• The Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”) and rules made thereunder contain several provisions for safeguarding users in the cyberspace.
  • The IT Act penalises various cybercrimes relating to computer resources, including dishonestly or fraudulently accessing a computer resource without the permission.
  • Each such cybercrime is punishable with imprisonment for a period that may extend to either three years or five years, and as per section 77B of the IT Act such cybercrimes are cognizable offences.
  • These cybercrimes are in addition to various cognizable offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, such as the cognizable offence of stalking using electronic communication (section 354D).
  • As per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, prevention and investigation of cognizable offences is to be done by the police.
  • As per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, ‘Police’ is a State subject and, as such, States are primarily responsible for the prevention, investigation etc. of such cybercrimes through the State police departments,

which take preventive and penal action as per law, including in respect of cybercrimes against women and hacking of their social media accounts.

  1. To help make cyberspace safe, trusted and accountable, the Central Government, in exercise of powers conferred by the IT Act, has made the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which require intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to observe, among others, diligence as under:
  2. To publish on their website and app, their rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement;
  3. To inform the said rules to their users and to make reasonable efforts to cause the users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share, among others, information which belongs to another person, or is obscene, or is invasive of another’s privacy, or is insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, or is racially or ethnically objectionable, or encourages money laundering, or promotes enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or caste with the intent to incite violence, or is harmful to child, or infringes intellectual property rights, or impersonates another person, or threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India or public order, or prevents investigation, or violates any law;
  4. Upon receipt of an order from a lawfully authorised government agency, to provide information or assistance for prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution under law, or for cyber security incidents;
  5. To have in place a grievance redressal machinery, and resolve complaints of violation of the rules within 72 hours of being reported;


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