netizens to exercise control over the information given by them.
Though P3P agreements apparently claim protection or control over the information, however, do not
provide a technical mechanism for making sure service providers act according to their agreements.
Therefore, there is a need for parallel laws and systemic processes including self-regulatory programmes
which can provide enforcement mechanisms,if not, P3P may not be construed by public as an effective
and alternative method of protecting privacy interests.
(Also see Robert Thibadeau, A Critique of P3P: Privacy on the Web (http://dollar.ecom.cmu.edu/
p3critique)

10.5. CYBER PRIVACY LEGISLATION IN ITA 2008


ITA 2008 has made an attempt to provide for Cyber Privacy Protection by imposing a civil liability if
Reasonable Security Practices are not used by a Body Corporate while handling Sensitive Personal
Information. Failure to meet the requirements of a contract of privacy may also result in imprisonment
upto 3 years and a fine. Sensitive personal information has been defined to include
(i)

password;

(ii)

financial information such as Bank account or credit card or debit card orother payment
instrument details ;

(iii) physical, physiological and mental health condition;


(iv) sexual orientation;
(v) medical records and history;

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(vi) Biometric information;


(vii) any detail relating to the above clauses as provided to body corporate for providing service;
and
(viii) any of the information received under above clauses by body corporate for processing, stored
or processed under lawful contract or otherwise:
The law however provides that a contract between the data subject and the data processor which
defines the mutual responsibilities of privacy protection will override any other provisions.
Government of India is also in the process of passing a separate legislation for Privacy Protection in
the form of Privacy Bill 2011 which is presently pending in the Parliament.
Questions:
1. Discuss the policy approaches to privacy issues
2. Explain the essentials of Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) platform
3. Describe the concept of Sensitive Personal Information in ITA 2008
[P.S: This paragraph is a suggested addition. Corresponding changes need to be made in the index page
also]

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Unit 11

Information Technology Act, 2000


(I.T. Act, 2000)

11.0 INTRODUCTION

n this age of globalization where India is one of the biggest emerging markets, it is natural that modern
methods of communication and new technology based business practices are the order of the day.
There has been an increasing use of electronic technology and the internet as the medium of doing
business. Existing laws though having stood the test of time were falling short of providing the legal
framework for emerging technology based business practices. New laws put together under the
nomenclature Cyber Laws have been framed to act in conjunction with the existing laws of the land.
The Information Technology Act has been formulated to give a legal framework for electronic transactions
in India.

11.1 OBJECTIVE
In this unit you will be able to get an overview of the I.T. Act, 2000. It will enable you to explain the
scope of computer crime and the provisions in law designed to punish actions that break the law.

11.2 THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000: AN


OVERVIEW
The object of The Information Technology Act, 2000, as defined there in as under :
To provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and
other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as electronic commerce, which involve

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the use of alternatives to paper based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate
electronic filling of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal
Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers Book Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of
India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Towards that end, the said Act aims to provide for the legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded
to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means. The said Act further states
that, unless otherwise agreed, an acceptance of contract may be expressed by electronic means of
communication and the same shall have legal validity and enforceability. The said Act purports to facilitate
electronic intercourse in trade and commerce, eliminate barriers and obstacles coming in the way of
electronic commerce resulting from the glorious uncertainties relating to writing and signature requirements
over the Internet. The Act also aims to fulfill its objects of promoting and developing the legal and business
infrastructure necessary to implement electronic commerce.
Chapter II of the said Act specifically stipulates that any subscriber may authenticate an electronic
record by affixing his digital signature. It further states that any person by the use of a public key of the
subscriber can verify the electronic record.
Chapter III of the Act details about Electronic Governance and provides that information or any other
matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in
such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such information or matter is
rendered or made available in an electronic form; and accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent
reference.
The said chapter also details about the legal recognition of Digital Signatures. The various provisions
further elaborate on the use of Electronic Records and Digital Signatures in Government Agencies. The
Act gives a scheme for Regulation in the Electronic Gazette.
Chapter VI of the said Act gives a scheme for Regulation of Certifying Authorities. It details who shall
perform the function of exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities. It also lays
down standards and conditions governing the Certifying Authorities and also specifies the various forms
and content of Digital Signature Certificates. The Act recognizes the need for recognizing foreign Certifying
Authorities and its further details the various provisions for the issue of license to issue Digital Signature
Certificates.
Chapter VII of the Act details the scheme of things relating to Digital Signature Certificates.
The duties of subscribers are also enshrined in the said Bill.
Chapter IX of the said Act talks about penalties and adjudication for various offences. It also provides
for adjudication of claims for damages as compensation to affected persons. The said Adjudicating Officer
has been given the powers of a Civil Court.
There is a provision in Chapter X which envisage the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal shall be an

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appellate body where appeals against the orders passed by the adjudicating officers shall be preferred.
The said Tribunal shall not be bound by the principles of the code of civil procedure but shall follow the
principles of natural justice and shall have the same powers as those are vested in a civil court. Against an
order or decision of the cyber appellate Tribunal, an appeal shall lie to the high court.
Chapter IX of the said Act talks about penalties and adjudication for various offences. It also provides
for adjudication of claims for damages as compensation to affected persons. The said Adjudicating Officer
has been given the powers of a Civil Court.

11.3 TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS


The electronic documents move in a network from the originating computer to the destination computer.
The greatest risk involved in the movement of data over the network is the possibility of confidentiality of
the document being lost or that the document could have been tampered with. The science of Cryptography
deals with the encryption of data ie. the process of making information unintelligible to the unauthorized
reader. Encryption translates the data into a secret code. Decryption the process of making the information
readable once again completes the cryptography process. The sending of documents in an encrypted
form is the basis of the digital signature system.
There are two types of Cryptographic systems symmetric and asymmetric. The symmetric Crypto
system (single key system) consists of both the sender and the receiver having access and sharing a
common Key to encrypt or decrypt a message. The attendant drawback of this system is the security of
the Key itself. The Asymmetric Crypto system ( Public key system) is a more secure system and
overcomes the drawbacks of the single key system. This system uses two keys ie. a key pair generated
by the asymmetric Crypto system. The originator of the documents who creates the key pair keeps one
key which is known as the Private Key and the other key is sent to the person who is a recipient of an
authenticated message from the originator. The recipient uses the public key of the sender to verify who
has authenticated the message.
To ensure that the message has not been modified after authentication, a Hash Value of the electronic
document being sent by the sender is calculated and encrypted with the private key of the sender constituting
the Digital Signature of the sender for the specified document.
The hash value of a document is a value generated when an electronic document is passed through
a hashing algorithm. Standard hash algorithm approved by the Government are algorithms which have
been proved scientifically that the hash value (also called message digest) produced by the algorithm is
reliable to the effect that even if a dot or a comma is changed in the document the resulting hash value is
distinctly different from the earlier hash value, it is always of a finite size, always produces the same hash
value for a document, and it is impossible to re-create a document from its hash value .

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The public key of the recipient is also used by the sender to encrypt the message to ensure that it
cannot be viewed by any person other than the recipient who possesses the private key required for the
decryption. Thus the combination of Public Key and Private Key along with hash function provides both
confidentiality and authentication which are key enablers for secure electronic transmission.
In order to enable certification of a public key during distribution, an authority called Certifying
Authority is licensed under the Act by an authority called Controller of Certifying Authority.

11.4 EVIDENTIARY PRESUMPTIONS OF A SECURED


ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT
An electronic document is said to be secure where any security procedure has been applied to the
electronic record at a specific point of time. An electronic document is considered a Secured Electronic
Document if it is digitally signed using a process where the private key is held in an external token such
as a cryptographic key or a smart card instead of being stored in the computer. In such document there is
a presumption that the document is sent only from the person who has signed and that there has been no
modification in the document after it has been signed.
The creation of an electronic document that is legally binding is technologically complex and calls for
a certain degree of technical awareness on the part of the users. A legally enforceable electronic document
must pass the test of authentication, non-repudiation, confidentiality and information integrity during
transmission or storage.
The signature of the contracting persons in a paper based system is the key element in the authentication
of the document. Likewise an electronic signature is the key in an electronic record. This equivalent
electronic signature is referred to as the digital signature. The purpose of the digital signature is to identify
the sender of the electronic record, authenticate the originator of the message and to certify that the
message could not have been tampered with during the course of its transmission. Unless otherwise
proved, presumption is that the digital signature is the signature of the originator and that there is an
intention of signing the record.

11.5 CERTIFYING AUTHORITY (CA)


Certifying Authority (CA)
The Certifying Authority (CA) issues Digital Signature Certificates based on a certifying policy followed
by the Certifying Authority. These CAs are licenced by the Controller of Certifying Authorities. The
Certifying Authority would have to ensure
That a person who intends to empower himself with a capability of affixing a digital signature on
an electronic document subscribes to a Digital Certificate issued by the Certifying Authority.

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That the Digital Certificate issued to a subscriber contains a copy of the public key identified
with the subscriber along with the credentials such as his name, email address etc.
That the person named in the certificate possesses a private key corresponding to the public key
contained in the digital certificate.
That the pair of keys associated with the certificate have been generated by the subscriber
using a security process as declared in the Certification Practice Statement issued by the Certifying
Authority and approved by the Controller of Certifying Authorities.
That other standards set by the regulations for issue of digital certificates are followed.

11.6 CONTROLLER OF CERTIFYING AUTHORITIES


The Controller of Certifying Authorities monitor, certify and oversee the functioning of the CA. The
Controller of Certifying Authority is also the Certificate Repository ( CR ). The Certificate Repository
(CR) holds information on the certificates issued, valid, revoked and cancelled certificates. The functions
of the Controller include


Exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities

Certifying Public Keys of the Certifying Authorities

Laying down standards to be maintained by the Certifying Authorities

Specifying the form and content of the Digital Signature Certificate

Resolve any conflict of interests between the CA and the subscribers

Maintaining a database containing the disclosure record of every CA and ensuring its access to
the public

Specify the manner in which the CA shall conduct their dealings with the subscriber.

11.7 SUSPENSION OF CERTIFYING AUTHORITY


The Controller can suspend the license of the certifying authority if after an enquiry he is satisfied that


Incorrect information has been submitted at the time of applying for a license or at the time of
renewal.

There is non compliance with the terms and conditions to which license was granted

Unit 11 - Information Technology Act, 2000 (I.T. Act, 2000)

Failure to maintain standards set out in the act

Contravention of any provision , regulation in the I.T. Act.

71

11.8 DIGITAL SIGNATURE


The I.T. act states that where any law provides that information shall be in writing or in printed form,
the requirement is deemed to be satisfied if such information is in an electronic form and is accessible for
subsequent reference. The key ingredients of the formation of electronic contracts comprise communication
of offer and acceptance by electronic means, verification of the source of the communication, authentication
of the time and place of dispatch and finally the verifiability of the receipt of the data communication. A
subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature. The digital signature
serves to satisfy the legal requirement of affixing of a signature in a written or printed document.

11.9 DIGITAL SIGNATURES: POWER OF CENTRAL


GOVERNMENT TO MAKE RULES
The Central Government may prescribe


The type of digital signature

The manner and format the digital certificate shall be affixed

The manner and procedure that facilitates identification of person affixing the digital certificate

Control process and procedures to ensure adequate integrity, security and confidentiality of
electronic records and payments

Any other matter necessary to give legal effect to digital signatures.

11.10 DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE


A digital signature certificate of a subscriber certifies the identity of the subscriber and implies his
acceptance of the provisions of this act and the rules and regulations contained therein. The certificate is
issued only on the following grounds:


The Certifying Authority being satisfied that the information contained in the application of
certificate is accurate.

The subscriber holds a Private Key capable of creating a Public Key

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The Private Key corresponds to the Public Key to be listed in the Digital Signature Certificate

The Public Key to be listed in the certificate can be used to verify a digital signature affixed by
the Private Key held by the subscriber.

11.11 REVOCATION OF DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE


The certifying authority may revoke a Digital Signature Certificate issued by it on the following grounds


On the request of the subscriber or his authorized representative

On the death of the subscriber

On the dissolution or winding up of the Company if the subscriber is a firm or a company.

11.12 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

What are the evidentiary presumptions of a secured electronic document. Explain the process of encryption
and decryption of data.

2.

Explain the term digital signature. What is a digital signature certificate

3.

Explain the difference between the system of Hash Value Creation and Asymmetric key Encryption

73
Unit 12

Penalties and adjudication

12.0 INTRODUCTION

he I.T. Act has clearly spelt out the actions that attract penalty under the law. Given the fact that
Cyber Crime is capable of causing enormous damage both in financial terms and also in terms of
user confidence, the Act has prescribed severe penalties for such infractions. However the law
of the land requires that every person accused of a crime must be heard and be given a fair trail. The Act
has proposed a mechanism for a fair hearing and also a provision for appeal against an order.

12.1 OBJECTIVE
The objective of this unit is to give you an idea about the provisions in the Act for penalties to be levied
and also the mechanism for adjudicating a complaint. You will be able to explain the actions that attract
penalties under the Act and also the mechanism for adjudicating a complaint.

12.2 PENALTIES AND ADJUDICATION: A BRIEF OVERVIEW


Chapter IX of the IT Act 2000 deals with penalties and adjudication. Section 43 deals with penalties
for causing damage to computer, computer system etc., Section 44 deals with the penalties for failure to
furnish information, return etc., Section 45 deals with residuary penalty, Section 46 deals with the power
vested to adjudicate and Section 47 deals with factors to be taken into account by the adjudicating officer.
[P.S: Students may note that with effect from 27th October 2009, Information Technology Act 2000
has been amended through Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 and certain provisions covered
here in have been modified. These amendments are not part of this curriculum. ]

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12.2.1 Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc.


Security of information is fundamental to the spread of electronic medium for doing business. Individuals
and organizations protect their information to prevent unauthorized use of such information bu adopting
various methods. Starting with restricting access to such information other methods include encrypting
information. The IT Act defines unauthorized access by any person as acts done without the permission
of the owner which includes
Accessing or securing access to such computer, computer system or computer network
Downloading , coping or extracting any data or information for such computer, computer system
or computer network including information or data held or stored on any removable storage
medium
Introducing any computer virus or contaminant in the computer, computer system or network
Damaging the computer, computer system or network
Disrupting the working of the computer, computer system or network.
Disrupting the access of the computer, computer system or network to an authorized user.
Providing assistance to ensure unauthorized access to the computer, computer system or network.
The penalty to be paid by the person for unauthorized access by way of compensation not
exceeding one crore rupees to the affected person.
[P.S: Consequent to the amendments made with effect from 27th October 2009, the Adjduicator is
empowered to adjudicate complaints claiming damages upto Rs 5 crores. Beyond this amount the jurisdiction
is with the Civil Court. Also the scope of section 43 has been expanded to include two more subsections
namely
Altering, or deleting information residing inside a computer, or Diminishing the value or utility of
information residing inside a computer
Tampering with computer source code
Further Section 66 of the Act under Chapter XI has been changed to define all contraventions under
Section 43 as offences punishable with an imprisonment of upto 3 years and a fine of upto Rs 5lakh]

12.2.2 Penalty for failure to furnish information, return, etc.


The Controller or the Certifying Authority has the responsibility of overseeing the fair functioning of
the electronic transactions. However to ensure compliance with the directives of the Controller and
compliance with the rules framed by the Controller, the IT Act requires the any person falling in its
preview using the computer, computer system or network to

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Furnish any document, return or report to the Controller as required by the Act. Failure to do so
will attract a penalty not exceeding one lakh fifty and thousand rupees for each such failure.

File any return or furnish any information, books or other documents within the time specified
under the Act. A penalty not exceeding five thousand rupees for every day of delay is to be
levied.

