Cyber law

This article is written by Raslin Saluja, from KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar. This article focuses on the various aspects of societal impact created due to Cyber Laws.


With the rise and evolution of technology, we never know what is going to be the next thing for the future. Earlier, our horizons and boundaries were limited to the physical world we live in. Today, we have the internet and social media which are taking over all of us. Even the laws have matched the pace of time and now they have also progressed and become inclusive and accommodating of these unfolding dynamics. These developments have changed the way people work and interact. It has even become critical in the areas of economic activity underpinning many businesses and in general day to day functioning of society. Thus, in this article, we explore the social impact that Cyber Law has unleashed.

Role of Cyber Law

The law of the internet encompasses a legal framework designed to deal with the issues of Cyberspace. It identifies and recognizes the suitable standards for acceptable behaviour of various entities who are the information and communication technology (ICT) users. It establishes the guidelines for protecting its users and derives the socio-legal sanctions for unlawful practices with the aim of mitigating/preventing harm to the system, services, data, infrastructure, people, and specifically human rights. It facilitates investigations and inspections for the prosecution of online crimes beyond the geographical and physical boundaries of the world. It enables all the countries to come together and coordinate on matters of Cybercrime and regulate the matters of criminal justice in Cyberspace. It provides for the code of conduct for all internet users, computer and digital technologies, government powers and duties, various actions for the public and private organizations, rules of evidence and criminal procedure, and the general regulation of activities taking place online. Thus, it is an ever-evolving combination of substantive, procedural, and preventive law.

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For the offences committed in the digital platform, Cyber Law acts as a bulwark. Herein, either the computer system itself is a target or it is used as a means to commit a crime. These crimes could be committed against any individual, group of people, organization, or country with the intent to cause physical/mental/financial harassment. It could be through attacking a computer, targeting information and stealing data, disabling or damaging services, spreading viruses, leaking confidential information, or even corrupting the system. These digital crimes have been on an increase at alarming rates with frequent reports of phishing, ransomware attacks, email frauds, denial of services, hacking, banking fraud, and identity theft. Thus, in the present era when all our information is prone to Cyber threats, whose behaviour is a bit difficult to understand, and in turn restricts its prevention in the earlier phases of such attacks need proper analysis and understanding of their impacts in the various areas of the society.

Importance of Cyber Law

  • It keeps in check and regulates electronic governance.
  • Keeps track of all electronic data.
  • It encompasses the legal aspect of all the actions and their reactions taking place online.
  • It aids in combating illegal Cybercrimes by promoting due diligence.
  • It extends security for individuals, organization as well as government infrastructure, and critical information.
  • It constantly tracks all electronic transactions and activities taking place and ensures their protection and security.

Besides as of early 2021, around 4.66 Billion people use the internet, and that number increases by 7% annually. This also means that every single day almost 8,75,000 new users join in. This swift increase in the number of users projects an inevitable increase in Cybercrime and therefore it is important to develop Cyberspace that has a safe and secure environment for its users.

Overall impact over the organizations

Considering the rapid growth of technology, the internet has become a significant aspect of our everyday lives. Many companies too have adapted to continue their operations online. The government too, in order to reach more people and make the work more convenient, has started providing online services. These laws mainly impact the industries working in sensitive sectors like those of finance, banking, insurance, and telecommunications. Entities involved in these sectors had to reflect higher standards of Cybersecurity due to the intervention of the regulations and compliances and their commitment to keeping up with the international standards. Other areas like e-commerce, IT, and services enabled by the IT sector have also had to show preparedness due to the inflow of foreign direct investment as they have complied with their parent entities functioning abroad.

Another area that needs focus is digital payments as it has increased the phenomenon in the online spaces. To that end, the Reserve Bank of India has been working proactively requiring the companies dealing with the services to build secure authentication security mechanisms (such as 2FA authentication, EMV chips, PCI DSS compliance, and tokenization). Even the government has been cooperative in issuing consultative papers for feedback from the private sector to push the policy formulation for improved Cybersecurity laws and strategies to deal with complex matters like that of the National Cyber Security Strategy which would shed light on developing appropriate response mechanisms for the enhancement of the security measure in all the governmental as well as other sectors. The government has also provided some beneficial guidelines for both the private and public sectors to enhance their Cybersecurity measures. One among them is the Public Procurement Order 2018 for Cyber Security Products wherein the strategy was that the government agencies will prefer Cybersecurity products that will be procured from domestically manufactured entities.

