Information Technology Act, 2000 – Jurisprudence, Interpretation & General Laws Important Questions

Information Technology Act, 2000 – Jurisprudence, Interpretation & General Laws Important Questions

Question 1.
“The Information Technology Act, 2000 does not apply to certain documents or transactions”. Explain.
Or
Describe the documents or transactions to which the Information Technology Act, 2000 shall not apply. [Dec. 2019 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
The Information Technology Act, 2000 does not apply to the following documents or transactions:

  1. A negotiable instrument (other than a cheque) is defined in section 13 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
  2. A power-of-attorney is defined in section 1A of the Powers-of-Attorney Act, 1882.
  3. A trust is defined in section 3 of the Indian Trust Act, 1882.
  4. A will as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, including any other testamentary disposition by whatever name called.
  5. Any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property

Question 2.
Distinguish between: ‘Public key’ and ‘private key’. [June 2009 (4 Marks)]
Answer:

  • Private Key: Private key means the key of a key pair used to create a \ digital signature.
  • Public Key: Public key means the key of a key pair used to verify a digital signature and listed in the Digital Signature Certificate.
  • Key Pair: Key pair, in an asymmetric cryptosystem, means a private key and its mathematically related public key, which are so related that the public key can verify a digital signature created by the private key.

Question 3.
Distinguish between: Computer & Computer Network [June 2009 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Computer: Computer means any electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer ! in a computer system or computer network.

Computer Network: Computer network means the interconnection of one or more computers through

  • the use of satellite, microwave, terrestrial line, wire, wireless or other communication media and
  • terminals or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers whether or not the interconnection is continuously maintained.

Question 4.
Distinguish between: Electronic form’ and ‘electronic record’. [Dec 2010, 2014 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Electronic Form: Electronic form with reference to information means any information generated, sent, received or stored in media, magnetic, optical, 5 computer memory, microfilm, computer-generated micro fiche or similar device.

Electronic Record: Electronic record means data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received or sent in an electronic form or microfilm or computer generated microfiche.

Question 5.
Distinguish between: ‘Computer network’ and ‘computer system’ [June 2011 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Following are the main point of distinctions between computer network & computer system:

Points Computer Network Computer System
Meaning A computer network means the interconnection of one or more computers. A computer system means a device or collection of devices, including input and output support devices that contain computer programmes, electronic instructions, input data and output data, that performs logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions.
What it is A computer network is the interconnection of one or more computers. A computer system means a device or collection of devices including input and output support devices.
What it does Computer network helps to connect with other computer or computer systems. The computer system helps to process and analyze data with its input and output device.
Example Internet, intranet and extranet are examples of computer network. Desktop computer, laptop and other devices connected with it like a keyboard, speakers, the printer are together are known as a computer system.

Question 6.
Distinguish between: ‘Computer network’ and ‘computer system’. [Dec 2011 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Following are the main point of distinctions between computer network & computer system:

Points Computer Network Computer System
Meaning A computer network means the interconnection of one or more computers. A computer system means a device or collection of devices, including input and output support devices that contain computer programmes, electronic instructions, input data and output data, that performs logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions.
What it is A computer network is the interconnection of one or more computers. A computer system means a device or collection of devices including input and output support devices.
What it does Computer network helps to connect with other computer or computer systems. The computer system helps to process and analyze data with its input and output device.
Example Internet, intranet and extranet are examples of computer network. Desktop computer, laptop and other devices connected with it like keyboard, speakers, printer are together are known as computer system.

Question 7.
Distinguish between: ‘Public key’ and ‘private key’. [June 2012 (4 Marks)]
Answer:

  • Private Key: Private key means the key of a key pair used to create a \ digital signature.
  • Public Key: Public key means the key of a key pair used to verify a digital signature and listed in the Digital Signature Certificate.

Question 8.
Explain Digital signature. [Dec 2008 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Digital Signature means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.

Authentication of electronic records [Section 3]:

  1. Any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature.
  2. The authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of an asymmetric cryptosystem and hash function which envelopes and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record.
  3. Any person by the use of a public key of the subscriber can verify the electronic record.
  4. The private key and the public key are unique to the subscriber and constitute a functioning key pair.

