Beginner’s Guide Cyber Law

Connectedreams’ Resources

1. What is Cyber law?

“As the world is increasingly interconnected, everyone shares the responsibility of securing cyberspace.” ― Newton Lee, Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: Total Information Awareness

Cyber law is a term that encapsulates the legal issues related to use of the Internet. Cyber law is a legal aspect of computing and is related to the overlapping areas of law and computing.

“Cyber law discipline which is a techno-legal law includes Laws related to IT, Telecom, IPR, Ecommerce, Encryption, Data Protection & Privacy. Growing era of globalisation and the flourishing IT industry make cyberspace more vulnerable offering open participation and enormous potential for anonymity accompanied with disrespect for jurisdictional boundaries. Cyber law lays out parameters which are the foundation to define a set of rules that have been approved, or which are in force and must be obeyed.” ―Adv. Prashant Mali, Cyber Law Consulting
(Read the full interview below)

Cyber law is an assemblage of legal aspects in the wide spectrum of world wide web , covering issues of data protection, intellectual property, internet censorship, freedom of speech, copyright protection, internet access and usage, jurisdiction and borderless nation, software licenses, open source licences, unauthorized access, data privacy, spamming etc.

The list of issues that can give a glimpse of what cyber law covers cannot be exhaustive since internet is scaling beyond limits of usage and borders. The cyberlaw can be rightly described and its coverage can be specified by coining it as a team that encapsulates the legal issues related to use of the Internet.

2.

Three important terminologies of Cyber Law

Cyber law can be routed to three important terminologies which cover the legal aspects of computing which are Information Technology Law, Internet Law or Cyber Law and the Computer Law.

a. Information Technology Law: IT law consists of the legal issues of digital information and amends laws, statutes and regulations governing the digital dispersal of digital information and software of computing. Information technology law provides the legal framework for collecting, storing, and disseminating electronic information in the global marketplace. Attorneys practicing in this area of the law represent individuals and businesses from all different industries. They help structure information technology transactions in a way that maximizes the client’s economic benefit while ensuring regulatory compliance.

b. Internet Law or Cyber Law: Internet law covers all the legal aspects of the world wide web usage of Internet. The unique global structure of the Internet concerns administrative aspects but deals with the authority to make and enforce laws affecting the Internet.

c. Computer Law: Computer law relates to issues including both Internet law and the patent and copyright aspects of computer technology and software.

If we want to pinpoint the difference we get into the technicality of each of these terminologies, they are different, as cyber law will utmost account internet issues maybe of jurisdiction, privacy, etc and IT law will branch into IP addresses, patents, software,etc. Computer law relates to and associates with number of legal areas affecting the design and use of computers for the purpose.

3.

Legal enactments

Legal enactment is a statute or regulation pursuant thereto. The following are laws or say statutes; documents which are published as an enforceable set of written rules which are to be enacted.

Great Britain — source

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 came into force on 29 August 1990 and specifies offences for attacks against computer systems or data. It provides protection for systems and data, attempting to maintain their confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The Act provides for three distinct offences:

Section 1 — Unauthorised access to computer material

It is an offence to cause a computer to perform any function with intent to secure unauthorised access to any program or data held in any computer (section 1a). It is necessary to prove that the access secured is unauthorised (section 1b), and the suspect knew that this was the case (section 1c).

This offence is commonly referred to as ‘hacking’ or ‘cracking’. It covers entering a computer system without permission, having guessed or discovered another individual’s password, or having obtained it through the use of software tools.

Under section 17(2) of the Act access is gained to any program or data in a computer, if by causing a computer to perform any function the program or data: is altered or erased; copied or moved to any storage medium other than that in which it is held; is used; or is output from the computer in which it is held. The offence is punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment up to six months.

Section 2 — Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of further offences

This offence is committed where a section 1 offence has been committed, with the intention of committing a further offence (any offence which may be punished by a term of imprisonment of five years or more) or facilitating the commission of a further offence. Even if it is not possible to prove the intent to commit the further offence the section 1 offence is still committed. The offence is punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment up to five years.