Impact on the people

In a survey conducted among 1008 UK adults working for companies dealing with information technology devices, it revealed that at least 47% of the respondents have been the victims of Cybercrimes issues, followed by 16.5% having at least one social media account breached or defaced. As many as 43% of people believed it has been making their life harder and has made being productive challenging. The reliance on these services has made them more prone to virtual crimes and is likely to even convert into physical acts of crimes and terrorism.

This has also made people more concerned about taking preventive and protective measures, like following the statistics from the previously mentioned source, about 57% of people claim to have changed their passwords for websites and online services on a regular basis, 52% of people have taken steps to strengthen their anti-virus protection, 49% of people have started using PIN or password protection on their tablets and smartphones, 46% now avoid duplicating passwords across multiple sites and services, 28% of people, where supported, have activated two-factor authentication for logging in, and only six percent of people have done nothing to improve their online security.

Present scenario

Human beings are social beings who have now chosen to spend considerable time online in Cyberspace. As we become more and more dependent on the internet, the importance of Cyber Law is increasing in the day-to-day functioning of our society.

As long as self-policing mechanisms are not in place working effectively on their own, government interventions will be there. The idea is one cannot get carried away under the delusion that they can hide behind their screen under their cloak of anonymity and commit criminal activities. There are going to be electronic footprints and trails that would be used to track them for prosecuting for legal consequences. Thus this calls for due diligence on the part of the users to be very sure of the information they are letting online, to have repetitive revisions to avoid any potential undesirable legal consequences, and to be diligent in the actions they are taking. At this point in time, almost every internet user has one or more accounts on various social media platforms and that is why we must all adhere to certain precautions. It could be monitoring the information that we put online and decide how much information we want to share out in public or to a limited audience. People, in general, have become more conscious of the choices they make online. The control and choice over disclosure of the information are in the hands of the individual which allows them the freedom to identify their space. The existing laws have already outlined the specific human acts and involvement to cause potential breaches, beyond that it is upon us to analyze the long-term impact of our actions.

Even as the influencer and the OTT (over the top) culture is rising in India, the government has introduced new rules to regulate social media and OTT platforms. It mainly focuses on limiting and curbing the usage and propagation of hate speech on social media. It allows the influencers to block such accounts who continuously post filthy comments and allow them to address the grievances they faced online. The inappropriate messages and tweets to the first originator will also be under the supervision and tracked as per the government or a court order directed to that particular platform. The government has also made it clear that it will not encourage anything that could be a possible threat to national security. These rules also aim to prevent and control any misuse of personal content as well as obscene content.

Impact of COVID-19

Despite the implementation of stringent laws, the pandemic in the year 2020 reflected a drastic increase in the use of online payment portals which has, in turn, led to an increase in frauds. To that end, even the education and health sectors had also undergone severe attacks after the pandemic hit. Even the security breaches cases saw a hike of 500% that victimized many in India after the lockdown was announced. With all this increased activity and dependence on the usage of the internet, these crimes are bound to happen. At the very least one can prepare themselves to avoid being in such circumstances.

Recommended best practices

While it depends on various factors, individuals or organizations may choose to respond differently to any incident that took place. They could deploy detailed information security policy based on approval of the board or conduct regular monitoring over transactions, they could set up risk mitigation plans or conduct risk assessing programs. For companies, they could keep the stakeholders updated and allocate personnel to engage with regulatory authorities to deal with clients, service providers, etc. Depending on the sector, organizations can also reach out to ICERT and seek advice on incident recovery, containing the damage, and restoring their systems to operation. From time to time, ICERT also issues advisories on actions recommended for parties that have been affected by Cybersecurity incidents


The IT laws have made life simpler. To cover the bridge between the rapid technological innovation and the appropriate enactments we need to focus on human behaviour. This method would be the most reliable. We can minimize the potential threats of Cyber attacks or crime by just being consciously aware while using the internet and various other available platforms online. It is not very difficult to ensure our safety with very minimal effort. This might make people apprehensive of every action they take online however, in the backdrop of the evolving law, it is perhaps important to do so. People need to realize that at the end of the day, they are interacting with another person who happens to be behind the screens. The protection provided is only to safeguard and minimize the vulnerabilities to security threats which might have adverse consequences by unauthorized access, collection, alteration, mishandling, and disclosure of information.


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