Question 9.
Write a short note on E-governance [June 2009 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Provisions relating to ‘E-governance’ are contained in Sections 4 and 6 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Legal recognition of electronic records [Section 4]: Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such information or matter is:
(a) rendered or made available in an electronic form and
(b) accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.

Use of electronic records and digital signatures in Government and its agencies [Section 6]: Where any law provides for:

  1. The filing of any form, application or any other document with any of¬fice, authority, body or agency owned or controlled by the appropriate Government in a particular manner;
  2. The issue or grant of any licence, permit, sanction or approval by whatever name called in a particular manner;
  3. The receipt or payment of money in a particular manner, then, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such filing, issue, grant, receipt or payment, as the case may be, is effected by means of such electronic form as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

The appropriate Government may by rules prescribe:
(a) The manner and format in which such electronic records shall be filed, created or issued;
(b) The manner or method of payment of any fee or charges for filing, cre¬ation or issue any electronic record under clause (a).

In simple words, Section 6 states that – where any form or application is required to be filed with any authority then such form and application can be filed electronically.

For example, Income-tax Act, 1961 provides that every assessee having income more than the basic exemption limit has to file a return of income. Thus, if any person files his return electronically then it is equivalent to the filing of a physical return with the income tax department.

Question 10.
Write a short note on E-governance [June 2010 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Provisions relating to E-governance’ are contained in Sections 4 and 6 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Legal recognition of electronic records [Section 4]: Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such information or matter is:
(a) rendered or made available in an electronic form and
(b) accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.

Use of electronic records and digital signatures in Government and its agencies [Section 6]: Where any law provides for:

  1. The filing of any form, application or any other document with any of¬fice, authority, body or agency owned or controlled by the appropriate Government in a particular manner;
  2. The issue or grant of any licence, permit, sanction or approval by whatever name called in a particular manner;
  3. The receipt or payment of money in a particular manner, then, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such filing, issue, grant, receipt or payment, as the case may be, is effected by means of such electronic form as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

The appropriate Government may by rules prescribe:
(a) The manner and format in which such electronic records shall be filed, created or issued;
(b) The manner or method of payment of any fee or charges for filing, cre¬ation or issue any electronic record under clause (a).

In simple words, Section 6 states that – where any form or application is required to be filed with any authority then such form and application can be filed electronically.

For example, Income-tax Act, 1961 provides that every assessee having income more than the basic exemption limit has to file a return of income. Thus, if any person files his return electronically then it is equivalent to the filing of a physical return with the income tax department.

Question 11.
Explain: Digital signature [June 2012 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Digital Signature means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.

Authentication of electronic records [Section 3]:

  1. Any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature.
  2. The authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of an asymmetric cryptosystem and hash function which envelopes and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record.
  3. Any person by the use of a public key of the subscriber can verify the electronic record.
  4. The private key and the public key are unique to the subscriber and constitute a functioning key pair.

Question 12.
Discuss ‘Digital Signature’ and ‘Electronic Signature’ under the Information Technology Act, 2000. [Dec 2018(4 Marks)]
Answer:
Digital Signature: Digital signature means authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.

Electronic Signature: Digital signature is a subset of an electronic signature. The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, in order to maintain continuity with the regime of the digital signature has introduced the concept of ‘electronic signature’.

Examples of electronic signatures may include biometric signatures, passwords, PINs, encryption applications etc.

A subscriber may authenticate any electronic record by such electronic signature or electronic authentication technique which:
(a) is considered reliable and
(b) may be specified in the Second Schedule.

Question 13.
Who is the controller? What are the functions of the Controller as per the Information Technology Act, 2000? [June 2014 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Controller means the Controller of Certifying Authorities appointed under Section 17(1).
Appointment of Controller and other officers [Section 17]: The Central Government has the power to appoint a Controller of Certifying Authorities by issuing notification in the Official Gazette. Deputy & Assistant Controllers can also be appointed by the Central Government.

The Controller shall discharge his functions under the Act subject to the general control and directions of the Central Government.

