The way people use internet and any other kind of technology is governed by certain laws and regulations, which are known as cyber law, or otherwise also known as “internet law”. Anyone who breaks any cyber law is said to commit a cyber crime. Such crimes are punishable mainly under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and are also covered under Indian Penal Code, 1860

Is cyber law relevant to everyone?

Just the way every citizen needs to have some knowledge about the Constitution of India or even the basic essence of the crimes which are punishable under the law, Cyber Law is relevant to each and every one who uses the internet – people commonly known as ‘netizens’. Especially in the 21st century – the digital century – but more importantly during the period of the pandemic spread of the novel coronavirus, where almost all of us need and use the internet on a daily basis, we need to be aware of the various cyber crimes which are taking place on the internet and the ways we can seek relief if we ever fall victim to such crimes.

So, what are the types of cyber crimes that we need to be aware of?

Cyber stalking

Cyber harassment

Cyber fraud

Cyber defamation




Posting and sharing of obscene material including pornography

Indecent exposure and child pornography, etc.

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Cyber law also extends to the day-to-day activities we do on the internet – such as, every time we click on Agree while using any website, or downloading any application, we are using cyber law to form a contract with the website or application, stating that we agree to its terms and conditions. Now, it has always been emphasized how we should read every word before signing any contract. The Agree button acts as a digital signature in the cyber world.

A hilarious but true, to some extent, example of such contract is depicted in an episode of the comedy show “South Park” where Kyle Broflovski is kidnapped for having agreed to the terms and conditions of the latest iTunes update, without reading them, and faces some pretty dire consequences. (HumancentiPad – Episode 01, Season 15)

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How safe is social media from cyber crimes?

Today, social media is the number one platform for various types of cyber crimes.

Anything we post on any social media, stays on the internet forever – nothing can be deleted permanently. Which means, any photo you post on instagram or facebook is something your great, great grandchildren will have access to, as well. Social media also helps all of us to stay connected with friends and family across the entire world. But since sharing things on the internet is free to all, the content that you share is also easily accessible to all. 

In the month of April, 2020, we heard about ‘Zoom’ app – once, a conferencing app; now, a social network – being hacked. This was an instance of cyber hacking. During an online teaching session on Zoom, the screen suddenly starts displaying pornographic images with an entire class of students and the teacher looking on at the display of such horror. It was detected, by the experts at US cyber security firm Cyble, that over 500,000 Zoom accounts had been hacked and their credentials put on sale on the dark web for as less as one rupee each and some accounts even for free.

A case of cyber bullying and cyber harassment came to light, recently. The case is commonly known as the “locker room incident”. Few screenshots of a private group were revealed on Instagram which showcased the remarks of the group members to be highly derogatory, sexist, misogynistic and abusive towards women. To add to the dismay of their words, in one certain screenshot, a minor was noted trying to plan a gang-rape of a girl. The entire incident was reported and a legal action was immediately taken, since the acts constituted offence under Sections 67
and 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Sections 465, 471, 506, 507 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The virtual world is a complete another world, in its own sense. Which is why, before entering a world where crime is on the rise, one needs to be aware of what they are signing up for – because, you will be, very literally, signing up for things on the internet. Read the terms and conditions before agreeing to any virtual contract. Check twice before posting anything on any social platform. Be careful of the words you use to interact with others on the internet. But most importantly, if you find yourself in any problematic or risky situation, seek help from the legal authorities. Trying to tackle few things by yourself can lead to extreme consequences – consequences which you cannot correct later on. Educate yourselves on the ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’, of the virtual world and be careful, stay safe! 

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