Maintain books of account or records. Failure to comply attracts a penalty not exceeding ten
thousand rupees for every day the failure continues.

12.2.3 Residuary penalty(Section 45)


The act provides that whoever contravenes any rule or regulations for which a penalty has not specifically
stated, the person contravening the act is liable to pay a compensation not exceeding rupees twenty five
thousand to the person affected by such act or a penalty not exceeding rupees twenty five thousand.

12.2.4 Power to adjudicate


In order to determine if any person has contravened any provisions of the Act, rule, order or direction
made, the Central Government subject to provisions contained in the act shall appoint any officer not
below the rank of a Director to the government of India or equivalent officer of the state for holding an
enquiry in the manner prescribed by the Central Government. The adjudicating officer shall possess
experience in the field of Information Technology and legal or judicial experience as may be prescribed by
the Central Government. Where more than one adjudicating officers are appointed, the Central Government
shall specify the jurisdiction of each of them.
The adjudicating Officer shall give a reasonable opportunity to the person being charged with
contravention of the Act. In the event of the adjudicating Officer being satisfied that there has been a
contravention of the Act, he may impose such penalty or award compensation in accordance with the
provisions of that section. While adjudging the quantum of compensation under this section the adjudicating
officer shall take into consideration the amount of gain of unfair advantage wherever quantifiable made as
a result of the default, the amount of loss caused to any person as a result of the default and the repetitive
nature of the default. The adjudicating officer shall have the powers of the Civil Court which are conferred
on the Cyber Appellate Tribunal. The adjudicating officer has the power to


Summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him on oath.

Direct the production of records and other electronic records

Receive evidence on record

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Issue warrant for the examination of witnesses or documents

Any other matter that may be prescribed by law.

All proceedings shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228
of the Indian Penal Code and shall also be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of section 345 and
346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

12.3 CYBER REGULATIONS APPELLATE TRIBUNAL


The Central Government has in the Act detailed the rules and regulations for the establishment of
Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunals. It shall by notification establish one or more appellate tribunals
and also specify the matters and places in relation to which the Tribunals may exercise jurisdiction.

12.4 COMPOSITION OF THE CYBER APPELLATE TRIBUNAL


The appellate tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the Central government. The
person appointed would be referred to as the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal. The Presiding Officer
would have to be a current or former Judge of the High Court or is qualified to be a Judge of the High
Court. A present member or a former member of the Indian Legal Service having served in the grade 1
post for a period of three years could also be selected as the Presiding Officer. The term of office is for
a period of five years or until the age of sixty whichever is earlier.

12.5 RIGHT OF APPEAL TO CYBER REGULATIONS


APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
An appeal to the Tribunal is subject to the following conditions:
Any person aggrieved by an order made by the controller or an adjudicating officer under the Act may
prefer an appeal to the Tribunal having jurisdiction. However no appeal shall lie from an order made by
an adjudicating officer with the consent of the parties.
Every appeal in the prescribed form along with the requisite fee shall be filed within a period of forty
five days from the date on which a order copy is received by the aggrieved person. The Tribunal has the
power to condone delay beyond the statutory period of forty five days if the Tribunal finds sufficient cause
for the non filing of the appeal within the period of forty five days.

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On receipt of an appeal the Tribunal may after hearing both sides pass orders it thinks fit either
confirming, modifying or setting aside the order appealed against.
A copy of the order passed by the Tribunal shall be sent to the parties to the appeal and to the
concerned Controller or Adjudicating Officer.
Every appeal shall be expeditiously dealt with, and an attempt is to be made to dispose the appeal
within a period of six months from the date of receipt of the appeal.

12.6 PROCEDURES AND POWERS OF THE CYBER


APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. The tribunal though
subject to other provisions of this act any other rules shall have the power to regulate its own procedure
including the place at which it will have its sittings.
The Tribunal shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code Of Civil
Procedure while trying a suit in respect to the following matters:


Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath

Requiring the discovery and production of documents or other electronic records

Receiving evidence on affidavits

Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents

Reviewing its decisions

Dismissing an application for default or deciding it ex-parte

Any other matter which may be prescribed.

Every proceeding before the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a proceeding under the meaning of
sections 193 and 228 and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code and the Tribunal shall
be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of section 195 and chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal
Procedure.

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12.7 COMPOUNDING OF CONTRAVENTION


The Act provides that any contravention either before or after the institution of adjudication proceedings
be compounded by the controller or any officer authorized by him. The compounding is subject to conditions
specified by the controller or such other officer and applies to a person who has commits the same or
similar contravention within a period of three years from the date of the first contravention.

12.8 JURISDICTION OF CIVIL COURTS


The civil courts have no jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter which
an adjudicating officer or the tribunal is empowered by the act. The Act also bars any injunction being
granted by the Civil Courts in respect of any action taken or to be taken by the adjudicating officer or the
Tribunal under the Act.

12.9 APPEAL TO HIGH COURT ON ORDER OF TRIBUNAL


Appeal to the High Court on the order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal lies only on any question of fact
or law arising out of that order. The appeal is subject to having been filed within sixty days of communication
of the decision or order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal. The High Court is empowered to condone the
delay in filing the appeal if it holds that the reasons for the delay are valid.

12.10 CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


QUESTIONS
1.

What is meant by unauthorized access to a computer under the provisions of the IT Act, 2000.

2.

Discuss the adjudicatory processes incorporated in the Act.

79
Unit 13

Amendments to current legal


provisions

13.0 INTRODUCTION

he existing legal provisions have stood the test of time and have admirably served the needs of the
public. Interpretations of the laws by courts have reflected the changing perceptions of law in
tune with current times. However new technology has facilitated thrust areas like electronic
transactions and the internet. To ensure parity between electronic transactions and the traditional
transactions based on paper and to provide a legal recognition for electronic transactions, some existing
laws have been amended while new laws too have been introduced.

13.1 OBJECTIVE
This unit only highlights some amendments to the existing laws. After reading through this unit you will
be able to get an idea regarding the amendments to the existing legal provisions to accommodate the I.T.
Act, 2000.

13.1.1 Amendments to the Indian Penal Code


The Indian Penal Code (IPC) details actions that constitute a crime and the punishments prescribed
for such actions. It elaborately classifies crimes based on interests that are intended to be protected. The
classifications includes

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Offences against body
Offences against property
Offences against marriage
Offences against public tranquility
Offences against state

Some important aspects have to be weighed while determining whether a crime has been committed
or not. The state of mind of the person committing the crime, the circumstantial evidence available, the
corroborative evidence which might shed more light on the act have to be taken into account while
determining if a crime has been committed or not.
As the definition of crime would include an fraudulent act or deliberate misrepresentation involving the
use of documents, any cyber transaction using the equivalent of a document need protection under law.
To facilitate enforcement of laws to cover cyber transactions, the IPC has been amended to cover cyber
transactions.
The important changes in IPC include provisions regarding documents and signature. As electronic
records have replaced documents in the IT act, the IPC have been amended to read also the expression
electronic records where the term document appears in the act. Section 464 of the act has the term
digital signature as understood by the definition of the term digital signature in the IT Act 1999. Section
22A has been newly introduced into the act. It defines the word Electronic Record as understood by the
definition of that term in the IT Act of 1999. The other sections that have been amended are section 167,
172, 173, 175, 192, 204,463, 464, 468, 469, 470, 471, 474, 476 and 477A.

13.1.2 Amendments to the Indian Evidence Act , 1872


The Indian Evidence act states the procedures for the recording of evidence by the courts. Evidence
plays a key part in the trail of a case, it gives an opportunity to the contesting parties to the suit to
substantiate their respective claims. The evidence led by the parties may be either oral evidence or
documentary evidence or both.
Amendment to the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 facilitates the recording of evidence keeping in view the
new laws under IT act 2000. It recognizes electronic records as documentary evidence as per section 3
of the Indian Evidence Act. The amended IT Act also recognizes terms like Electronic Records, Certifying
Authority, Digital Signature, Digital Signature Authority, Electronic Form, Electronic Records, Information,
Secure Electronic Record, Secure Digital Signature and Subscriber as valid terms for the purposes of the
Act.
The other amended sections

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81

Section 17 substitution of words oral or documentary or contained in electronic form

Section 22A (This is a new section that has been introduced) When oral admission as to
contents of electronic records are records - Oral admissions as to the contents of electronic
records are not relevant, unless the genuineness of the electronic record produced is in question.

Section 34 Entries in the book of account Entries in the book of account, including those
maintained in an electronic form.

Section 35 Records Records include electronic records.

Section 39: What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document,
electronic record, book or series of letters or papers Evidence shall be given so much and no
more of the statement, conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or
papers as the court considers necessary in that particular case to the full understanding of the
nature and effect of the statement, and the circumstances under which it was made.

Section 47A: (New section) Opinion as to digital signature when relevant When the court
has to form an opinion as to the digital signature of any person, the opinion of the Certifying
Authority who has issued the Digital Signature Certificate is relevant.

Section 59: Contents of documents Content of documents would mean to include contents of
electronic records also.

Section 65A: New section Special provisions as to evidence relating to new records contents
of electronic records have to be proved

Section 65B New section Admissibility of electronic records A computer output of any
information contained in an electronic record is deemed to be a document and is admissible as
evidence subject to certain conditions.

Section 67A-New section Proof as to digital signature Except in the case of a secure digital
signature this section requires that any disputed digital signature requires to be proved.

Section 73A: New section Proof as to verification of digital signature To ascertain the
genuineness of a digital signature this section empowers the court to direct the Controller(
Controller as defined under sub-section (1) of section 17 of I.T. Act 1999) or certifying authority
to produce the Digital signature certificate or direct any other person to apply the public Key to
verify the digital signature.

Section 81A: New section Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic form The courts shall
presume that the electronic record pertaining to a Gazette to be genuine.

Section 85A: New section Presumption as to electronic agreements the courts shall presume
the genuineness of the digital signature in an electronic record.

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Section 85B: New section Presumption as to electronic records and digital signatures The
courts shall presume that secure electronic records have not been altered since a specific point
of time unless the contrary is proved. The court would also presume that unless the contrary is
proved, the secure digital signature has been affixed by the subscriber.

Section 88A: New section Presumption as to electronic messages The court may presume
that an electronic message forwarded by the originator through an electronic mail server to the
addressee corresponds with the message sent though there is no presumption regarding the
identity of the person sending the message.

Section 90A: New section Presumption as to electronic records five years old The court
may presume the genuineness of a digital signature if produced from any custody which the
court considers proper.

Section 131: Production of documents or electronic documents which another person, having
possession could refuse to produce No one shall be compelled to produce documents in his
possession or electronic records under his control unless such person consents to their production.

13.1.3 Amendment to the Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891


The Bankers Books Evidence Act has been amended to include as understood by the term bankers
books printouts of data stored in a floppy, disc, tape or any other form of Electro - magnetic data storage
device.

13.1.4 Amendment to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934


The Reserve Bank of India Act has been amended to recognize and regulate transfer of finds through
electronic means between banks or with other financial institutions.

83
APPENDIX - I

Sample Codes of Ethics and


Guidelines

1. COMPUTER SOCIETY OF INDIA (C.S.I.)


CODE OF ETHICS FOR IT PROFESSIONALS
1. A Professional member of the Computer Society of India (CSI) shall:


organize the resources available to him and optimize these in attaining the objectives of his
organisation,

use the codes of practice conveyed by the CSI from time to time in carrying out his tasks,

not misuse his authority or office for personal gains,

comply with the Indian laws relating to the management of his organization particularly with
regard to Privacy and Piracy, and operate within the spirit of these laws,

conduct his affairs so as to uphold project and further the image and reputation of the CSI,

maintain integrity in research and publications.

CODES OF PRACTICE
2. As regard his ORGANISATION an IT professional should:


act with integrity in carrying out the !awful policy and instructions of his organisation and uphold
its image and reputation,

plan, establish and review objectives and tasks for himself and his subordinates which are
compatible with the Codes of Practice of other professionals in the enterprise, and direct all
available effort towards the success of the enterprise rather than of himself,

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fully respect the confidentiality of information which comes to him in the course of his duties,
and not use confidential information for personal gain or in a manner which may be detrimental
to his organisation or his clients,

not snoop around in other peoples computer files,

in his contacts and dealings with other people, demonstrate his personal integrity and humanity
and when called to give an opinion in his professional capacity, shall, to the best of his ability, give
an opinion that is objective and reliable.

3. As regards the EMPLOYEES, an IT professional should:




set an example to his subordinates through his own work and performance, through his leadership
and by taking account of the needs and problems of his subordinates,

develop people under him to become qualified for higher duties,

pay proper regard to the safety and well-being of the personnel for whom he is responsible,

share his experience with fellow professionals.

4. As regards the CLIENTS, an IT professional should:




ensure that the terms of all contracts and terms of business be stated clearly and unambiguously
and honoured,

in no circumstance supply inherently unsafe goods or services,

not use the computer to harm other people or to bear false witness,

be objective and impartial when giving independent advice.

5. As regards the COMMUNITY, an IT professional should:




make the most effective use of all natural resources employed,

be ready to give professional assistance in community affairs,

not appropriate other peoples intellectual output,

always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for fellow humans.

2. SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CODE OF ETHICS AND


PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
PREAMBLE
Computers have a central and growing role in commerce, industry, government, medicine, education,

Appendix - I

85

entertainment and society at large. Software engineers are those who contribute by direct participation or
by teaching, to the analysis, specification, design, development, certification, maintenance and testing of
software systems. Because of their roles in developing software systems, software engineers have significant
opportunities to do good or cause harm, to enable others to do good or cause harm, or to influence others
to do good or cause harm. To ensure, as much as possible, that their efforts will be used for good,
software engineers must commit themselves to making software engineering a beneficial and respected
profession. In accordance with that commitment, software engineers shall adhere to the following Code
of Ethics and Professional Practice.
The Code contains eight Principles related to the behavior of and decisions made by professional
software engineers, including practitioners, educators, managers, supervisors and policy makers, as well
as trainees and students of the profession. The Principles identify the ethically responsible relationships in
which individuals, groups, and organizations participate and the primary obligations within these relationships.
The Clauses of each Principle are illustrations of some of the obligations included in these relationships.
These obligations are founded in the software engineers humanity, in special care owed to people affected
by the work of software engineers, and the unique elements of the practice of software engineering. The
Code prescribes these as obligations of anyone claiming to be or aspiring to be a software engineer.
It is not intended that the individual parts of the Code be used in isolation to justify errors of omission
or commission. The list of Principles and Clauses is not exhaustive. The Clauses should not be read as
separating the acceptable from the unacceptable in professional conduct in all practical situations. The
Code is not a simple ethical algorithm that generates ethical decisions. In some situations standards may
be in tension with each other or with standards from other sources. These situations require the software
engineer to use ethical judgment to act in a manner which is most consistent with the spirit of the Code of
Ethics and Professional Practice, given the circumstances.
Ethical tensions can best be addressed by thoughtful consideration of fundamental principles, rather
than blind reliance on detailed regulations. These Principles should influence software engineers to consider
broadly who is affected by their work; to examine if they and their colleagues are treating other human
beings with due respect; to consider how the public, if reasonably well informed, would view their decisions;
to analyze how the least empowered will be affected by their decisions; and to consider whether their acts
would be judged worthy of the ideal professional working as a software engineer. In all these judgments
concern for the health, safety and welfare of the public is primary; that is, the Public Interest is central
to this Code.
The dynamic and demanding context of software engineering requires a code that is adaptable and
relevant to new situations as they occur. However, even in this generality, the Code provides support for
software engineers and managers of software engineers who need to take positive action in a specific
case by documenting the ethical stance of the profession. The Code provides an ethical foundation to
which individuals within teams and the team as a whole can appeal. The Code helps to define those
actions that are ethically improper to request of a software engineer or teams of software engineers.