Section 3 — Unauthorised modification of computer material

When a person does any act that causes the unauthorised modification of the contents of any computer, a section 3 offence is committed. There must have been the intent to cause the modification and knowledge that the modification has not been authorised. The offence does not have to be preceded by a section 1 offence. This offence covers the introduction of harmful worms and viruses to a system, and denial of service attacks. The offence is punishable on summary conviction for a term not exceeding five years.

India

An example of information technology law is India’s Information Technology Act, 2000, which was substantially amended in 2008. The IT Act, 2000 came into force on 17 October 2000. This Act applies to whole of India, and its provisions also apply to any offense or contravention, committed even outside the territorial jurisdiction of Republic of India, by any person irrespective of his nationality. In order to attract provisions of this Act, such an offence or contravention should involve a computer, computer system, or computer network located in India. The IT Act 2000 provides an extraterritorial applicability to its provisions by virtue of section 1(2) read with section 75. This Act has 90 sections.

Section 66 — source

In February 2001, in one of the first cases, the Delhi police arrested two men running a web-hosting company. The company had shut down a website over non-payment of dues. The owner of the site had claimed that he had already paid and complained to the police. The Delhi police had charged the men for hacking under Section 66 of the IT Act and breach of trust under Section 408 of the Indian Penal Code. The two men had to spend 6 days in Tihar jail waiting for bail. Bhavin Turakhia, chief executive officer of diretci.com, a web hosting firm said that this interpretation of the law would be problematic for web-hosting companies.

Section 66A Removed — source

In September 2010, a freelance cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act, Section 2 of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and for sedition under the Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code. His cartoons depicting widespread corruption in India were considered offensive.

Asia and middle east

Many Asian and Middle Eastern nations use any number of combinations of code-based regulation (one of Lessig’s four methods of net regulation) to block material that their governments have deemed inappropriate for their citizens to view. PRC, Saudi Arabia and Iran are three examples of nations that have achieved high degrees of success in regulating their citizens’ access to the Internet.

Electronic signature laws

Australia — Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth) (also note that there is State and Territory mirror legislation)

European Union — eIDAS regulation on implementation within the EU is set out in the Digital Signatures and the Law.

UK — s.7 Electronic Communications Act 2000

U.S. — Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act

U.S. — Uniform Electronic Transactions Act — adopted by 48 states

U.S.— Digital Signature And Electronic Authentication Law

U.S. — Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)

U.S.— The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)

Information technology law

Information Technology Guidelines

4.

The Creation of Privacy in U.S. Internet Law

5.

Career Options

Cyberspace is emerging at an unprecedented scale and so are the cyber issues. Issues in cyberspace are growing in variety and volume at an exponential scale. The growth of Cyberspace has resulted in the development of a new and highly specialized branch of law called Cyber Law — Law of the world wide web and the internet. There are specializations in cyber law which can be pursued after graduating in law.

Courses:

  1. Diploma in Cyber Law.
  2. PG Program in Cyber Law.
  3. Advanced Program in International Cyber Laws.
  4. PG Program in Cyber Crime Prosecution & Defence.
  5. ASCL Certified Cyber Crime Investigator.
  6. ASCL Certified Digital Evidence Analyst.
  7. PG Program in Cyber Crime & Corporate Liability.
  8. PG Program in Cyber Security & Incident Response.
  9. Advanced Program in Cyber Warfare & Defence.
  10. Certificate in Cyber Crime Laws
  11. Certificate in Cyber Law Compliance
  12. Certificate in Digital Contract Law
  13. Certificate in Cyber Laws for Bankers
  14. Certificate in Cyber Laws for Netizens

Cyber law is emerging as a great career option thanks to the expanding field of information technology. Anyone interested in pursuing cyber law can work as cyber lawyers or in IT law/ corporate litigation or in public department. Candidates can pursue bachelor’s degree in law in any of the Indian universities post which they can apply for specialization in cyber law for master’s degree in any Indian university or universities abroad. Some universities in India also offer Cyber Law as specialization at LLB stage. Computer science Masters or Engineering graduates can also finish their LLB and practise in the area of cyber law. Remaining always updated in Technology and Law is the key for survival in the long run.

6.

Schools that offer Cyber Law Specialization.

