Cyber crooks set to be treated like criminals soon
October, 15th 2007
Cyber criminals are up for more serious chastisement. They will no longer be able to exploit loopholes in the Information Technology Act, which requires law enforcement agencies to book criminals under different laws.
The government will soon make the IT Act of 2000 complete in itself by importing provisions from not only the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but also from other statutes like the Indian Evidence Act (IEA) of 1872 and the Code of Criminal Procedures (CCP) of 1973.
Inclusion of provisions in the Indian Evidence Act will give legal authority for the use of digital signatures under the prevailing cyber law itself. Sections 47, 67A, 85A, 85B and 85C of the IEA will be adopted, a department of information technology official said. Making fake digital signature certificates will now be a criminal offence and would attract harsher punishment.
While Section 47 and 67A of the IEA deal with matters related to proof of handwriting and signatures, Sections 85A, 85B and 85C deal with matters relating to authentication of digital signatures. The inclusion of these Sections will help law enforcement agencies as well as the judiciary.
If some document is sealed with digital signature, it can be opened only with the help of two codes, one of which is with the user and the other with the controller of certifying authority (CCA). The documents will not open unless the codes match as is the case in operating a bank locker, an expert on digital signatures said. Inclusion of these new Sections will also help in promoting the use of digital signatures, the DIT official said.
The department also proposes to include Sections 320 and 198A of the CCP in the IT Act to help enforcement agencies in treating cyber criminals like other criminals. Once the review of the IT Act of 2000 is over, the government will invite public comments before finalising the changes.