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

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The Code is not simply for adjudicating the nature of questionable acts; it also has an important
educational function. As this Code expresses the consensus of the profession on ethical issues, it is a
means to educate both the public and aspiring professionals about the ethical obligations of all software
engineers.

PRINCIPLES
Principle 1: PUBLIC
Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest. In particular, software engineers
shall, as appropriate:
1.01. Accept full responsibility for their own work.
1.02. Moderate the interests of the software engineer, the employer, the client and the users with
the public good.
1.03. Approve software only if they have a well-founded belief that it is safe, meets specifications,
passes appropriate tests, and does not diminish quality of life, diminish privacy or harm the
environment. The ultimate effect of the work should be to the public good.
1.04. Disclose to appropriate persons or authorities any actual or potential danger to the user, the
public, or the environment, that they reasonably believe to be associated with software or
related documents.
1.05. Cooperate in efforts to address matters of grave public concern caused by software, its
installation, maintenance, support or documentation.
1.06. Be fair and avoid deception in all statements, particularly public ones, concerning software
or related documents, methods and tools.
1.07. Consider issues of physical disabilities, allocation of resources, economic disadvantage and
other factors that can diminish access to the benefits of software.
1.08. Be encouraged to volunteer professional skills to good causes and contribute to public education
concerning the discipline.

Principle 2: CLIENT AND EMPLOYER


Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the best interests of their client and employer,
consistent with the public interest. In particular, software engineers shall, as appropriate:
2.01. Provide service in their areas of competence, being honest and forthright about any limitations
of their experience and education.

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87

2.02. Not knowingly use software that is obtained or retained either illegally or unethically.
2.03. Use the property of a client or employer only in ways properly authorized, and with the
clients or employers knowledge and consent.
2.04. Ensure that any document upon which they rely has been approved, when required, by
someone authorized to approve it.
2.05. Keep private any confidential information gained in their professional work, where such
confidentiality is consistent with the public interest and consistent with the law.
2.06. Identify, document, collect evidence and report to the client or the employer promptly if, in
their opinion, a project is likely to fail, to prove too expensive, to violate intellectual property
law, or otherwise to be problematic.
2.07. Identify, document, and report significant issues of social concern, of which they are aware,
in software or related documents, to the employer or the client.
2.08. Accept no outside work detrimental to the work they perform for their primary employer.
2.09. Promote no interest adverse to their employer or client, unless a higher ethical concern is
being compromised; in that case, inform the employer or another appropriate authority of the
ethical concern.

Principle 3: PRODUCT
Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest
professional standards possible. In particular, software engineers shall, as appropriate:
3.01. Strive for high quality, acceptable cost and a reasonable schedule, ensuring significant tradeoffs
are clear to and accepted by the employer and the client, and are available for consideration
by the user and the public.
3.02. Ensure proper and achievable goals and objectives for any project on which they work or
propose.
3.03. Identify, define and address ethical, economic, cultural, legal and environmental issues related
to work projects.
3.04. Ensure that they are qualified for any project on which they work or propose to work by an
appropriate combination of education and training, and experience.
3.05. Ensure an appropriate method is used for any project on which they work or propose to
work.
3.06. Work to follow professional standards, when available, that are most appropriate for the task
at hand, departing from these only when ethically or technically justified.

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3.07. Strive to fully understand the specifications for software on which they work.
3.08. Ensure that specifications for software on which they work have been well documented,
satisfy the users requirements and have the appropriate approvals.
3.09. Ensure realistic quantitative estimates of cost, scheduling, personnel, quality and outcomes
on any project on which they work or propose to work and provide an uncertainty assessment
of these estimates.
3.10. Ensure adequate testing, debugging, and review of software and related documents on which
they work.
3.11. Ensure adequate documentation, including significant problems discovered and solutions
adopted, for any project on which they work.
3.12. Work to develop software and related documents that respect the privacy of those who will
be affected by that software.
3.13. Be careful to use only accurate data derived by ethical and lawful means, and use it only in
ways properly authorized.
3.14. Maintain the integrity of data, being sensitive to outdated or flawed occurrences.
3.15 Treat all forms of software maintenance with the same professionalism as new development.

Principle 4: JUDGMENT
Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment. In particular,
software engineers shall, as appropriate:
4.01. Temper all technical judgments by the need to support and maintain human values.
4.02 Only endorse documents either prepared under their supervision or within their areas of
competence and with which they are in agreement.
4.03. Maintain professional objectivity with respect to any software or related documents they are
asked to evaluate.
4.04. Not engage in deceptive financial practices such as bribery, double billing, or other improper
financial practices.
4.05. Disclose to all concerned parties those conflicts of interest that cannot reasonably be avoided
or escaped.
4.06. Refuse to participate, as members or advisors, in a private, governmental or professional
body concerned with software related issues, in which they, their employers or their clients
have undisclosed potential conflicts of interest.

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89

Principle 5: MANAGEMENT
Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the
management of software development and maintenance. In particular, those managing or leading software
engineers shall, as appropriate:
5.01 Ensure good management for any project on which they work, including effective procedures
for promotion of quality and reduction of risk.
5.02. Ensure that software engineers are informed of standards before being held to them.
5.03. Ensure that software engineers know the employers policies and procedures for protecting
passwords, files and information that is confidential to the employer or confidential to others.
5.04. Assign work only after taking into account appropriate contributions of education and
experience tempered with a desire to further that education and experience.
5.05. Ensure realistic quantitative estimates of cost, scheduling, personnel, quality and outcomes
on any project on which they work or propose to work, and provide an uncertainty assessment
of these estimates.
5.06. Attract potential software engineers only by full and accurate description of the conditions of
employment.
5.07. Offer fair and just remuneration.
5.08. Not unjustly prevent someone from taking a position for which that person is suitably qualified.
5.09. Ensure that there is a fair agreement concerning ownership of any software, processes,
research, writing, or other intellectual property to which a software engineer has contributed.
5.10. Provide for due process in hearing charges of violation of an employers policy or of this
Code.
5.11. Not ask a software engineer to do anything inconsistent with this Code.
5.12. Not punish anyone for expressing ethical concerns about a project.

Principle 6: PROFESSION
Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the
public interest. In particular, software engineers shall, as appropriate:
6.01. Help develop an organizational environment favorable to acting ethically.
6.02. Promote public knowledge of software engineering.

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6.03. Extend software engineering knowledge by appropriate participation in professional


organizations, meetings and publications.
6.04. Support, as members of a profession, other software engineers striving to follow this Code.
6.05. Not promote their own interest at the expense of the profession, client or employer.
6.06. Obey all laws governing their work, unless, in exceptional circumstances, such compliance is
inconsistent with the public interest.
6.07. Be accurate in stating the characteristics of software on which they work, avoiding not only
false claims but also claims that might reasonably be supposed to be speculative, vacuous,
deceptive, misleading, or doubtful.
6.08. Take responsibility for detecting, correcting, and reporting errors in software and associated
documents on which they work.
6.09. Ensure that clients, employers, and supervisors know of the software engineers commitment
to this Code of ethics, and the subsequent ramifications of such commitment.
6.10. Avoid associations with businesses and organizations which are in conflict with this code.
6.11. Recognize that violations of this Code are inconsistent with being a professional software
engineer.
6.12. Express concerns to the people involved when significant violations of this Code are detected
unless this is impossible, counter-productive, or dangerous.
6.13. Report significant violations of this Code to appropriate authorities when it is clear that
consultation with people involved in these significant violations is impossible, counter-productive
or dangerous.

Principle 7: COLLEAGUES
Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues. In particular, software engineers
shall, as appropriate:
7.01. Encourage colleagues to adhere to this Code.
7.02. Assist colleagues in professional development.
7.03. Credit fully the work of others and refrain from taking undue credit.
7.04. Review the work of others in an objective, candid, and properly-documented way.
7.05. Give a fair hearing to the opinions, concerns, or complaints of a colleague.
7.06. Assist colleagues in being fully aware of current standard work practices including policies

Appendix - I

91
and procedures for protecting passwords, files and other confidential information, and security
measures in general.

7.07. Not unfairly intervene in the career of any colleague; however, concern for the employer, the
client or public interest may compel software engineers, in good faith, to question the
competence of a colleague.
7.08. In situations outside of their own areas of competence call upon the opinions of other
professionals who have competence in that area.

Principle 8: SELF
Software engineers shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and
shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession. In particular, software engineers shall
continually endeavor to:
8.01. Further their knowledge of developments in the analysis, specification, design, development,
maintenance and testing of software and related documents, together with the management
of the development process.
8.02. Improve their ability to create safe, reliable, and useful quality software at reasonable cost
and within a reasonable time.
8.03. Improve their ability to produce accurate, informative, and well-written documentation.
8.04. Improve their understanding of the software and related documents on which they work and
of the environment in which they will be used.
8.05. Improve their knowledge of relevant standards and the law governing the software and
related documents on which they work.
8.06 Improve their knowledge of this Code, its interpretation, and its application to their work.
8.07 Not give unfair treatment to anyone because of any irrelevant prejudices.
8.08. Not influence others to undertake any action that involves a breach of this Code.
8.09. Recognize that personal violations of this Code are inconsistent with being a professional
software engineer.
Copyright (c) 1999 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. and the Institute for Electrical
and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

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3. THE EDUCOM CODE: SOFTWARE AND INTELLECTUAL


RIGHTS
The Educom Code:
A guide to the ethical and legal use of software for members of the academic community, it is a
brochure produced as a service to the academic community by the Educational Uses of Information
Technology Program (EUIT) of EDUCOM, and the Information Technology Association of America
(ITAA). EDUCOM is a non-profit consortium of colleges and universities committed to the use and
management of information technology in higher education. ITAA is an industry association for companies
which create and market products and services associated with computers, communications and data.

Relevant facts of the Code:




UNAUTHORIZED copying of software is illegal. Copyright law protects software authors and
publishers, just as patent law protects inventors.

UNAUTHORIZED copying of software by individuals can harm the entire academic community.
If unauthorized copying proliferates on a campus, the institution may incur legal liability. Also,
the institution may find it more difficult to negotiate agreements that would make software more
widely and less expensively available to members of the academic community.

UNAUTHORIZED copying and use of software deprives publishers and developers of a fair
return for their work, increases prices, reduces the level of future support and enhancements,
and can inhibit the development of new software products.

RESPECT for the intellectual work of others has traditionally been essential to the mission of colleges
and universities. As members of the academic community, we value the free exchange of ideas. Just as
we do not tolerate plagiarism, we do not condone the unauthorized copying of software, including programs,
applications, data bases and code.

Software and intellectual rights:


Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle
applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to
acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and
distribution.
Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal
expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including
plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be
grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.

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93

Classification of software
In terms of copyright, there are four broad classifications of software:


Commercial

Shareware

Freeware

Public Domain

The restrictions and limitations regarding each classification are different.

Commercial
Commercial software represents the majority of software purchased from software publishers,
commercial computer stores, etc. When you buy software, you are actually acquiring a license to use it,
not own it. You acquire the license from the company that owns the copyright. The conditions and
restrictions of the license agreement vary from program to program and should be read carefully. In
general, commercial software licenses stipulate that
1. the software is covered by copyright,
2. although one archival copy of the software can be made, the backup copy cannot be used
except when the original package fails or is destroyed,
3. modifications to the software are not allowed,
4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is not allowed without the permission
of the copyright holder, and
5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is not allowed without the
permission of the copyright holder.

Shareware
Shareware software is covered by copyright, as well. When you acquire software under a shareware
arrangement, you are actually acquiring a license to use it, not own it. You acquire the license from the
individual or company that owns the copyright. The conditions and restrictions of the license agreement
vary from program to program and should read carefully. The copyright holders for shareware allow
purchasers to make and distribute copies of the software, but demand that if, after testing the software,
you adopt it for use, you must pay for it. In general, shareware software licenses stipulate that
1. the software is covered by copyright,

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2. although one archival copy of the software can be made, the backup copy cannot be used
except when the original package fails or is destroyed,
3. modifications to the software are not allowed,
4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is not allowed without the permission
of the copyright holder, and
5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is not allowed without the
permission of the copyright holder.
Selling software as shareware is a marketing decision; it does not change the legal requirements with
respect to copyright. That means that you can make a single archival copy, but you are obliged to pay for
all copies adopted for use.

Freeware
Freeware also is covered by copyright and subject to the conditions defined by the holder of the
copyright. The conditions for freeware are in direct opposition to normal copyright restrictions. In general,
freeware software licenses stipulate that
1. the software is covered by copyright,
2. copies of the software can be made for both archival and distribution purposes but that distribution
cannot be for profit,
3. modifications to the software are allowed and encouraged,
4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is allowed without the explicit
permission of the copyright holder, and
5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is allowed and encouraged
with the condition that derivative works must also be designated as freeware. That means that
you cannot take freeware, modify or extend it, and then sell it as commercial or shareware
software.

Public domain
Public domain software comes into being when the original copyright holder explicitly relinquishes all
rights to the software. Since under current copyright law, all intellectual works (including software) are
protected as soon as they are committed to a medium, for something to be public domain it must be clearly
marked as such. Before March 1, 1989, it was assumed that intellectual works were not covered by
copyright unless the copyright symbol and declaration appeared on the work. With the U.S. adherence to
the Berne Convention this presumption has been reversed. Now all works assume copyright protection
unless the public domain notification is stated. This means that for public domain software

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95

1. copyright rights have been relinquished,


2. software copies can be made for both archival and distribution purposes with no restrictions as
to distribution,
3. modifications to the software are allowed,
4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is allowed, and
5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is allowed without conditions
on the distribution or use of the derivative work.
Copyright December 1994 by the University of Chicago, Academic Information Technologies

4. AUSTRALIAN COMPUTER SOCIETY - CODE OF ETHICS


Values and Ideals subscribed to by Society Members
The professional person, to uphold and advance the honour, dignity and effectiveness of the profession
in the arts and sciences of information processing, and in keeping with high standards of competence and
ethical conduct, will be honest, forthright and impartial, and will serve with loyalty employers, clients and
the public, and will strive to increase the competence and prestige of the profession, and will use special
knowledge and skill for the advancement of human welfare.

CODE OF ETHICS
I will act with professional responsibility and integrity in my dealings with clients, employers, employees,
students and the community generally. By this I mean:
1. I will serve the interests of my clients and employers, my employees and students, and the
community generally, as matters of no less priority than the interests of myself or my colleagues.
2. I will work competently and diligently for my clients and employers.
3. I will be honest in my representations of skills, knowledge, services and products.
4. I will strive to enhance the quality of life of those affected by my work.
5. I will enhance my own professional development, and that of my colleagues, employees and
students.
6. I will enhance the integrity of the Computing Profession and the respect of its members for each
other.

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STANDARD OF CONDUCT

The standards set out below explain how the Code of Ethics applies to members professional work.
The list of standards is not necessarily exhaustive, and should not be read as definitively demarking the
acceptable from the unacceptable in professional conduct in all practical situations faced by a member.
The intention of the Standard of Conduct is to illustrate, and to explain in more detail, the mean of the
Code of Ethics in terms of specific behaviours. However, the mere fact that a member engages in, or
does not engage in, these behaviours does not of itself guarantee that a member is acting ethically, or
unethically, respectively.
The ACS accepts that the standards are ideal, and many not all be achievable at all times in all
circumstances. In practice, a member may occasionally find that some standards conflict with other
standards, including standards from other sources. On these occasions the member must weight up the
relevant factors and choose to act in the manner which is most consistent with the Codes of Ethics, given
the circumstances.
It is not possible to set totally objective standards about ethical conduct, and this Standard does not
attempt to do so. The delineation of ethical and unethical behaviour requires some element of subjectivity.
A member is expected to take into account the spirit of the entire Code in order to resolve ambiguous or
contentious issues concerning ethical conduct. In the final analysis the member is answerable to other
members in jointly determining what is ethical and what are not in particular circumstances.
In summary, a member is expected to act at all times in a manner likely to be judged by informed,
respected, and experienced peers in possession of all of the facts as the most ethical way to act in the
circumstances.

