The Firewall

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By M.C. Linthoingambee
Technology is a versatile art form which keeps on changing daily. Today, the limitless world of the internet gives reality a virtual interface. I remember those times when we had to go searching for a telephone booth to make a single phone call. Today, there exists a serious communication gap between the elderly and technology. My father though is one of those fast learners who went and took computer lessons and taught me everything he knew. On the other hand, my grandparents just know how to press the green and the red button to receive and end a phone call. Generations have changed; I was one of those lucky kids who actually went out to play games in the park and returned to my mother preparing dinner. Today, the same ideas are no longer valid as children stick to watching television, and stare long hours at the computer screen playing games they are even allowed access to the virtual reality making them susceptible to an equitable balance of a technology threat. There are always these dilemmas which follow a set of social changes.

A new buzz round the block is the creation of the Cyber Law. Like the physical world, the internet is no safe place thanks to the no good doers. There are innumerable and increasing rate of cyber crimes increasing with the countdown being no less than every second, every minute, every hour. The world has felt the need to tackle this boundless subject of cyber space where there exist no geographical boundaries. Since, one can become anonymous on the Internet, the no good doers go unpunished. The world has taken this into due consideration and with it came the notions and push for cyber laws. Cyber Law is a baby law which has hardly come of age to compete with the other grandfather laws like the Constitution. But, it is an ever changing and fast growing set of rules and regulations. It includes the dealing of various abstraction and goes on to tackle and protect the ideas of copyright, patent, evidence, money banking, e-commerce, e-governance, etc. In India, Cyber Law exists mainly through the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 is one of the fastest growing legislation tackling social changes bringing certain amendments to conventional laws like the Indian Evidence Act, 1872; the Criminal Procedural Code, 1973; Indian Penal Code, 1860 and more to increase the scope of including e-evidence that is, evidence in the electronic medium. In a famous case of State of Maharashtra v. Praful B Desai, E-evidence was even accepted wherein evidence given through “video conferencing” by a doctor from abroad was given valid confidence in the open court to help decide the faith of a trial. These advancements also help achieve the process of achieving the power of serving justice equally through the approach of new media in the blink of an eye. And not to forget the recent possibility of equating the contracts made online to have the same legal validity as of those contracts which have been done in a physical manner of meeting of two people. If a person living in Manipur could not go to Delhi to talk terms of a contract, let me assure you a contract made online with the correct provisions and procedure of law by those person living in these places is both legally binding and so, enforceable.

This approach to Cyber Law extends to the whole of the territory of Union of India and it can also call on for extradition clause for those who has committed any cyber crime connected to a computer, computer system or computer network linked to India. So, I give an evil laughter in deterring there is no escape and in saying, “You can run but you cannot hide”. Since there are occurrences of many anonymous in the virtual world, this law has scope for the legal recognition of a digital signature, digital records where a Certifying Authority certifies a signature or a record in the electronic medium to identify the purpose of credibility.

Since we cannot directly approach and shake hands with the Prime Minister or the President or any other public figure until an opportunity permits, this law has also enhanced the scope of advancing accountability, reliability, responsibility, transparency towards them while they reach out to their own citizens. There comes the existence of a two way communication. Now, we can even come to know of what goes on in and around these speculations. So, if you are a celebrity fan and wish to pass on a message, the virtual world has offered us with these boundless culture to do as one pleases. But we must be wise enough not to contend beyond limits as we may also encroach upon their private rights of individuality. These is where the penalties steps in giving way and possibility for the Cyber Appellate Tribunal to try cases under their reign within the limits of those pecuniary amounts and put you behind bars. It also defines certain clauses of a series of offences which is common of the virtual community. Speaking of which, cyber stalking, hacking, online defamation, display of obscene matters in the virtual media, etc. finds way in the listings.

Pornography is one of those commonly attributed crime or no-crime which knocks on our doorsteps. The idea of censorship marks them in view of their virtual interface into A, UA, etc. The idea is neutral but the digital medium plays an uncommon role of advancing a woman’s virginal claim as a public display. These I truly emphasize, must be contained to a certain limit. Although there is no specific clause to deal within the matters, the test of obscenity is put into action within the expressly provided sections of the legislation. And a piece of advice is to be alert when you go to a trial room in departmental stores etc where hidden bugs can be and been found to be attached. Seize your rights and fight for your claims as we live by upholding our dignity each day. What is of pure disgust during our academic recourse of studying is how to tackle the live audience to Child Pornography which is purely beyond our self conscience. We must look into what is to be and not to be done.

We live in a questionable time, don’t we? Our parents get worried when we go beyond our curfew hours and return home late. Perseverance is what holds the bits and pieces of the society therefore, keeping all the above factors intact, we can only advance more further beyond these limitless boundaries if and only if, we save and serve each other. There is no existing and functioning of any Cyber Tribunals in the State of Manipur as of now. But the future may hold me wrong, for it shall come into view someday.

(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)

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