For a Cyber Law aspirant, the following is the summary of schools offering cyber law specialization after graduation in law. The programs offered are generally on-campus. Details can be found below.

Across globe

  1. Harvard Law School, Us
  2. Harvard Law School, Us
  3. Georgetown University, US
  4. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  5. University of Southern California, US
  6. University of New South Wales, Australia
  7. University of Birmingham
  8. California University of Pennsylvania

In India

  1. National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru.
  2. Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi
  3. National Law University, Delhi
  4. ILS Law College, Pune
  5. Amity Law School, Delhi
  6. Symbiosis Society’s Law College, Pune
  7. NALSAR University
  8. Gujarat National Law University
  9. National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal
  10. Government Law College, Mumbai
  11. Asian School of Cyber Law, Mumbai
  12. Indian Law Institute, Delhi
  13. Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad
  14. Asian School of Cyber Laws, Pune
  15. Centre for Distance Education, University of Hyderabad
  16. Department of Law, University of Delhi
  17. Cyber Law College, Chennai, Mysore, Mangalore, Bangalore.

7. Self Learners’ Edge!

If you are a self learner, we have sketched out necessary requirements you’d have to go through.

8.

Books on Cyber Law

A list of books for those interested in Cyber Law.

9.

Boot Camps

A wiki of Cyber Law bootcamps

10.

Scholarships!

In the quest for learning, there maybe a financial limitation and as a result it may become difficult for an aspirant to pursue their dreams. So we have compiled resources of scholarships for you.

Law scholarships to study anywhere in the world

  1. Boren Fellowships
  2. Erasmus+ Joint International Doctoral Degree
  3. FUNED Scholarships for Mexican Students
  4. QS World University Rankings®
  5. HM Hubbard Law Scholarship
  6. Law Foundation Graduate Scholarships
  7. MENZIES Foundation Scholarships

Law scholarships to study in Australia & New Zealand

To study in Australia:

  1. CIFR/CMCRC Honours Scholarship Program
  2. Equity Scholarships Scheme @ QUT
  3. Queensland University of Technology
  4. Juris Doctor (JD) Scholarship for International Students @ UNSW
  5. Master of Laws (LLM) Scholarship @ UoN
  6. Postgraduate Scholarships @ University of Sydney
  7. TC Beirne School of Law Masters Scholarships @ UQ

To study in New Zealand:

  1. Brookfields Lawyers Scholarship @ University of Auckland
  2. Ethel Benjamin Scholarship

Law scholarships to study in Europe

To study in Germany:

  1. DAAD Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance (PPGG)
  2. Max Planck Society Research Scholarships
  3. Amsterdam Law School Merit Scholarships @ UvA

To study in the UK:

  1. Dickson Poon Undergraduate Law Scholarship Programme @ King’s College London
  2. Henry Arthur Hollond Studentship in Law @ University of Cambridge
  3. John Bloom Law Bursary
  4. Law School Scholarships and Grants @ UCL
  5. LLB Scholarships @ University of Birmingham
  6. Margaret Bennett Scholarship for African Women @ LSE
  7. Postgraduate Law School Funding @ QMUL
  8. Taught Postgraduate Scholarships @ University of Kent

Law scholarships to study in North America

To study in Canada:

  1. Master’s Scholarships for International Students @ Laval University
  2. Undergraduate Faculty Scholarships @ McGill University
  3. AABA Foundation Scholarships
  4. ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
  5. Arent Fox Diversity Scholarship Program
  6. Avvo Scholarship Program
  7. Bradley R Corbett Scholarship
  8. Charleston Scholarships
  9. Davis Levin Livingston Scholarship
  10. Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz Scholarship
  11. Federal Circuit Bar Association Scholarship
  12. MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program
  13. National Bar Institute Law School Scholarships and Grants
  14. NYU Law Scholarship Programs @ NYU
  15. TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship

11.

Cyber Law Podcasts

You can learn the basics and keep up with the latest news in Cyber Law by listening to Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast Resources for Cybersecurity, Privacy & National Security. Several episodes of Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast cover the latest developments in ‘cyber laws’ and ‘public knowledge’ .