I. PRIORITIES
I will serve the interests of my clients and employers, my employees and students, and the community
generally, as matters of no less priority than the interests of myself or my colleagues.
1.1. I will endeavour to preserve continuity of computing services and information flow in my
care.
1.2. I will endeavour to preserve the integrity and security of others information.
1.3. I will respect the proprietary nature of others information.
1.5. I will advise my client or employer of any potential conflicts of interest between my assignment
and legal or other accepted community requirements.
1.6. I will advise my clients and employers as soon as possible of any conflicts of interest or
conscientious objections which face me in connection with my work.

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97

II. COMPETENCE
I will work competently and diligently for my clients and employers.
2.1. I will endeavour to provide products and services which match the operational and financial
needs of my clients and employers.
2.2. I will give value for money in the services and products I supply.
2.3. I will make myself aware of relevant standards, and act accordingly.
2.4. I will respect and protect my clients and employers proprietary interests.
2.5. I will accept responsibility for my work.
2.6. I will advise my clients and employers when I believe a proposed project is not in their best
interests.
2.7. I will go beyond my brief, if necessary, in order to act professionally.

III. HONESTY
I will be honest in my representation of skills, knowledge, services and products.
3.1. I will not knowingly mislead a client or potential client as to the suitability of a product or
service.
3.2. I will not misrepresent my skills or knowledge.
3.3. I will give opinions which are as far as possible unbiased and objective.
3.4. I will give realistic estimates for projects under my control.
3.5. I will qualify professional opinions which I know are based on limited knowledge or experience.
3.6. I will give credit for work done by others where credit is due.

IV. SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS


I will strive to enhance the quality of life of those affected by my work.
4.1. I will protect and promote the health and safety of those affected by my work.
4.2. I will consider and respect peoples privacy which might be affected by my work.
4.3. I will respect my employees and refrain from treating them unfairly.
4.4. I will endeavour to understand, and give due regard to, the perceptions of those affected by
my work, whether or not I agree with those perceptions.

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4.5. I will attempt to increase the feelings of personal satisfactions, competence, and control of
those affected by my work.
4.6. I will not require, or attempt to influence, any person to take any action which would involve
a breach of this Code.

V. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
I will enhance my own professional development, and that of my colleagues, employees and students.
5.1. I will continue to upgrade my knowledge and skills.
5.2. I will increase my awareness of issues affecting the computing profession and its relationship
with the community.
5.3. I will encourage my colleagues, employees and students to continue their own professional
development.

VI. COMPUTING PROFESSION


I will enhance the integrity of the Computing Profession and the respect of its members for each other.
6.1. I will respect, and seek when necessary, the professional opinions of colleagues in their
areas of competence.
6.2. I will not knowingly engage in, or be associated with, dishonest or fraudulent practices.
6.3. I will not attempt to enhance my own reputation at the expense of anothers reputation.
6.4. I will no-operate in advancing information processing by communication with other
professionals, students and the public, and by contributing to the efforts of professional and
scientific societies and schools.
6.5. I will distance myself professionally from someone whose membership of the ACS has been
terminated because of unethical behaviour or unsatisfactory conduct.
6.6. I will take appropriate action if I discover a member, or a person who could potentially be a
member of the ACS, engaging in unethical behaviour.
6.7. I will seek advice from the ACS when faced with an ethical dilemma I am unable to resolve
by myself.
6.8. I will do what I can to ensure that the corporate actions of the ACS are in accordance with
this Code.
6.9. I acknowledge my debt to the Computing Profession and in return will protect and promote
professionalism in computing.
(Australian Computer Society, 1994.)

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5. ACM CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT


1992
FOUR IMPERATIVES:


GENERAL MORAL IMPERATIVES

MORE SPECIFIC PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES

COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE

GENERAL MORAL IMPERATIVES


As an ACM member I will ...
1.1 Contribute to society and human well-being.
1.2 Avoid harm to others.
1.3 Be honest and trustworthy.
1.4 Be fair and take action not to discriminate.
1.5 Honor property rights including copyrights and patents.
1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property.
1.7 Respect the privacy of others.
1.8 Honor confidentiality.

MORE SPECIFIC PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES


As an ACM computing professional I will ...
2.1 Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness and dignity in both the process and
products of professional work.
2.2 Acquire and maintain professional competence.
2.3 Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional work.
2.4 Accept and provide appropriate professional review.
2.5 Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer systems and their impacts
including analysis of possible risks.

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2.6 Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities.


2.7 Improve public understanding of computing and its consequences.
2.8 Access computing and Communication resources only when authorized to do so.

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES


As an ACM member and an organizational leader, I will ...
3.1 Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational unit and encourage full
acceptance of those responsibilities.
3.2 Manage personnel and resources to design and build information systems that enhance
the quality of working life.
3.3 Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an organizations computing
and communications resources.
3.4 Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system have their needs clearly
articulated during the assessment and design of requirements; later the system must be
validated to meet requirements.
3.5 Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users and others affected by a
computing system.
3.6 Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn the principles and limitations
of computer systems.

COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE


As an ACM member, I will ....
4.1 Uphold and promote the principles of this Code.
4.2 Treat violations of this code as inconsistent with membership in the ACM.

6. THE INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS


ENGINEERS
We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the
quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members
and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct
and agree:

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101

1. to accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and
welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the
environment;
2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected
parties when they do exist;
3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
4. to reject bribery in all its forms;
5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;
6. to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for
others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors,
and to credit properly the contributions of others;
8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or
national origin;
9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
10.to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in
following this code of ethics.

7. COMPUTER LEARNING FOUNDATION


Code of Responsible Computing
Respect for Privacy
I will respect others right to privacy. I will only access, look in or use other individuals, organizations
or companies information on computer or through telecommunications if I have the permission of the
individual, organization or company who owns the information.

Respect for Property


I will respect others property. I will only make changes to or delete computer programs, files or
information that belong to others, if I have been given permission to do so by the person, organization or
company who owns the program, file or information.

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

Respect for Ownership


I will respect others rights to ownership and to earn a living for their work. I will only use computer
software, files or information which I own or which I have been given permission to borrow. I will only
use software programs which have been paid for or are in the public domain. I will only make a backup
copy of computer programs I have purchased or written and will only use it if my original program is
damaged. I will only make copies of computer files and information that I own or have written. I will only
sell computer programs which I have written or have been authorized to sell by the author. I will pay the
developer or publisher for any shareware programs I decide to use.

Respect for Others and the Law


I will only use computers, software and related technologies for purposes that are beneficial to others,
that are not harmful (physically, financially or otherwise) to others or others property, and that are within
the Law.

103
APPENDIX - II

The Information Technology Act,


2000

THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 (NO. 21 OF


2000)
[9th June, 2000]

n Act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data
interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as electronic
commerce, which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication
and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and
further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers Books Evidence
Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental
thereto.
whereas the General Assembly of the United Nations by resolution A/RES/51/162, dated the 30th
January, 1997 has adopted the Model Law on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations
Commission on International Trade Law;
and whereas the said resolution recommends inter alia that all States give favorable consideration to
the said Model Law when they enact or revise their laws, in view of the need for uniformity of the law
applicable to alternatives to paper-cased methods of communication and storage of information;
and whereas it is considered necessary to give effect to the said resolution and to promote efficient
delivery of Government services by means of reliable electronic records.
be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:

Appendix - II

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CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY
1. Short title, extent, commencement and application
(1) This Act may be called the Information Technology Act, 2000.
(2) It shall extend to the whole of India and, save as otherwise provided in this Act, it applies also
to any offence or contravention thereunder committed outside India by any person.
(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification, appoint
and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in
any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the
commencement of that provision.
(4) Nothing in this Act shall apply to,
(a) a negotiable instrument as defined in section 13 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881;
(b) a power-of-attorney as defined in section 1A of the Powers-of-Attorney Act, 1882;
(c) a trust as defined in section 3 of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882;
(d) a will as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 including
any other testamentary disposition by whatever name called;
(e) any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such
property;
(f) any such class of documents or transactions as may be notified by the Central Government
in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions
(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,
(a) access with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions means gaining entry
into, instructing or communicating with the logical, arithmetical, or memory function
resources of a computer, computer system or computer network;
(b) addressee means a person who is intended by the originator to receive the electronic
record but does not include any intermediary;

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105

(c) adjudicating officer means an adjudicating officer appointed under subsection (1) of
section 46;
(d) affixing digital signature with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions means
adoption of any methodology or procedure by a person for the purpose of authenticating
an electronic record by means of digital signature;
(e) appropriate Government means as respects any matter,
a)

Enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution;

b)

Relating to any State law enacted under List III of the Seventh Schedule to the
Constitution, the State Government and in any other case, the Central Government;

(f) asymmetric crypto system means a system of a secure key pair consisting of a private
key for creating a digital signature and a public key to verify the digital signature;
(g) Certifying Authority means a person who has been granted a licence to issue a Digital
Signature Certificate under section 24;
(h) certification practice statement means a statement issued by a Certifying Authority to
specify the practices that the Certifying Authority employs in issuing Digital Signature
Certificates;
(i) computer means any electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing
device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations
of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage,
computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the
computer in a computer system or computer network;
(j) computer network means the interconnection of one or more computers through


the use of satellite, microwave, terrestrial line or other communication media; and

terminals or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers whether


or not the interconnection is continuously maintained;

(k) computer resource means computer, computer system, computer network, data,
computer data base or software;
(l) computer system means a device or collection of devices, including input and output
support devices and excluding calculators which are not programmable and capable of
being used in conjunction with external files, which contain computer programmes,
electronic instructions, input data and output data, that performs logic, arithmetic, data
storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions;

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BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

(m) Controller means the Controller of Certifying Authorities appointed under sub-section
(l) of section 17;
(n) Cyber Appellate Tribunal means the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal established
under sub-section (1) of section 48;
(o) data means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions
which are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalized manner, and is intended
to be processed, is being processed or has been processed in a computer system or
computer network, and may be in any form (including computer printouts magnetic or
optical storage media, punched cards, punched tapes) or stored internally in the memory
of the computer;
(p) digital signature means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by
means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of
section 3;
(q) Digital Signature Certificate means a Digital Signature Certificate issued under subsection (4) of section 35;
(r) electronic form with reference to information means any information generated, sent,
received or stored in media, magnetic, optical, computer memory, micro film, computer
generated micro fiche or similar device;
(s) Electronic Gazette means the Official Gazette published in the electronic form;
(t) electronic record means data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received
or sent in an electronic form or micro film or computer generated micro fiche;
(u) function, in relation to a computer, includes logic, control arithmetical process, deletion,
storage and retrieval and communication or telecommunication from or within a computer;
(v) information includes data, text, images, sound, voice, codes, computer programmes,
software and databases or micro film or computer generated micro fiche:
(w) intermediary with respect to any particular electronic message means any person who
on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that message or provides any
service with respect to that message;
(x) key pair, in an asymmetric crypto system, means a private key and its mathematically
related public key, which are so related that the public key can verify a digital signature
created by the private key;
(y) law includes any Act of Parliament or of a State Legislature, Ordinances promulgated
by the President or a Governor, as the case may be. Regulations made by the President

Appendix - II

107
under article 240, Bills enacted as Presidents Act under sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of
article 357 of the Constitution and includes rules, regulations, bye-laws and orders issued
or made thereunder;

(z) licence means a licence granted to a Certifying Authority under section 24;
(za) originator means a person who sends, generates, stores or transmits any electronic
message or causes any electronic message to be sent, generated, stored or transmitted to
any other person but does not include an intermediary;
(zb) prescribed means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(zc) private key means the key of a key pair used to create a digital signature;
(zd) public key means the key of a key pair used to verify a digital signature and listed in
the Digital Signature Certificate;
(ze) secure system means computer hardware, software, and procedure that
(a)

are reasonably secure from unauthorized access and misuse;

(b)

provide a reasonable level of reliability and correct operation;

(c)

are reasonably suited to performing the intended functions; and

(d)

adhere to generally accepted security procedures;

(zf) security procedure means the security procedure prescribed under section 16 by the
Central Government;
(zg) subscriber means a person in whose name the Digital Signature Certificate is issued;
(zh) verify in relation to a digital signature, electronic record or public key, with its grammatical
variations and cognate expressions means to determine whether
(a)

the initial electronic record was affixed with the digital signature by the use of
private key corresponding to the public key of the subscriber;

(b)

the initial electronic record is retained intact or has been altered since such electronic
record was so affixed with the digital signature.

(2) Any reference in this Act to any enactment or any provision thereof shall, in relation to an area in
which such enactment or such provision is not in force, be construed as a reference to the corresponding
law or the relevant provision of the corresponding law, if any, in force in that area.

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CHAPTER II
DIGITAL SIGNATURE
3. Authentication of electronic records.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record
by affixing his digital signature.
(2) The authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of asymmetric crypto
system and hash function which envelop and transform the initial electronic record into another
electronic record.
Explanation.For the purposes of this sub-section, hash function means an algorithm mapping or
translation of one sequence of bits into another, generally smaller, set known as hash result such that an
electronic record yields the same hash result every time the algorithm is executed with the same electronic
record as its input making it computationally infeasible
(a) to derive or reconstruct the original electronic record from the hash result produced by the algorithm;
(b) that two electronic records can produce the same hash result using the
algorithm.
(3) Any person by the use of a public key of the subscriber can verify the electronic record.
(4) The private key and the public key are unique to the subscriber and constitute a functioning key
pair.

CHAPTER III
ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE
4. Legal recognition of electronic records.
Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or
printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to
have been satisfied if such information or matter is

Appendix - II

109

(a) rendered or made available in an electronic form; and


(b) accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.

5. Legal recognition of digital signatures.


Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be authenticated by affixing the
signature or any document shall be signed or bear the signature of any person (hence, notwithstanding
anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied, if such information
or matter is authenticated by means of digital signature affixed in such manner as may be prescribed by
the Central Government.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, signed, with its grammatical variations and cognate
expressions, shall, with reference to a person, mean affixing of his hand written signature or any mark on
any document and the expression signature shall be construed accordingly.

6. Use of electronic records and digital signatures in Government and its


agencies.
(1) Where any law provides for
(a) the filing of any form. application or any other document with any office, authority, body
or agency owned or controlled by the appropriate Government in a particular manner;
(b) the issue or grant of any licence, permit, sanction or approval by whatever name called in
a particular manner;
(c) the receipt or payment of money in a particular manner,
then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, such requirement
shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such filing, issue, grant, receipt or payment, as the case may be,
is effected by means of such electronic form as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.
(2) The appropriate Government may, for the purposes of sub-section (1), by rules, prescribe
(a) the manner and format in which such electronic records shall be filed, created or issued;
(b) the manner or method of payment of any fee or charges for filing, creation or issue any
electronic record under clause (a).

7. Retention of electronic records.


(1) Where any law provides that documents, records or information shall be retained for any
specific period, then, that requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such documents,
records or information are retained in the electronic form, if

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(a) the information contained therein remains accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent
reference;
(b) the electronic record is retained in the format in which it was originally generated, sent or
received or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information
originally generated, sent or received;
(c) the details which will facilitate the identification of the origin, destination, date and time of
dispatch or receipt of such electronic record are available in the electronic record:
Provided that this clause does not apply to any information which is automatically generated solely for
the purpose of enabling an electronic record to be dispatched or received.
(2) Nothing in this section shall apply to any law that expressly provides for the retention of
documents, records or information in the form of electronic records.