Functions of Controller [Section 18]: Controller may perform following functions:

  • Exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities.
  • Certifying public keys of the Certifying Authorities.
  • Laying down the standards to be maintained by the Certifying Authorities.
  • Specifying the qualifications and experience which employees of the Certifying Authorities should possess.
  • Specifying the conditions subject to which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their business.

Specifying the contents of written, printed or visual materials and adver¬tisements that may be distributed or used in respect of a Digital Signature Certificate and the public key.

Specifying the friend content Certificate and the key.
Specifying the form-and-manner- in -which accounts shall be maintained by the Certifying Authorities.

Specifying the terms and conditions subject to which auditors may be appointed and the remureration to be paid to them.

  • Facilitating the establishment of any electronic system by a Certifying Authority either solely or jointly with other Certifying Authorities and regulation of such systems.
  • Specifying the manner in which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their dealings with the subscribers.
  • Resolving any conflict of interests between the Certifying Authorities and the subscribers.
  • Laying down the duties of the Certifying Authorities.
  • Maintaining a database containing the disclosure record of every Certifying Authority containing such particulars as may be specified by regulations, which shall be accessible to the public.
    Controller to act as repository [Section 20]: Omitted by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

Question 14.
Explain the duties of certifying authorities under the Information Technology Act, 2000 in respect of digital signatures. [June 2014 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Section 30 provides that every Certifying Authority shall follow certain procedures in respect of Digital Signatures.

Every Certifying Authority shall:

  1. Make use of hardware, software, and procedures that are secure from intrusion and misuse.
  2. Provide a reasonable level of reliability in its services that are reasonably suited to the performance of intended functions.
  3. Adhere to security procedures to ensure that the secrecy and privacy of the Electronic Signature are assured.
  4. Be the repository of all Electronic Signature Certificates issued under the Act.
  5. Publish information regarding its practices, Electronic Signature Certif¬icates and current status of such certificates.
  6. Observe such other standards as may be specified by regulations.

Question 15.
Under what conditions digital signatures may be revoked by the issuing authority? [Dec 2014 (2 Marks)]
Answer:
Revocation of the digital signature certificate [Section 38( 1) & (2)]: A Certifying Authority may revoke a digital signature certificate issued by it:

  • Where the subscriber or any other person authorized by him makes a request to that effect;
  • Upon the death of the subscriber;
  • Upon the dissolution of the firm or winding up of the company where the subscriber is a firm or a company.

A Certifying Authority may revoke a digital signature certificate that has been issued by it at any time if it is of opinion that:

  • A material fact represented in the digital signature certificate is false or has been concealed.
  • A requirement for the issuance of the digital signature certificate was not satisfied.
  • The certifying authority’s private key or security system was compro¬mised in a manner materially affecting the digital signature certificate’s reliability.
  • The subscriber has been declared insolvent or dead or where a subscriber is a firm or a company, which has been dissolved, wound-up or otherwise ceased to exist.

The opportunity of being heard before revocation [Section 38(3)]: A digital signature certificate shall not be revoked unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.

Communication to the subscriber on revocation [Section 38(4)]: On revocation of a digital signature certificate, the Certifying Authority shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

Question 16.
Under what conditions digital signatures may be suspended by the certifying authority? [June 2016 (3 Marks)]
Answer:
Suspension of the digital signature certificate [Section 37(1)]: The Certifying Authority which has issued a digital signature certificate may suspend such it:
(a) On receipt of a request to that effect from:

  1. The subscriber listed in the digital signature certificate or
  2. Any person duly authorized to act on behalf of that subscriber;

(b) If it is of opinion that the digital signature certificate should be suspended in the public interest.

The opportunity of being heard before suspension [Section 37(2)]: A digital signature certificate shall not be suspended for a period exceeding 15 days unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.

Communication to the subscriber on suspension [Section 37(3)]: On suspension of a digital signature certificate, the Certifying Authority shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

Question 17.
Describe the offence of ‘hacking’ with a computer system as provided under the Information Technology Act, 2000. [Dec 2008 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Hacking’ is a term used to describe the act of destroying or deleting or altering any information residing in a computer resource or diminishing its value or utility, or affecting it injuriously in spite of knowing that such action is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or that person.