12.

Conversations With 3 Experts

Here are a few excerpts from my conversations with 3 experts, who work in Cyber Law discipline and have graduated in the 90s and 00s

a. Conversation with Adv. Prashant Mali |President — Cyber Law Consulting (Advocates & Attorneys), Author & Speaker

‘What is cyber law as a discipline?’

Cyber law is a techno-legal law which includes laws related to IT, Telecom, IPR, e-commerce, Encryption, Data Protection & Privacy. Growing era of globalization and flourishing IT industry make cyberspace more vulnerable offering open participation and enormous potential for anonymity accompanied with disrespect for jurisdictional boundaries. Cyber law lays out parameters which are the foundation to define a set of rules that have been approved, or which are in force and must be obeyed.

Cyber crimes quintessentially necessitate use of computer and network. So cyber law as a study also encapsulates issues involving computers, software, hardware and information systems. Regulation of law and order in respect with IT law using computer system forms the crux of cyber law. These three laws (i.e IT law, cyber law and computer law) can be said to be interrelated because accomplishment and exploration of a cyber crime involves procedure that needs a detailed knowledge base revolving around all the three fields.

If we want to pinpoint the difference, we need to get into the technicality of each of these terminologies. They are different as cyber law will utmost account internet issues, maybe of jurisdiction, privacy, etc and IT law will branch into IP addresses, patents, software,etc. Computer law relates to and associates with number of legal areas affecting the design and use of computers for the purpose.

‘What are the technical aspects of cyberspace/computation as well as legal issues around it?’

The primary source of Cyber law is Information Technology Act, 2000. Decoding a cyber crime entails knowledge of technology combined with computation. Whether to commit crime, or investigate and punish the crime-doer, the law needs to be defined and applied at a certain level which is fair, weighing the pros and cons. Cyber law is the bridge connecting technical aspects of cyberspace and computation for understanding the scope and limitations. Technology is challenging conventional methods and its applications. A Cyber lawyer essentially must be from technology background preferably computer science or engineering. Technology background helps him to articulate facts in better sense and understand needs of his clients better.

‘Internet is border less which is what makes cyber law so interesting. Walk us through regulations, statutes and case law developed across countries and cultures.’

Internet being borderless ushers jurisdictional issues in cyber crimes and the cyberspace. UNCITRAL Model law of ecommerce, ITU model law on Data Protection are some of the guiding forces for making laws across all countries. The emphasis is drifting from borderless network to borderless law and regulatory code which itself needs to be regulated having inclination towards government regulation over self regulation. Variegated geographical barriers need to be set up and borderless digital laws deserve greater scrutiny. The compound nature of segments involved in cyber law makes it a strenuous field. Citizens are subject to a variety of laws made by city, country, state and federal governments.

When a judge decides a case and publishes a written decision, the decision becomes the precedent for future litigation. Any country can develop such laws in accordance with current condition and can be homogeneous or can vary depending upon each state.

‘Cyber law professionals deal with different jurisdictions and geographically separated regulations’

A Cyber Law professional needs to remain updated all the time knowing international treaties and conventions. Conflicts of law arise in the endless cyberspace making the location and occurrence very uncertain, differences creating conflicting laws and cyber professionals have to consider rules made by nations and representatives as well as sub-national and transnational institutions. Every country has developed bodies of law to deal with international conflicts, and such laws of various countries are not consistent with each other. Geography and citizenship, as well as place and jurisdiction dictate existent laws and a cyber professional needs to be acquainted with such laws or any other developments in this sphere.

What is a day like in the life of a cyber law expert?

Personally, I am a spiritual person and my day begins with mantras, pooja and yoga. For a lawyer whose law firm looks after work like consultations, providing legal opinion and litigation as service, there is no set timetable. We handle appointments and also attend courts for taking bail, cross examination or arguments. I also attend various courts across the country as an expert legal counsel arguing cases related to cybercrime, financial frauds and electronic evidence. I also engage myself in creating public awareness with regard to this field by speaking in seminars and conferences across the country. This being my passion I also conduct informative training sessions for police and judiciary, and even in colleges for free of cost. I handle cases pertaining to Online defamation, Online banking or credit card frauds, Data Theft, Hacking, Source code theft, Software Piracy, Trademark & Copyright, Media & Entertainment and Economic Offence related cases.