8. Publication of rule, regulation, etc., in Electronic Gazette.


Where any law provides that any rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter shall
be published in the Official Gazette, then, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such
rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter is published in the Official Gazette or
Electronic Gazette:
Provided that where any rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter is published in
the Official Gazette or Electronic Gazette, the date of publication shall be deemed to be the date of the
Gazette which was first published in any form.

9. Sections 6,7 and 8 not to confer right to insist document should be accepted
in electronic form.
Nothing contained in sections 6, 7 and 8 shall confer a right upon any person to insist that any Ministry
or Department of the Central Government or the State Government or any authority or body established
by or under any law or controlled or funded by the Central or State Government should accept, issue,
create, retain and preserve any document in the form of electronic records or effect any monetary
transaction in the electronic form.

10. Power to make rules by Central Government in respect of digital


signature.
The Central Government may, for the purposes of this Act, by rules, prescribe
(a) the type of digital signature;
(b) the manner and format in which the digital signature shall be affixed;

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111

(c) the manner or procedure which facilitates identification of the person affixing the digital signature;
(d) control processes and procedures to ensure adequate integrity, security and confidentiality of
electronic records or payments; and
(e) any other matter which is necessary to give legal effect to digital signatures.

CHAPTER IV

ATTRIBUTION, ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND DESPATCH OF


ELECTRONIC RECORDS
11.Attribution of electronic records.
An electronic record shall be attributed to the originator
(a) if it was sent by the originator himself;
(b) by a person who had the authority to act on behalf of the originator in respect of that electronic
record; or
(c) by an information system programmed by or on behalf of the originator to operate automatically.

12. Acknowledgment of receipt.


(1) Where the originator has not agreed with the addressee that the acknowledgment of receipt of
electronic record be given in a particular form or by a particular method, an acknowledgment
may be given by
(a) any communication by the addressee, automated or otherwise; or
(b) any conduct of the addressee, sufficient to indicate to the originator that the electronic
record has been received.
(2) Where the originator has stipulated that the electronic record shall be binding only on receipt of
an acknowledgment of such electronic record by him, then unless acknowledgment has been so
received, the electronic record shall be deemed to have been never sent by the originator.
(3) Where the originator has not stipulated that the electronic record shall be binding only on
receipt of such acknowledgment, and the acknowledgment has not been received by the originator
within the time specified or agreed or, if no time has been specified or agreed to within a
reasonable time, then the originator may give notice to the addressee stating that no

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acknowledgment has been received by him and specifying a reasonable time by which the
acknowledgment must be received by him and if no acknowledgment is received within the
aforesaid time limit he may after giving notice to the addressee, treat the electronic record as
though it has never been sent.

13. Time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic record.


(1) Save as otherwise agreed to between the originator and the addressee, the dispatch of an
electronic record occurs when it enters a computer resource outside the control of the originator.
(2) Save as otherwise agreed between the originator and the addressee, the time of receipt of an
electronic record shall be determined as follows, namely :
(a) if the addressee has designated a computer resource for the purpose of receiving electronic
records,
(i) receipt occurs at the time when the electronic, record enters the designated computer
resource; or
(ii) if the electronic record is sent to a computer resource of the addressee that is not the
designated computer resource, receipt occurs at the time when the electronic record
is retrieved by the addressee;
(b) if the addressee has not designated a computer resource along with specified timings, if
any, receipt occurs when the electronic record enters the computer resource of the
addressee.
(3) Save as otherwise agreed to between the originator and the addressee, an electronic record is
deemed to be dispatched at the place where the originator has his place of business, and is
deemed to be received at the place where the addressee has his place of business.
(4) The provisions of sub-section (2) shall apply notwithstanding that the place where the computer
resource is located may be different from the place where the electronic record is deemed to
have been received under sub-section (3).
(5) For the purposes of this section,
(a) if the originator or the addressee has more than one place of business, the principal place
of business, shall be the place of business;
(b) if the originator or the addressee does not have a place of business, his usual place of
residence shall be deemed to be the place of business;
(c) usual place of residence, in relation to a body corporate, means the place where it is
registered.

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113

CHAPTER V

SECURE ELECTRONIC RECORDS AND SECURE DIGITAL


SIGNATURES
14. Secure electronic record.
Where any security procedure has been applied to an electronic record at a specific point of time. then
such record shall be deemed to be a secure electronic record from such point of time to the time of
verification.

15. Secure digital signature.


If, by application of a security procedure agreed to by the parties concerned, it can be verified that a
digital signature, at the time it was affixed, was
(a) unique to the subscriber affixing it;
(b)capable of identifying such subscriber;
(c) created in a manner or using a means under the exclusive control of the subscriber and is linked
to the electronic record to which it relates in such a manner that if the electronic record was
altered the digital signature would be invalidated, then such digital signature shall be deemed to
be a secure digital signature.

16. Security procedure.


The Central Government shall for the purposes of this Act prescribe the security procedure having
regard to commercial circumstances prevailing at the time when the procedure was used, including
(a) the nature of the transaction;
(b) the level of sophistication of the parties with reference to their technological capacity;
(c) the volume of similar transactions engaged in by other parties;
(d) the availability of alternatives offered to but rejected by any party;
(e) the cost of alternative procedures; and
(f) the procedures in general use for similar types of transactions or communications.

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CHAPTER VI

REGULATION OF CERTIFYING AUTHORITIES


17. Appointment of Controller and other officers.
(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a Controller of
Certifying Authorities for the purposes of this Act and may also by the same or subsequent
notification appoint such number of Deputy Controllers and Assistant Controllers as it deems fit.
(2) The Controller shall discharge his functions under this Act subject to the general control and
directions of the Central Government.
(3) The Deputy Controllers and Assistant Controllers shall perform the functions assigned to them
by the Controller under the general superintendence and control of the Controller.
(4) The qualifications, experience and terms and conditions of service of Controller, Deputy
Controllers and Assistant Controllers shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central
Government.
(5) The Head Office and Branch Office of the office of the Controller shall be at such places as
the Central Government may specify, and these may be established at such places as the Central
Government may think fit.
(6) There shall be a seal of the Office of the Controller.

18. Functions of Controller.


The Controller may perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
(a) exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities;
(b) certifying public keys of the Certifying Authorities;
(c) laying down the standards to be maintained by the Certifying Authorities;
(d) specifying the qualifications and experience which employees of the Certifying Authorities
should possess;
(e) specifying the conditions subject to which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their business;
(f) specifying the contents of written, printed or visual materials and advertisements that may be
distributed or used in respect of a Digital Signature Certificate and the public key;
(g) specifying the form and content of a Digital Signature Certificate and the key,

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(h) specifying the form and manner in which accounts shall be maintained by the Certifying
Authorities;
(i) specifying the terms and conditions subject to which auditors may be appointed and the
remuneration to be paid to them;
(j) facilitating the establishment of any electronic system by a Certifying Authority either solely or
jointly with other Certifying Authorities and regulation of such systems;
(k) specifying the manner in which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their dealings with the
subscribers;
(l) resolving any conflict of interests between the Certifying Authorities and the subscribers;
(m) laying down the duties of the Certifying Authorities;
(n) maintaining a data base containing the disclosure record of every Certifying Authority containing
such particulars as may be specified by regulations, which shall be accessible to public.

19. Recognition of foreign Certifying Authorities.


(1) Subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be specified by regulations, the Controller
may with the previous approval of the Central Government, and by notification in the Official
Gazette, recognize any foreign Certifying Authority as a Certifying Authority for the purposes
of this Act.
(2) Where any Certifying Authority is recognized under sub-section (1), the Digital Signature
Certificate issued by such Certifying Authority shall be valid for the purposes of this Act.
(3) The Controller may, if he is satisfied that any Certifying Authority has contravened any of the
conditions and restrictions subject to which it was granted recognition under sub-section (1) he
may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, by notification in the Official Gazette, revoke such
recognition.

20. Controller to act as repository.


(1) The Controller shall be the repository of all Digital Signature Certificates issued under this Act.
(2) The Controller shall
(a) make use of hardware, software and procedures that are secure from intrusion and
misuse;
(b) observe such other standards as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to ensure
that the secrecy and security of the digital signatures are assured.

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(3) The Controller shall maintain a computerized data base of all public keys in such a manner that
such data base and the public keys are available to any member of the public.

21. Licence to issue Digital Signature Certificates.


(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), any person may make an application, to the Controller,
for a licence to issue Digital Signature Certificates.
(2) No licence shall be issued under sub-section (1), unless the applicant fulfills such requirements
with respect to qualification, expertise, manpower, financial resources and other infrastructure
facilities, which are necessary to issue Digital Signature Certificates as may be prescribed by
the Central Government
(3) A licence granted under this section shall
(a) be valid for such period as may be prescribed by the Central Government;
(b) not be transferable or heritable;
(c) be subject to such terms and conditions as may be specified by the regulations.

22. Application for licence.


(1) Every application for issue of a licence shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the
Central Government.
(2) Every application for issue of a licence shall be accompanied by
(a) a certification practice statement;
(b) a statement including the procedures with respect to identification of the applicant;
(c) payment of such fees, not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees as may be prescribed
by the Central Government;
(d) such other documents, as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

23. Renewal of licence.


An application for renewal of a licence shall be
(a) in such form;
(b) accompanied by such fees, not exceeding five thousand rupees,
as may be prescribed by the Central Government and shall be made not less than forty-five days
before the date of expiry of the period of validity of the licence.

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24. Procedure for grant or rejection of licence.


The Controller may, on receipt of an application under sub-section (1) of section 21, after considering
the documents accompanying the application and such other factors, as he deems fit, grant the licence or
reject the application:
Provided that no application shall be rejected under this section unless the applicant has been given a
reasonable opportunity of presenting his case.

25. Suspension of licence.


(1) The Controller may, if he is satisfied after making such inquiry, as he may think fit, that a
Certifying Authority has,
(a) made a statement in, or in relation to, the application for the issue or renewal of the
licence, which is incorrect or false in material particulars;
(b) failed to comply with the terms and conditions subject to which the licence was granted;
(c) failed to maintain the standards specified under clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section
20;
(d) contravened any provisions of this Act, rule, regulation or order made thereunder, revoke
the licence:
Provided that no licence shall be revoked unless the Certifying Authority has been given a reasonable
opportunity of showing cause against the proposed revocation.
(2) The Controller may, if he has reasonable cause to believe that there is any ground for revoking
a licence under sub-section (1), by order suspend such licence pending the completion of any
inquiry ordered by him:
Provided that no licence shall be suspended for a period exceeding ten days unless the Certifying
Authority has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed suspension.
(3) No Certifying Authority whose licence has been suspended shall issue any Digital Signature
Certificate during such suspension.

26. Notice of suspension or revocation of licence.


(1) Where the licence of the Certifying Authority is suspended or revoked, the Controller shall
publish notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be, in the database maintained
by him.
(2) Where one or more repositories are specified, the Controller shall publish notices of such
suspension or revocation, as the case may be, in all such repositories:

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Provided that the data base containing the notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be,
shall be made available through a web site which shall be accessible round the clock:
Provided further that the Controller may, if he considers necessary, publicize the contents of database
in such electronic or other media, as he may consider appropriate.

27. Power to delegate.


The Controller may, in writing, authorize the Deputy Controller, Assistant Controller or any officer to
exercise any of the powers of the Controller under this Chapter.

28. Power to investigate contraventions.


(1) The Controller or any officer authorized by him in this behalf shall take up for investigation any
contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder.
(2) The Controller or any officer authorized by him in this behalf shall exercise the like powers
which are conferred on Income-tax authorities under Chapter XIII of the Income-tax Act, 1961
and shall exercise such powers, subject to such limitations laid down under that Act.

29. Access to computers and data.


(1)Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 69, the Controller or any person
authorized by him shall, if he has reasonable cause to suspect that any contravention of the
provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder has been committed, have access to
any computer system, any apparatus, data or any other material connected with such system,
for the purpose of searching or causing a search to be made for obtaining any information or
data contained in or available to such computer system.
(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Controller or any person authorized by him may, by
order, direct any person incharge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of, the computer
system, data apparatus or material, to provide him with such reasonable technical and other
assistance as he may consider necessary.

30. Certifying Authority to follow certain procedures.


Every Certifying Authority shall,
(a) make use of hardware, software and procedures that are secure from intrusion and misuse;
(b) provide a reasonable level of reliability in its services which are reasonably suited to the
performance of intended functions;
(c) adhere to security procedures to ensure that the secrecy and privacy of the digital signatures
are assured; and
(d) observe such other standards as may be specified by regulations.

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31. Certifying Authority to ensure compliance of the Act, etc.


Every Certifying Authority shall ensure that every person employed or otherwise engaged by it complies,
in the course of his employment or engagement, with the provisions of this Act, rules, regulations and
orders made thereunder.

32. Display of licence.


Every Certifying Authority shall display its licence at a conspicuous place of the premises in which it
carries on its business.

33. Surrender of licence.


(1) Every Certifying Authority whose licence is suspended or revoked shall immediately after such
suspension or revocation, surrender the licence to the Controller.
(2) Where any Certifying Authority fails to surrender a licence under sub-section (1), the person in
whose favor a licence is issued, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punished with
imprisonment which may extend up to six months or a fine which may extend up to ten thousand
rupees or with both.

34. Disclosure.
(1) Every Certifying Authority shall disclose in the manner specified by regulations
(a) its Digital Signature Certificate which contains the public key corresponding to the private
key used by that Certifying Authority to digitally sign another Digital Signature Certificate;
(b) any certification practice statement relevant thereto;
(c) notice of the revocation or suspension of its Certifying Authority certificate, if any; and
(d) any other fact that materially and adversely affects either the reliability of a Digital
Signature Certificate, which that Authority has issued, or the Authoritys ability to perform
its services.
(2) Where in the opinion of the Certifying Authority any event has occurred or any situation has
arisen which may materially and adversely affect the integrity of its computer system or the
conditions subject to which a Digital Signature Certificate was granted, then, the Certifying
Authority shall
(a) use reasonable efforts to notify any person who is likely to be affected by that occurrence;
or
(b) act in accordance with the procedure specified in its certification practice statement to
deal with such event or situation.

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CHAPTER VII

DIGITAL SIGNATURE CERTIFICATES


35. Certifying Authority to issue Digital Signature Certificate.
(1) Any person may make an application to the Certifying Authority for the issue of a Digital
Signature Certificate in such form as may be prescribed by the Central Government
(2) Every such application shall be accompanied by such fee not exceeding twenty-five thousand
rupees as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to be paid to the Certifying Authority:
Provided that while prescribing fees under sub-section (2) different fees may be prescribed for different
classes of applicants.
(3) Every such application shall be accompanied by a certification practice statement or where
there is no such statement, a statement containing such particulars, as may be specified by
regulations.
(4) On receipt of an application under sub-section (1), the Certifying Authority may, after
consideration of the certification practice statement or the other statement under sub-section
(3) and after making such enquiries as it may deem fit, grant the Digital Signature Certificate or
for reasons to be recorded in writing, reject the application:
Provided that no Digital Signature Certificate shall be granted unless the Certifying Authority is satisfied
that
(a) the applicant holds the private key corresponding to the public key to be listed in the
Digital Signature Certificate;
(b) the applicant holds a private key, which is capable of creating a digital signature;
(c) the public key to be listed in the certificate can be used to verify a digital signature affixed
by the private key held by the applicant:
Provided further that no application shall be rejected unless the applicant has been given a reasonable
opportunity of showing cause against the proposed rejection.