As per Section 43(i) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, if any person without the permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network destroys, deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means then he shall be liable to pay compensation to the person so affected.

Computer Related Offences [Section 66]: If any person, dishonestly, or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43, he shall be punishable:

  • With imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or
  • With fine which may extend to ₹ 5 lakh or
  • With both.

Power to investigate offences [Section 78]: A police officer not below the rank of Inspector shall investigate any offence under the Act.

Thus, the offence of hacking is covered by Section 43(i) and the person committing the offence of hacking is liable to pay compensation to the person so affected by such offence. The person committing the offence of hacking can also be penalized as per Section 66 of the said Act.

Question 18.
Describe the offence of hacking the computer system as provided under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000. [June 2013 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Hacking’ is a term used to describe the act of destroying or deleting or altering any information residing in a computer resource or diminishing its value or utility, or affecting it injuriously in spite of knowing that such action is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or that person.

As per Section 43(i) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, if any person without the permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network destroys, deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means then he shall be liable to pay compensation to the person so affected.

Computer Related Offences [Section 66]: If any person, dishonestly, or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43, he shall be punishable:

  • With imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or
  • With fine which may extend to ₹ 5 lakh or
  • With both.

Power to investigate offences [Section 78]: A police officer not below the rank of Inspector shall investigate any offence under the Act.

Thus, the offence of hacking is covered by Section 43(i) and the person committing the offence of hacking is liable to pay compensation to the person so affected by such offence. The person committing the offence of hacking can also be penalized as per Section 66 of the said Act.

Question 19.
One morning, scientists at an atomic research centre found a rude nuclear message splashed across their computer screens. Someone had breached the atomic research centre’s advanced security system and sensitive e-mail. What offence has been committed in the atomic research centre? Decide with reference to the provisions of the relevant statute. [Dec 2012 (6 Marks)]
Answer:
Hacking’ is a term used to describe the act of destroying or deleting or altering any information residing in a computer resource or diminishing its value or utility, or affecting it injuriously in spite of knowing that such action is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or that person.

As per Section 43(i) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, if any person without the permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network destroys, deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means then he shall be liable to pay compensation to the person so affected.

Computer Related Offences [Section 66]: If any person, dishonestly, or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43, he shall be punishable:

  • With imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or
  • With fine which may extend to ₹ 5 lakh or
  • With both.

Power to investigate offences [Section 78]: A police officer not below the rank of Inspector shall investigate any offence under the Act.

Thus, the offence of hacking is covered by Section 43(i) and the person committing the offence of hacking is liable to pay compensation to the person so affected by such offence. The person committing the offence of hacking can also be penalized as per Section 66 of the said Act.

Question 20.
Explain: ‘Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal’ under the Information Technology Act, 2000 [June 2012 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Appellate Tribunal [Section 48]: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal established u/s 14 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 shall be the Appellate Tribunal for the purposes of the Act and the said Appellate Tribunal shall exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under the Act.

Due to amendment in the Information Technology Act, 2000 ‘Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal’do not exist. Now all the powers are transferred to Telecom

Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal established u/s 14 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997

Question 21.
What is the objective of establishing Appellate Tribunal under the Information Technology Act, 2000 [June 2015 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
1. The Appellate Tribunal has been established with the objective to listen to the appeal of any person aggrieved by the order of controller or adjudicating officer.

2. Appellate Tribunal exercises the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Thus, Appellate Tribunal acts as a forum to seek redressal.

Question 22.
What are the cyber offences under the Information Technology Act, 2000? [June 2009 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
The Information Technology Act, 2000; contemplates a dual scheme in regard to wrongful acts concerning computers etc. The certain act mentioned in Section 43 creates a liability to pay damages to the person affected by such acts.

Chapter XI, covering Sections 65 to 78 deals with offences relating to computers etc. and connected matters which are as follows:

  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Dishonestly or fraudulently doing any act referred to in section 43.
  • Sending offensive messages.
  • Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device
  • Identity theft
  • Cheating by personation by using computer resource.
  • Violation of privacy.
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually ex¬plicit act in electronic form.