Would you like to share about your recent achievement as Cyber Security Professional of the Year:2016 [Asia Pacific] & as being Awarded Cyber Security Lawyer-India by Financial Monthly of UK?

I am grateful for considered being worthy of such achievements. I would definitely credit my success to the unique cyber related thoughts and ideas I bring for governance. The awards were based on different criteria like the cases I have won or handled and also the cyber related awareness I have created in the society for colleges, corporates, police and judiciary. I also write articles to make people conversant with cybercrime and its law, even in vernacular languages.

“Cyber law as a practice is poised to grow as cyber security is a crucial consideration for all businesses. The changes in traditional approach will lead to changes in the laws further also. As we delve deep into the essentials and constituents of cyber crimes and cyber laws there is always an increased scope for research and developments which can help countries to come together and establish a legal platform conforming to all countries to eradicate cyber crimes and utilize these policies for betterment and peace at a global level. India needs more courses offered around cyber law and cyber security.”

b. Conversation with Adv. Rajas Pingle | Cyber Law & Cyber Security Expert
The opinion of Adv. Rajas Pingle is important for one to understand the state of cyber law in developing countries which share the common platform as India in terms of enactments of law and advent of technology revolution.

Adv. Rajas explained that the Act for Cyber law in India came into existence in the year 2000. However at that time the Act wasn’t well defined. Only after the amendments and improvement of law in 2008 did the law had some concrete routes on which the current amendments are incorporated. In 2011, sensitive personal data was defined which gave details creating awareness of the existence of the Laws which protect misuse of internet domain. India is concerned with only one legislative law namely the Information Technology Act to cover the legal aspects of cyber law in the country. Currently the Act is not sufficient to deal with the wide scope of Cyber Law but as the country adopts and progresses this act shall be amended to incorporate a wider range of issues that have evolved since the birth of legislative body for cyber world in India.

According to Adv. Rajas concrete, understanding of technology is extremely critical to understand cyber law. Only legal awareness and expertise does not suffice an aspirant to be an ideal candidate for cyber law. The person who wants to pursue cyber law should learn technology first and then learn the laws that protect them if they want to lead in the domain of cyber law practice.

c. Conversation with Emmanuel AKODA | Legal Officer in Business, cyber and telecom law at M2ocity, Paris, France

‘There is no unique definition of cyber law’ says Adv.Emmanuel. However it can have many unique scenarios which can be considered in cyber law. To explain this fact Adv.Emmanuel gave an instance to explain it in concrete terms. In cyber law internet proprietary rights gives the owner the ability to place restrictions on the use of the protocol and to change the protocol unilaterally. Software definitely is above board in the cyber legislation but one important aspect which cannot be missed is that apart from software you have artistic or analytical creations, designs and researches which are subject to internet proprietary rights.

There is a trend of huge data processing and technological advancement from insights of data which is also subjected to the claim over data. One subject of question is “What do great firms like amazon,skype, facebook do with the data they obtain from the user and what are the processing involved on their part.” One major branch of cyber law deals with the collaboration and contentment with these to lay the boundaries on the processing according to regional countries legislations to handle the privacy of data.

Cyber law deals with material on cyberspace, personal data privacy, trademarks, e-commerce etc. Adv. Emmanuel elaborated on every aspect which could be covered in cyber law and explained how cyber law can be extended to so many different aspects.

The conversation also focussed on Cyber Security. The very fact that legal body cannot in fact have complete control over cyberspace consisting of 0% risk and 100% security was explained. It is just not possible to achieve the above target but the laws are always defined in such a way that the government can derive the most out of it to enforce efficient process in cyber security space. The practice of cyber law is to reduce the risk and make cyber domain enforced with efficient legal procedures to protect the integrity of World Wide Web.

N E X TConnectedreams.com is an online data-driven, cultural context-aware networking platform, bridging the role model & mentorship gap.


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About The Author — Venali Sonone | Fellow at Connectedreams.com | Software Engineer at Rakuten

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