36. Representations upon issuance of Digital Signature Certificate.


A Certifying Authority while issuing a Digital Signature Certificate shall certify that
(a) it has complied with the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder,

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(b) it has published the Digital Signature Certificate or otherwise made it available to such person
relying on it and the subscriber has accepted it;
(c) the subscriber holds the private key corresponding to the public key, listed in the Digital Signature
Certificate;
(d) the subscribers public key and private key constitute a functioning key pair,
(e) the information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate is accurate;
and
(f) it has no knowledge of any material fact, which if it had been included in the Digital Signature
Certificate would adversely affect the reliability of the representations made in clauses (a) to
(d).

37. Suspension of Digital Signature Certificate.


(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the Certifying Authority which has issued a Digital
Signature Certificate may suspend such Digital Signature Certificate,
(a) on receipt of a request to that effect from
(i) the subscriber listed in toe Digital Signature Certificate; or
(ii) any person duly authorized to act on behalf of that subscriber,
(b) if it is of opinion that the Digital Signature Certificate should be suspended in public
interest
(2) A Digital Signature Certificate shall not be suspended for a period exceeding fifteen days
unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.
(3) On suspension of a Digital Signature Certificate under this section, the Certifying Authority
shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

38. Revocation of Digital Signature Certificate.


(1) A Certifying Authority may revoke a Digital Signature Certificate issued by it
(a) where the subscriber or any other person authorized by him makes a request to that
effect; or
(b) upon the death of the subscriber, or
(c) upon the dissolution of the firm or winding up of the company where the subscriber is a
firm or a company.

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(2) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3) and without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (1), a CertifyingAuthority may revoke a Digital Signature Certificate which has been
issued by it at any time, if it is of opinion that
(a) a material fact represented in the Digital Signature Certificate is false or has been concealed;
(b) a requirement for issuance of the Digital Signature Certificate was not satisfied;
(c) the Certifying Authoritys private key or security system was compromised in a manner
materially affecting the Digital Signature Certificates reliability;
(d) the subscriber has been declared insolvent or dead or where a subscriber is a firm or a
company, which has been dissolved, wound-up or otherwise ceased to exist
(3) A Digital Signature Certificate shall not be revoked unless the subscriber has been given an
opportunity of being heard in the matter.
(4) On revocation of a Digital Signature Certificate under this section, the Certifying Authority
shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

39. Notice of suspension or revocation.


(1) Where a Digital Signature Certificate is suspended or revoked under section 37 or section 38,
the Certifying Authority shall publish a notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may
be, in the repository specified in the Digital Signature Certificate for publication of such notice.
(2) Where one or more repositories are specified, the Certifying Authority shall publish notices of
such suspension or revocation, as the case may he. in all such repositories.

CHAPTER VIII

DUTIES OF SUBSCRIBERS
40. Generating key pair.
Where any Digital Signature Certificate, the public key of which corresponds to the private key of that
subscriber which is to be listed in the Digital Signature Certificate has been accepted by a subscriber,
then, the subscriber shall generate the key pair by applying the security procedure.

41. Acceptance of Digital Signature Certificate.


(1) A subscriber shall be deemed to have accepted a Digital Signature Certificate if he publishes or
authorizes the publication of a Digital Signature Certificate

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(a) to one or more persons;


(b) in a repository, or otherwise demonstrates his approval of the Digital Signature Certificate
in any manner.
(2) By accepting a Digital Signature Certificate the subscriber certifies to all who reasonably rely
on the information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate that
(a) the subscriber holds the private key corresponding to the public key listed in the Digital
Signature Certificate and is entitled to hold the same;
(b) all representations made by the subscriber to the Certifying Authority and all material
relevant to the information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate are true;
(c) all information in the Digital Signature Certificate that is within the knowledge of the
subscriber is true.

42. Control of private key.


(1) Every subscriber shall exercise reasonable care to retain control of the private key corresponding
to the public key listed in his Digital Signature Certificate and take all steps to prevent its disclosure
to a person not authorized to affix the digital signature of the subscriber.
(2) If the private key corresponding to the public key listed in the Digital Signature Certificate has
been compromised, then, the subscriber shall communicate the same without any delay to the
Certifying Authority in such manner as may be specified by .the regulations.
Explanation. For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the subscriber shall be liable till he
has informed the Certifying Authority that the private key has been compromised.

CHAPTER IX

PENALTIES AND ADJUD1CATION


43. Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc.
If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is incharge of a computer,
computer system or computer network,
(a) Accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network;
(b) Downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base or information from such computer,

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computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any
removable storage medium;
(c) Introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any
computer, computer system or computer network;
(d) Damages or causes to be damaged any computer, computer system or computer network,
data, computer data base or any other programmes residing in such computer, computer system
or computer network;
(e) Disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;
(f) Denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorized to access any computer, computer
system or computer network by any means;
(g) Provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or
computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made
thereunder;
(h) Charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with
or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network,
he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding one crore rupees to the
person so affected.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section,
(i) computer contaminant means any set of computer instructions that are designed
(a) to modify, destroy, record, transmit data or programme residing within a computer, computer
system or computer network; or
(b) by any means to usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer system, or computer
network;
(ii) computer data base means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or
instructions in text, image, audio, video that are being prepared or have been prepared in a
formalized manner or have been produced by a computer, computer system or computer network
and are intended for use in a computer, computer system or computer network;
(iii) computer virus means any computer instruction, information, data or programme that destroys,
damages, degrades or adversely affects the performance of a computer resource or attaches
itself to another computer resource and operates when a programme, data or instruction is
executed or some other event takes place in that computer resource;
(iv) damage means to destroy, alter, delete, add, modify or rearrange any computer resource by
any means.

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44. Penalty for failure to furnish information return, etc.


If any person who is required under this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder to
(a) furnish any document, return or report to the Controller or ?he Certifying Authority fails to
furnish the same, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one lakh and fifty thousand rupees
for each such failure;
(b) file any return or furnish any information, books or other documents within the time specified
therefor in the regulations fails to file return or furnish the same within the time specified therefor
in the regulations, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five thousand rupees for every
day during which such failure continues;
(c) maintain books of account or records, fails to maintain the same, he shall be liable to a penalty
not exceeding ten thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues.

45. Residuary penalty.


Whoever contravenes any rules or regulations made under this Act, for .the contravention of which no
penalty has been separately provided, shall be liable to pay a compensation not exceeding twenty-five
thousand rupees to the person affected by such contravention or a penalty not exceeding twenty-five
thousand rupees.

46. Power to adjudicate.


(1) For the purpose of adjudging under this Chapter whether any person has committed a
contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation, direction or order
made thereunder the Central Government shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3),
appoint any officer not below the rank of a Director to the Government of India or an equivalent
officer of a State Government to be an adjudicating officer for holding an inquiry in the manner
prescribed by the Central Government.
(2) The adjudicating officer shall, after giving the person referred to in sub-section (1) a reasonable
opportunity for making representation in the matter and if, on such inquiry, he is satisfied that the
person has committed the contravention, he may impose such penalty or award such compensation
as he thinks fit in accordance with the provisions of that section.
(3) No person shall be appointed as an adjudicating officer unless he possesses such experience in
the field of Information Technology and legal or judicial experience as may be prescribed by the
Central Government.
(4) Where more than one adjudicating officers are appointed, the Central Government shall specify
by order the matters and places with respect to which such officers shall exercise their jurisdiction.

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(5) Every adjudicating officer shall have the powers of a civil court which are conferred oh the
Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (2) of section 58, and
(a) all proceedings before it shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of
sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code;
(b) shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of sections 345 and 346 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

47. Factors to be taken into account by the adjudicating officer.


While adjudging the quantum of compensation under this Chapter, the adjudicating officer shall have
due regard to the following factors, namely:
(a) the amount of gain of unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as a result of the default;
(b) the amount of loss caused to any person as a result of the default;
(c) the repetitive nature of the default

CHAPTER X

THE CYBER REGULATIONS APPELLATE TRIBUNAL


48. Establishment of Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
(1) The Central Government shall, by notification, establish one or more appellate tribunals to be
known as the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal.
(2) The Central Government shall also specify, in the notification referred to in sub-section (1), the
matters and places in relation to which the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may exercise jurisdiction.

49. Composition of Cyber Appellate Tribunal.


A Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall consist of one person only (hereinafter referred to as the Residing
Officer of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal) to be appointed, by notification, by the Central Government

50. Qualifications for appointment as Presiding Officer of the Cyber


Appellate Tribunal.
A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal
unless he

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(a) is, or has been. or is qualified to be, a Judge of a High Court; or


(b) is or has been a member of the Indian Legal Service and is holding or has held a post in Grade
I of that Service for at least three years.

51. Term of office


The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall hold office for a term of five years from the
date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

52. Salary, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of Presiding
Officer.
The salary and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service including pension,
gratuity and other retirement benefits of. the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be
such as may be prescribed:
Provided that neither the salary and allowances nor the other terms and conditions of service of the
Presiding Officer shall be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.

53. Filling up of vacancies.


If, for reason other than temporary absence, any vacancy occurs in the office n the Presiding Officer
of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal, then the Central Government shall appoint another person in accordance
with the provisions of this Act to fill the vacancy and the proceedings may be continued before the Cyber
Appellate Tribunal from the stage at which the vacancy is filled.

54. Resignation and removal.


(1) The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal may, by notice in writing under his hand
addressed to the Central Government, resign his office:
Provided that the said Presiding Officer shall, unless he is permitted by the Central Government to
relinquish his office sooner, continue to hold office until the expiry of three months from the date of receipt
of such notice or until a person duly appointed as his successor enters upon his office or until the expiry of
his term of office, whichever is the earliest.
(2) The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall not be removed from his office
except by an order by the Central Government on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity
after an inquiry made by a Judge of the Supreme Court in which the Presiding Officer concerned
has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard
in respect of these charges.
(3) The Central Government may, by rules, regulate the procedure for the investigation of misbehavior
or incapacity of the aforesaid Presiding Officer.

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55. Orders constituting Appellate Tribunal to be final and not to invalidate its
proceedings.
No order of the Central Government appointing any person as the Presiding Officer of a Cyber
Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner and no act or proceeding before a Cyber
Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner on the ground merely of any defect in the
constitution of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal.

56. Staff of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.


(1) The Central Government shall provide the Cyber Appellate Tribunal with such officers and
employees as that Government may think fit
(2) The officers and employees of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall discharge their functions
under general superintendence of the Presiding Officer.
(3) The salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the officers and employees or the
Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

57. Appeal to Cyber Appellate Tribunal.


(1) Save as provided in sub-section (2), any person aggrieved by an order made by Controller or an
adjudicating officer under this Act may prefer an appeal to a Cyber Appellate Tribunal having
jurisdiction in the matter.
(2) No appeal shall lie to the Cyber Appellate Tribunal from an order made by an adjudicating
officer with the consent of the parties.
(3) Every appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed within a period of twenty-five days from the
date on which a copy of the order made by the Controller or the adjudicating officer is received
by the person aggrieved and it shall be in such form and be accompanied by such fee as may be
prescribed:
Provided that the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period
of twenty-five days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.
(4) On receipt of an appeal under sub-section (1), the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may, after giving
the parties to the appeal, an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit,
confirming, modifying or setting aside the order appealed against.
(5) The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall send a copy of every order made by it to the parties to the
appeal and to the concerned Controller or adjudicating officer.
(6) The appeal filed before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (1) shall be dealt with
by it as expeditiously as possible and endeavor shall be made by it to dispose of the appeal finally
within six months from the date of receipt of the appeal.

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58. Procedure and powers of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.


(1) The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of
civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and, subject to the
other provisions of this Act and of any rules, the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall have powers to
regulate its own procedure including the place at which it shall have its sittings.
(2) The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall have, for the purposes of discharging its functions under
this Act, the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908,
while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:
(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
(b) requiring the discovery and production of documents or other electronic records;
(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
(e) reviewing its decisions;
(f) dismissing an application for default or deciding it ex pane;
(g) any other matter which may be prescribed.
(3) Every proceeding before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding
within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian
Penal Code and the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes
of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

59. Right to legal representation.


The appellant may either appear in person or authorize one or more legal practitioners or any of its
officers to present his or its case before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.

60. Limitation.
The provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, shall, as far as may be, apply to an appeal made to the
Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
61. Civil court not to have jurisdiction.
No court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an
adjudicating officer appointed under this Act or the Cyber Appellate Tribunal constituted under this Act is
empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other
authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under
this Act.

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62. Appeal to High Court.

Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal to
the High Court within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision or order of the Cyber
Appellate Tribunal to him on any question of fact or law arising out of such order
Provided that the High Court may, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause
from filing the appeal within the said period, allow it to be filed within a further period not exceeding sixty
days.

63. Compounding of contraventions.


(1) Any contravention under this Chapter may, either before or after the institution of adjudication
proceedings, be compounded by the Controller or such other officer as may be specially authorized
by him in this behalf or by the adjudicating officer, as the case may be, subject to such conditions
as the Controller or such other officer or the adjudicating officer may specify:
Provided that such sum shall not, in any case, exceed the maximum amount of the penalty which may
be imposed under this Act for the contravention so compounded.
(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall apply to a person who commits the same or similar contravention
within a period of three years from the date on which the first contravention, committed by him,
was compounded.
Explanation.For the purposes of this sub-section, any second or subsequent contravention committed
after the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the contravention was previously
compounded shall be deemed to be a first contravention.
(3) Where any contravention has been compounded under sub-section (1), no proceeding or further
proceeding, as the case may be, shall be taken against the person guilty of such contravention in
respect of the contravention so compounded.

64. Recovery of penalty


A penalty imposed under this Act, if it is not paid, shall be recovered as an arrear of land revenue and
the licence or the Digital Signature Certificate, as the case may be, shall be suspended till the penalty is
paid.

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CHAPTER XI

OFFENCES
65. Tampering with computer source documents.
Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes
another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme,
computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained
by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine
which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, computer source code means the listing of
programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis of computer resource in
any form.

66. Hacking with computer system.


(1) Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage
to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer
resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hack:
(2) Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine
which may extend upto two lakh rupees, or with both.

67. Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.


Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is
lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt
persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter
contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the
event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

68. Power of Controller to give directions.


(1) The Controller may, by order, direct a Certifying Authority or any employee of such Authority
to take such measures or cease carrying on such activities as specified in the order if those are
necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act, rules or any regulations made
thereunder.

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(2) Any person who fails to comply with any order under sub-section (1) shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or
to a Fine not exceeding two lakh rupees or to both.

69. Directions of Controller to a subscriber to extend facilities to decrypt


information.
(1) If the Controller is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the
sovereignty or integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign Stales or
public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence, for
reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government to intercept
any information transmitted through any computer resource.
(2) The subscriber or any person incharge of the computer resource shall, when called upon by any
agency which has been directed under sub-section (1), extend all facilities and technical assistance
to decrypt the information.
(3) The subscriber or any person who fails to assist the agency referred to in sub-section (2) shall
be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

70. Protected system.


(1) The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that any
computer, computer system or computer network to be a protected system.
(2) The appropriate Government may, by order in writing, authorize the persons who are authorized
to access protected systems notified under sub-section (1).
(3) Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to a protected system in
contravention of the provisions of this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

71. Penalty for misrepresentation.


Whoever makes any misrepresentation to, or suppresses any material fact from, the Controller or the
Certifying Authority for obtaining any licence or Digital Signature Certificate, as the case may be. shall be
punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to
one lakh rupees, or with both.

72. Penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy.


Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person who, in
pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, has
secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other
material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book. register,

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correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with
imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh
rupees, or with both.

73. Penalty for publishing Digital Signature Certificate false in certain


particulars.
(1) No person shall publish a Digital Signature Certificate or otherwise make it available to any
other person with the knowledge that
(a) the Certifying Authority listed in the certificate has not issued it; or
(b) the subscriber listed in the certificate has not accepted it; or
(c) the certificate has been revoked or suspended,
unless such publication is for the purpose of verifying a digital signature created prior to
such suspension or revocation.
(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment
for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or
with both.

74. Publication for fraudulent purpose.


Whoever knowingly creates, publishes or otherwise makes available a Digital Signature Certificate for
any fraudulent or unlawful purpose shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

75. Act to apply for offence or contravention committed outside India.


(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the provisions of this Act shall apply also to any
offence or contravention committed outside India by any person irrespective of his nationality.
(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), this Act shall apply to an offence or contravention committed
outside India by any person if the act or conduct constituting the offence or contravention
involves a computer, computer system or computer network located in India.

76. Confiscation.
Any computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories related
thereto, in respect of which any provision of this Act. rules, orders or regulations made thereunder has
been or is being contravened, shall be liable to confiscation:
Provided that where it is established to the satisfaction of the court adjudicating the confiscation that
the person in whose possession, power or control of any such computer, computer system, floppies,

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compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories relating thereto is found is not responsible for the
contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made thereunder, the court may,
instead of making an order for confiscation of such computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks,
tape drives or any other accessories related thereto, make such other order authorized by this Act against
the person contravening of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made thereunder as it
may think fit.

77. Penalties or confiscation not to interfere with other punishments.


No penalty imposed or confiscation made under this Act shall prevent the imposition of any other
punishment to which the person affected thereby is liable under any other law for the time being in force.

78. Power to investigate offences.


Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a police officer not
below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police shall investigate any offence under this Act.

CHAPTER XII

NETWORK SERVICE PROVIDERS NOT TO BE LIABLE IN


CERTAIN CASES
79. Network service providers not to be liable in certain cases.
For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that no person providing any service as a network
service provider shall be liable under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder for any third party
information or data made available by him if he proves that the offence or contravention was committed
without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such
offence or contravention.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section,
(a) network service provider means an intermediary;
(b) third party information means any information dealt with by a network service provider in his
capacity as an intermediary;

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CHAPTER XIIL

MISCELLANEOUS
80. Power of police officer and other officers to enter, search, etc.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any police officer,
not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police, or any other officer of the Central
Government or a State Government authorized by the Central Government in this behalf may
enter any public place and search and arrest without warrant any person found therein who is
reasonably suspected or having committed or of committing or of being about to commit any
offence under this Act
Explanation.For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression public place includes any public
conveyance, any hotel, any shop or any other place intended for use by, or accessible to the public.
(2) Where any person is arrested under sub-section (1) by an officer other than a police officer,
such officer shall, without unnecessary delay, take or send the person arrested before a magistrate
having jurisdiction in the case or before the officer-in-charge of a police station.
(3) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 shall, subject to the provisions of this
section, apply, so far as may be, in relation to any entry, search or arrest, made under this
section.

81. Act to have overriding effect.


The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained
in any other law for the time being in force.

82. Controller, Deputy Controller and Assistant Controllers to be public


servants.
The Presiding Officer and other officers and employees of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal, the Controller,
the Deputy Controller and the Assistant Controllers shall be deemed to be public servants within the
meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

83. Power to give directions.


The Central Government may give directions to any State Government as to the carrying into execution
in the State of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation or order made thereunder.

84. Protection of action taken in good faith.


No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Central Government, the State

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Government, the Controller or any person acting on behalf of him, the Presiding Officer, adjudicating
officers and the staff of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal for anything which is in good faith done or intended
to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rule, regulation or order made thereunder.

85. Offences by companies.


(1) Where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule,
direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention
was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of
business of the company as well as the company, shall be guilty of the contravention and shall be
liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to punishment if
he proves that the contravention took place without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to
prevent such contravention.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where a contravention of any of the
provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder has been committed by
a company and it is proved that the contravention has taken place with the consent or connivance
of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other
officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary
or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be
proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section,
(i) company means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals;
and
(ii) director, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

86. Removal of difficulties.


(1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government
may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the
provisions of this Act as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty:
Provided that no order shall be made under this section after the expiry of a period of two years from
the commencement of this Act
(2) Every order made under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before
each House of Parliament.

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87. Power of Central Government to make rules.


(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette and in the Electronic
Gazette make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may
provide for all or any of the following mailers, namely:
i.

the manner in which any information or matter may be authenticated by means of


digital signature under section 5;

ii.

the electronic form in which filing, issue, grant or payment shall be effected under
sub-section (1) of section 6;

iii.

the manner and format in which electronic records shall be filed, or issued and the
method of .payment under sub-section (2) of section 6;

iv.

the matters relating to the type of digital signature, manner and format in which it may
be affixed under section 10;

v.

the security procedure for the purpose of creating secure electronic record and secure
digital signature under section 16;

vi.

the qualifications, experience and terms and conditions of service of Controller, Deputy
Controllers and Assistant Controllers under section 17;

vii.

other standards to be observed by the Controller under clause (b) of subsection (2) of
section 20;

viii.

the requirements which an applicant must fulfil under sub-section (2) of section 21;

ix.

the period of validity of licence granted under clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section
21;

x.

the form in which an application for licence may be made under sub-section (1) of
section 22;

xi.

the amount of fees payable under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 22;

xii.

such other documents which shall accompany an application for licence under clause
(a) of sub-section (2) of section 22;

xiii.

the form and the fee for renewal of a licence and the fee payable there of under
section 23;

xiv.

the form in which application for issue of a Digital Signature Certificate may be made
under sub-section (1) of section 35;

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xv.

the fee to be paid to the CertifyingAuthority for issue of a Digital Signature Certificate
under sub-section (2) of section 35;

xvi.

the manner in which the adjudicating officer shall hold inquiry under subsection (1) of
section 46;

xvii. the qualification and experience which the adjudicating officer shall possess under
sub-section (3) of section 46;
xviii. the salary, allowances and the other terms and conditions of service of the Presiding
Officer under section 52;
xix.

the procedure for investigation of misbehavior or incapacity of the Presiding Officer


under sub-section (3) of section 54;

xx.

the salary and allowances and other conditions of service of other officers and
employees under sub-section (3) of section 56;

xxi.

the form in which appeal may be filed and the fee thereof under sub -section (3) of
section 57;

xxii. any other power of a civil court required to be prescribed under clause (g) of subsection (2) of section 58; and
xxiii. any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed.
(3) Every notification made by the Central Government under clause (f) of subsection (4) of
section 1 and every rule made by it shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each
House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised
in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session
immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in
making any modification in the notification or the rule or both Houses agree that the notification
or the rule should not be made, the notification or the rule shall thereafter have effect only in
such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification
or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that
notification or rule.

88. Constitution of Advisory Committee.


(1) The Central Government shall, as soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, constitute
a Committee called the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee.
(2) The Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee shall consist of a Chairperson and such number of
other official and non-official members representing the interests principally affected or having
special knowledge of the subject-matter as the Central Government may deem fit.

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(3)The Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee shall advise


(a) the Central Government either generally as regards any rules or for any other purpose
connected with this Act;
(b) the Controller in framing the regulations under this Act.
(4) There shall be paid to the non-official members of such Committee such travelling and other
allowances as the Central Government may fix.

89. Power of Controller to make regulations.


(1) The Controller may, after consultation with the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee and
with the previous approval of the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette,
make regulations consistent with this Act and the rules made thereunder to carry out the purposes
of this Act.
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such regulations
may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:
(a) the particulars relating to maintenance of data-base containing the disclosure record of
every Certifying Authority under clause (m) of section 18;
(b) the conditions and restrictions subject to which the Controller may recognize any foreign
Certifying Authority under sub-section (1) of section 19;
(c) the terms and conditions subject to which a licence may be granted under clause (c) of
sub-section (3) of section 21;
(d) other standards to be observed by a Certifying Authority under clause (d) of section 30;
(e) the manner in which the Certifying Authority shall disclose the matters specified in subsection (1) of section 34;
(f) the particulars of statement which shall accompany an application under sub-section (3)
of section 35;
(g) the manner in which the subscriber shall communicate the compromise of private key to
the certifying Authority under sub-section (2) of section 42.
(3) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before
each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be
comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the
session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses
agree in making any modification in the regulation or both Houses agree that the regulation
should not be made, the regulation shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or he

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of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be
without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that regulation.

90. Power of State Government to make rules.


(1) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the
provisions of this Act.
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may
provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:
(a) the electronic form in which filing, issue, grant receipt or payment shall be effected under
sub-section (1) of section 6;
(b) for matters specified in sub-section (2) of section 6;
(c) any other matter which is required to be provided by rules by the State Government.
(3) Every rule made by the State Government under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be
after it is made, before each House of the State Legislature where it consists of two Houses, or
where such Legislature consists of one House, before that House.

91. Amendment of Act 45 of 1860.


The Indian Penal Code shall be amended in the manner specified in the First Schedule to this Act.

92. Amendment of Act 1 of 1872.


The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 shall be amended in the manner specified in the Second Schedule to
this Act.

93. Amendment of Act 18 of 1891.


The Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891 shall be amended in the manner specified in the Third
Schedule to this Act.

94. Amendment of Act 2 of 1834.


The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 shall be amended in the manner specified in the Fourth Schedule
to this Act.

THE FIRST SCHEDULE


(See section 91)
Amendments to the Indian penal code

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(45 of 1860)
After section 29, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
Electronic record.
29A. The words electronic record shall have the meaning assigned to them in clause (t) of subsection (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000..
2. In section 167, for the words such public servant, charged with the preparation or translation of
any document, frames or translates that document, the words such public servant, charged
with the preparation or translation of any document or electronic record, frames, prepares or
translates that document or electronic record shall be substituted.
3. In section 172, for the words produce a document in a Court of Justice, the words produce a
document or an electronic record in a Court of Justice shall be substituted.
4. In section 173, for the words to produce a document in a Court of Justice, the words to
produce a document or electronic record in a Court of Justice shall be substituted.
5. In section 175, for the word document at both the places where it occurs, the words document
or electronic record shall be substituted.
6. In section 192, for the words makes any false entry in any book or record, or makes any
document containing a false statement, the words makes any false entry in any book or
record, or electronic record or makes any document or electronic record containing a false
statement shall be substituted.
7. In section 204, for the word document at both the places where it occurs, the words document
or electronic record shall be substituted.
8. In section 463, for the words Whoever makes any false documents or part of a document with
intent to cause damage or injury, the words Whoever makes any false documents or false
electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage or
injury shall be substituted.
9. In section 464,
(a) for the portion beginning with the words A person is said to make a false document and
ending with the words by reason of deception practiced upon him, he does not know the
contents of the document or the nature of the alteration, the following shall be substituted,
namely:
A person is said to make a false document or false electronic record
FirstWho dishonestly or fraudulently

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(a)

makes, signs, seals or executes a document or part of a document;

(b)

makes or transmits any electronic record or part of any electronic record;

(c)

affixes any digital signature on any electronic record;

(d)

makes any mark denoting the execution of a document or the authenticity of the
digital signature,

with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of document, electronic
record or digital signature was made, signed, sealed, executed, transmitted or affixed by or by the authority
of a person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed, executed or
affixed; or
SecondlyWho, without lawful authority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise,
alters a document or an electronic record in any material part thereof, after it has been made, executed or
affixed with digital signature either by himself or by any other person, whether such person be living or
dead at the time of such alteration; or
ThirdlyWho dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to sign, seal, execute or alter a document
or an electronic record or to affix his digital signature on any electronic record knowing that such
person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication cannot, or that by reason of deception practiced
upon him, he does not know the contents of the document or electronic record or the nature of the
alteration. ;
(b) after Explanation 2, the following Explanation shall be inserted at the end, namely:
Explanation 3.For the purposes of this section, the expression affixing digital signature shall
have the meaning assigned to it in clause (d) of subsection (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology
Act, 2000..
10. In section 466,
(a) for the words Whoever forges a document, the words Whoever forges a document or
an electronic record shall be substituted;
(b) the following Explanation shall be inserted at the end, namely:
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, register includes any list, data or record of any
entries maintained in the electronic form as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the
Information Technology Act, 2000..
11. In section 468, for the words document forged, the words document or electronic record
forged shall be substituted.

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12. In section 469, for the words intending that the document forged, the words intending that
the document or electronic record forged shall be substituted.
13. In section 470, for the word document in both the places where it occurs, the words document
or electronic record shall be substituted.
14. In section 471, for the word document wherever it occurs, the words document or electronic
record shall be substituted.
15. In section 474, for the portion beginning with the words Whoever has in his possession any
document and ending with the words if the document is one of the description mentioned in
section 466 of this Code, the following shall be substituted, namely:
Whoever has in his possession any document or electronic record, knowing the same to be
forged and intending that the same shall fraudulently or dishonestly be used as a genuine, shall,
if the document or electronic record is one of the description mentioned in section 466 of this
Code..
16. In section 476, for the words any document, the words any document or electronic record
shall be substituted.
17. In section 477A, for the words book, paper, writing at both the places where they occur, the
words book, electronic record, paper, writing shall be substituted.

THE SECOND SCHEDULE


(See section 92)
amendments to the indian evidence act, 1872
(1 of 1872)
1. In section 3,
(a) in the definition of Evidence, for the words all documents produced for the inspection
of the Court, the words all documents including electronic records produced for the
inspection of the Court shall be substituted;
(b) after the definition of India, the following shall be inserted, namely: the expressions
Certifying Authority, digital signature, Digital Signature Certificate, electronic form,
electronic records, information, secure electronic record, secure digital signature
and subscriber shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Information
Technology Act, 2000..

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2. In section 17, for the words oral or documentary,, the words oral or documentary or contained
in electronic form shall be substituted.
3. After section 22, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
When oral admission as to contents of electronic records are relevant.
22A. Oral admissions as to the contents of electronic records are not relevant, unless the
genuineness of the electronic record produced is in question..
4. In section 34, for the words Entries in the books of account, the words Entries in the books
of account, including those maintained in an electronic form shall be substituted.
5. In section 35, for the word record, in both the places where it occurs, the words record or an
electronic record shall be substituted.
6. For section 39, the following section shall be substituted, namely:
What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, electronic
record, book or series of letters or papers.
39. When any statement of which evidence is given forms part of a longer statement, or of a
conversation or pan of an isolated document, or is contained in a document which forms part of
a book, or is contained in part of electronic record or of a connected series of letters or papers,
evidence shall be given of so much and no more of the statement, conversation, document,
electronic record, book or series of letters or papers as the Court considers necessary in that
particular case to the full understanding of the nature and effect of the statement, and of the
circumstances under which it was made..
7. After section 47, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
Opinion as to digital signature where relevant.
47A. When the Court has 10 form an opinion as to the digital signature of any person, the
opinion of the Certifying Authority which has issued the Digital Signature Certificate is a relevant
fact..
8. In section 59, for the words contents of documents the words contents of documents or
electronic records shall be substituted.
9. After section 65, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:
Special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic record.
65A. The contents of electronic records may be proved in accordance with the provisions of
section 65B.

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Admissibility of electronic records.


65B. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, any information contained in an electronic
record which is printed on a paper, stored, recorded or copied in optical or magnetic media
produced by a computer (hereinafter referred to as the computer output) shall be deemed to be
also a document, if the conditions mentioned in this section are satisfied in relation to the information
and computer in question and shall be admissible in any proceedings, without further proof or
production of the original, as evidence of any contents of the original or of any fact stated
therein of which direct evidence would be admissible.
(2) The conditions referred to in sub-section (1) in respect of a computer output shall be the
following, namely:
(a) the computer output containing the information was produced by the computer during the
period over which the computer was used regularly to store or process information for
the purposes of any activities regularly carried on over that period by the person having
lawful control over the use of the computer;
(b) during the said period, information of the kind contained in the electronic record or of the
kind from which the information so contained is derived was regularly fed into the computer
in the ordinary course of the said activities;
(c) throughout the material part of the said period, the computer was operating properly or, if
not, then in respect of any period in which it was not operating properly or was out of
operation during that part of the period, was not such as to affect the electronic record or
the accuracy of its contents; and
(d) the information contained in the electronic record reproduces or is derived from such
information fed into the computer in the ordinary course of the said activities.
(3) Where over any period, the function of storing or processing information for the purposes of
any activities regularly carried on over that period as mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section (2)
was regularly performed by computers, whether
(a) by a combination of computers operating over that period; or
(b) by different computers operating in succession over that period; or
(c) by different combinations of computers operating in succession over that period; or
(d) in any other manner involving the successive operation over that period, in whatever
order, of one or more computers and one or more combinations of computers,
all the computers used for that purpose during that period shall be treated for the purposes of this
section as constituting a single computer; and references in this section to a computer shall be construed
accordingly.

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(4) In any proceedings where it is desired to give a statement in evidence by virtue of this section,
a certificate doing any of the following things, that is to say,
(a) identifying the electronic record containing the statement and describing the manner in
which it was produced;
(b) giving such particulars of any device involved in the production of that electronic record
as may be appropriate for the purpose of showing that the electronic record was produced
by a computer;
(c) dealing with any of the matters to which the conditions mentioned in sub-section (2)
relate,
and purporting to be signed by a person occupying a responsible official position in relation to the
operation of the relevant device or the management of the relevant activities (whichever is appropriate)
shall be evidence of any matter stated in the certificate; and for the purposes of this sub-section it shall be
sufficient for a matter to be stated to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person stating it.
(5) For the purposes of this section,
(a) information shall be taken to be supplied to a computer if it is supplied thereto in any
appropriate form and whether it is so supplied directly or (with or without human
intervention) by means of any appropriate equipment;
(b) whether in the course of activities carried on by any official, information is supplied with
a view to its being stored or processed for the purposes of those activities by a computer
operated otherwise than in the course of those activities, that information, if duly supplied
to that computer, shall be taken to be supplied to it in the course of those activities;
(c) a computer output shall be taken to have been produced by a computer
whether it was produced by it directly or (with or without human intervention)
by means of any appropriate equipment.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section any reference to information being derived from other
information shall be a reference to its being derived therefrom by calculation, comparison or any other
process.
10. After section 67, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
Proof as to digital signature.
67A. Except in the case of a secure digital signature, if the digital signature of any subscriber
is alleged to have been affixed to an electronic record the fact that such digital signature is the
digital signature of the subscriber must be proved..

Appendix - II

147

11. After section 73, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
Proof as to verification of digital signature.
73A. In order to ascertain whether a digital signature is that of the person by whom it purports
to have been affixed, the Court may direct
(a) that person or the Controller or the Certifying Authority to produce the Digital Signature
Certificate;
(b) any other person to apply the public key listed in the Digital Signature Certificate and
verify the digital signature purported to have been affixed by that person.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, Controller means the Controller appointed under
sub-section (1) of section 17 of the Information Technology Act, 2000'.
12. Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic forms.
After section 81, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
81 A. The Court shall presume the genuineness of every electronic record purporting to be the
Official Gazette, or purporting to be electronic record directed by any law to be kept by any
person, if such electronic record is kept substantially in the form required by law and is produced
from proper custody..
13. Presumption as to electronic agreements.
After section 85, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:
85A. The Court shall presume that every electronic record purporting to be an agreement
containing the digital signatures of the parties was so concluded by affixing the digital signature
of the parties.
Presumption as to electronic records and digital signatures.
85B. (1) In any proceedings involving a secure electronic record, the Court shall presume unless
contrary is proved, that the secure electronic record has not been altered since the specific point
of time to which the secure status relates.
(2) In any proceedings, involving secure digital signature, the Court shall presume unless the contrary
is proved that
(a) the secure digital signature is affixed by subscriber with the intention of signing or approving
the electronic record;
(b) except in the case of a secure electronic record or a secure digital signature, nothing in

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this section shall create any presumption relating to authenticity and integrity of the electronic
record or any digital signature.
Presumption as to Digital Signature Certificates.
85C. The Court shall presume, unless contrary is proved, that the information listed in a Digital
Signature Certificate is correct, except for information specified as subscriber information which
has not been verified, if the certificate was accepted by the subscriber..
14. Presumption as to electronic messages.
After section 88, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
88A. The Court may presume that an electronic message forwarded by the originator through
an electronic mail server to the addressee to whom the message purports to be addressed
corresponds with the message as fed into his computer for transmission; but the Court shall not
make any presumption as to the person by whom such message was sent.
Explanation.For the purposes of this section, the expressions addressee and originator shall
have the same meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (b) and (za) of sub-section (1) of
section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000..
15. Presumption as to electronic records five years old.
After section 90, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
90A. Where any electronic record, purporting or proved to be five years old, is produced from
any custody which the Court in the particular case considers proper, the Court may presume
that the digital signature which purports to be the digital signature of any particular person was
so affixed by him or any person authorized by him in this behalf.
Explanation.Electronic records are said to be in proper custody if they are in the place in which,
and under the care of the person with whom, they naturally be; but no custody is improper if it is proved
to have had a legitimate origin, or the circumstances of the particular case are such as to render such an
origin probable.
This Explanation applies also to section 81A..
16. For section 131, the following section shall be substituted, namely:
Production of documents or electronic records which another person, having possession, could
refuse to produce.
131. No one shall be compelled to produce documents in his possession or electronic records
under his control, which any other person would be entitled to refuse to produce if they were in
his possession or control, unless such last-mentioned person consents to their production..

Appendix - II

149

THE THIRD SCHEDULE


(See section 93)
Amendments to the bankers books evidence act 891
(18 of 1891)
1. In section 2
(a) for clause (3), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:
(3) bankers books include ledgers, day-books, cash-books, account-books and all other books
used in the ordinary business of a bank whether kept in the written form or as printouts of data
stored in a floppy, disc, tape or any other form of electro-magnetic data storage device;
(b) for clause (8), the following clause shall be substituted, namely: (8) certified copy means
when the books of a bank,
(a) are maintained in written form, a copy of any entry in such books together with a certificate
written;:: the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such entry, that such entry is
contained in one of the ordinary books of the bank and was made in the usual and ordinary
course of business and that such book is still in the custody of the bank, and where the
copy was obtained by a mechanical or other process which in itself ensured the accuracy
of the copy, a further certificate to that effect, but where the book from which such copy
was prepared has been destroyed in the usual course of the banks business after the
date on which the copy had been so prepared, a further certificate to that effect, each
such certificate being dated and subscribed by the principal accountant or manager of the
bank with his name and official title; and
(b) consist of printouts of data stored in a floppy, disc, tape or any other electro-magnetic
data storage device, a printout of such entry or a copy of such printout together with such
statements certified in accordance with the provisions of section 2A..
After section 2, the following section shall be inserted, namely:
Conditions in the printout.
2A. A printout of entry or a copy of printout referred to in sub-section (8) of section 2 shall be
accompanied by the following, namely:
(a) a certificate to the effect that it is a printout of such entry or a copy of such printout by
the principal accountant or branch manager; and
(b) a certificate by a person in-charge of computer system containing a brief description of
the computer system and the particulars of

BSIT 64 Computer Ethics and Cyber Laws

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i.

the safeguards adopted by the system to ensure that data is entered or any other
operation performed only by authorized persons;

ii.

the safeguards adopted to prevent and detect unauthorized change of data;

iii.

the safeguards available to retrieve data that is lost due to systemic failure or any
other reasons;

iv.

the manner in which data is transferred from the system to removable media like
floppies, discs, tapes or other electro-magnetic data storage devices;

v.

the mode of verification in order to ensure that data has been accurately transferred
to such removable media;

vi.

(F} the mode of identification of such data storage devices;

vii.

the arrangements for the storage and custody of such storage devices;

viii.

the safeguards to prevent and detect any tampering with the system; and

ix.

any other factor which will vouch for the integrity and accuracy of the system.

(c) a further certificate from the person in-charge of the computer system to the effect that
to the best of his knowledge and belief, such computer system operated properly at the
material time, he was provided with all the relevant data and the printout in question
represents correctly, or is appropriately derived from, the relevant data..

THE FOURTH SCHEDULE


(See section 94)
Amendment to the reserve bank of India act, 1934 (2 of 1934)
In the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, in section 58, in sub-section (2), after clause (p), the following
clause shall be inserted, namely:
(pp) the regulation of fund transfer through electronic means between the banks or between
the banks and other financial institutions referred to in clause (c) of section 45-1, including the
laying down of the conditions subject to which banks and other financial institutions shall participate
in such fund transfers, the manner of such fund transfers and the rights and obligations of the
participants in such fund transfers;.

151
APPENDIX - III

Bibliographical Information

I. BOOKS
1.

Reed, Chris- Computer Law 3rd Edn., London, Blackstone Press Pvt. Ltd., 1996.

2.

Wallace, Jonathan Understanding Software Law Delhi, Surjeet Publication, 1998.

3.

Kalkaota, Ravi Frontiers of electronic commerce London, Addition-Wesley, 2000.

4.

Campbell, Christian Ed. Law of International On-line Business: A Global Perspective Ed, by Christian
Campbell London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1998.

5.

Chissick, Michael Electronic Commerce: Law and Practice Michael Chissick and Alistair Kelman
London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1999.

6.

Edwards, Lilian Ed. Law and the Internet Regulating Cyberspace Ed. By Lilian Edwards and Charriotte
Waelde Oxford, Hart Publishing, 1997.

7.

Gringras, Clive The Laws of Internet Clive Gringras London, Butterworths, 1997.

8.

Liberty, Ed. Liberating Cyberspace: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and The Internet Ed. By Liberty,
London, Pluto Press, 1999.

9.

Kamath, Nandan Law Relating to Computers, Internet and E-commerce: A Guide to Cyber Laws, Nandan
Kamath Delhi, Universal Law Publishing Co., Ltd., 2000.

10. P.M. Bakshi, An Introduction to Legal and Health Systems, (1998)TILEM, NLSIU, Bangalore.
11.

Matthan, Rahul The Law Relating to Computers and the Internet, Rahul Matthan, New Delhi, Butterworths,
2000.

12. N.R. Madhava Menon, Public Legal Education, (1994), NLSIU, Bangalore.
13. The Criminal Law Review: Crime, Criminal Justice and The Internet London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1998.

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152

14. Asija, Pai How to Protect Computer Programs (A case history of the First pure Software Patent), Pal Asija,
Allahabad: Law Publishers (India) Pvt. Ltd., 1983.
15. Lautsch, John C American Standard Handbook of Software Business Law John C Lautsch, Virginia:
Reston Publishing Co., 1985.
16. Lloyd, Ian J Information Technology Law / Ian J Lloyd 2nd Ed. London: Butterworths, 1997.
17. Malik, Vijay Law for Cinemas, Videos and Computer Programmes Vijay Malik 7th Ed. Lucknow: Eastern
Book Co., 1995.

II. RESEARCH ARTICLES


1.

Andrew Ecclestone, AFreedom of Information: An Electronic Window on to Government, Liberty(Ed.),Liberating


Cyberspace: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and the Internet,1999,Pluto Press, London at p.44.

2.

Andrew Feenberg,Alternative Modernity: The Technical Turn in Philosophy and Social Theory,1995,University
of California Press, London.

3.

Ankit Majmudar, A Jurisdiction and the Internet Cyberspace, Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating to Computers,
Internet and E-Commerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.17.

4.

Anna Sampaio et al., To Boldly Go (Where No Man has Gone Before):Women and Politics in Cyberspace, Chris
Toulouse and Timothy W. Luke(eds.),The Politics of Cyberspace,1998, Routledge New York and London, at
p.144.

5.

Bhakta Batsal Patnaik et al., A Crime on the Internet-A Challenge Signatures, Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating
to Computers, Internet and E-Commerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.229.

6.

David Resnick,AThe Politics of Cyberspace, Chris Toulouse and Dev Saif Gangjee, A Pornography on the
Internet and the Indian Penal Code, Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating to Computers, Internet and ECommerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.258.

7.

Devashish Krishan, A Internet evidence and the Indian Legal Regime Internet Cyberspace Nandan
Kamath(ed.),Law Relating to Computers, Internet and E-Commerce, 2000, Universal Law Publishing Co., Pvt.
Ltd., Delhi, at p.48.

8.

Ian J. Lloyd et al., Computer Crime,Chris Reed (ed.),Computer Law,1996,Universal Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd,
Delhi,at p.241.

9.

Lawrence Lesig, The Law of the Horse: What Cyber Law Might Teach 113 Harvard Law Review at p.501.

10.

Michael Mann, Nation states in Europe and Other Continents: Diversifying, Developing, Not Dying122(3)
Daedalus 1993 at p.141.

11.

Michael Silverleaf,Evidence, Chris Reed (ed.),Computer Law,1996,Universal Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, Delhi,
at p.275.

Appendix - III

153

12.

Nandan Kamath, A Understanding Digital Signatures Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating to Computers, Internet
and E-Commerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.96.

13.

Nina Godbole, Cyber Crimes, Information Technology ,May 2000 atp.4214. Pranav Sharma et al., A
Censoring Cyberspace - In the Search of an International Regulatory Norm, Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating
to Computers, Internet and E-Commerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.272.

15.

Rahul Rao, Sweeping Cobwebs off the law...the law, lawyers and Cyberspace Nandan Kamath(ed.),Law Relating
to Computers, Internet and E-Commerce,2000,Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd Delhi, at p.1.

16.

Shelly M. Liberto, A Supreme Court Strikes Down Decency Act in Defense of Internet Chaos WWWIZ
magazine, September 1997, Legal Issue.

17.

Timothy W. Luke(eds.),The Politics of Cyberspace,1998,Routledge New York and London, at p.48.

18.

William C. Boni,I-Way Robbery: Crime on the Internet1999,Butterworth Heinemann, Boston.

III. WEBSITES
http://www.epic.org/epic/staff/banisar/hacker.html
http://www.cybercrime.gov.html
http://ramapages.onramp.net/dgmccown/a-fedcc.html
http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol2/issue1/due.html
http://vjolt.student.virginie.edu/graphics/vol1_art3.html http://www.emergis.com/en/solutions/list/epayment/
bill_presentment .html
http://conferences.americanbanker.com/conferences/EBPP/ebpp_5easy.html
http://conferences.americanbanker.com/conferences/EBPP/agenda.html
http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/~pr2gq1/rev4344.html
http://www.usdoj.govopa/pr/1996/March96/146.1.html
10.http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol2/issue1/juris.html

IV . ONLINE JOURNALS
Federal Communications Law Journal
John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law
Journal of Computer - Mediated Communication
Journal of Information Law and Technology (JILT)

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Journal of Law and Information Science
The Journal of Online Law
Journal of Technology Law & Policy
LSN Cyberspace Law
Netwatchers Cyberzine
Richmond Journal of Law & Technology
Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal
Technology Law Column
UCLA Bulletin of Law & Technology
Villanova Information Law Chronicle
Web Journal of Current Legal Issues.

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