All above offence liable to a penalty as described in respective sections. Such offences are punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.

Question 23.
What are ‘cyber offences’ under the Information Technology Act, 2000? [June 2010 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
The Information Technology Act, 2000; contemplates a dual scheme in regard to wrongful acts concerning computers etc. The certain act mentioned in Section 43 creates a liability to pay damages to the person affected by such acts.

Chapter XI, covering Sections 65 to 78 deals with offences relating to computers etc. and connected matters which are as follows:

  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Dishonestly or fraudulently doing any act referred to in section 43.
  • Sending offensive messages.
  • Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device
  • Identity theft
  • Cheating by personation by using computer resource.
  • Violation of privacy.
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually ex¬plicit act in electronic form.

All above offence liable to a penalty as described in respective sections. Such offences are punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.

Question 24.
What are ‘cyber offences’ under the Information Technology Act, 2000? [Dec 2010 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
The Information Technology Act, 2000; contemplates a dual scheme in regard to wrongful acts concerning computers etc. The certain act mentioned in Section 43 creates a liability to pay damages to the person affected by such acts.

Chapter XI, covering Sections 65 to 78 deals with offences relating to computers etc. and connected matters which are as follows:

  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Dishonestly or fraudulently doing any act referred to in section 43.
  • Sending offensive messages.
  • Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device
  • Identity theft
  • Cheating by personation by using computer resource.
  • Violation of privacy.
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually ex¬plicit act in electronic form.

All above offence liable to a penalty as described in respective sections. Such offences are punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.

Question 25.
List out various cyber offences under the Information Technology Act, 2000. [June 2014 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
The Information Technology Act, 2000; contemplates a dual scheme in regard to wrongful acts concerning computers etc. The certain act mentioned in Section 43 creates a liability to pay damages to the person affected by such acts.

Chapter XI, covering Sections 65 to 78 deals with offences relating to computers etc. and connected matters which are as follows:

  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Dishonestly or fraudulently doing any act referred to in section 43.
  • Sending offensive messages.
  • Dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device
  • Identity theft
  • Cheating by personation by using computer resource.
  • Violation of privacy.
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form
  • Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually ex¬plicit act in electronic form.

All above offence liable to a penalty as described in respective sections. Such offences are punishable by imprisonment or fine or both.

Question 26.
Discuss the liability of the Corporate body for data protection under the Information Technology Act, 2000. [Dec 2018 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
Compensation for failure to protect data [Section 43A]: Where a body corporate, possessing, dealing or handling any sensitive personal data or information in a computer resource which it owns, controls or operates, is negligent in implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices and procedures and thereby causes wrongful loss or wrongful gain to any person, such body corporate shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation to the person so affected.

Question 27.
If any person dishonestly or fraudulently does any act under section 43 J of Information Technology Act, 2000 without the permission of the owner or § any other person, who is in charge of a computer, computer system network, he shall be punished. What is the punishment for this offence? In brief, discuss the offences listed in The IT Act relating to computer and computer T system network. [June 2019 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
As per Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, if any person dishonestly or fraudulently does any act without the permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network then he shall be liable to pay compensation to the person so affected.

Computer Related Offences [Section 66]: If any person, dishonestly, or fraudulently, does any act referred to in Section 43, he shall be punishable:

  • With imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or
  • With fine which may extend to ₹ 5 lakh or
  • With both.

Question 28.
Liability of network service provider under section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Discuss. [Dec 2013 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
As per Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the network service provider is not liable if the offence was committed without his knowledge and he had taken care to prevent the commission of the offence.

The Internet system depends, for its working, on network service providers i.e. intermediaries. An “intermediary” with respect to any particular electronic message, means any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that message or provides any service with respect to that massage.

In his capacity as an intermediary, a network service provider may have to handle a matter which may contravene the Act. To avoid such a consequence, the Act declares that the network service provider shall not be liable “under this Act, rule or regulation made thereunder”, for any third party information or data made available by him, if he proves that the offence or contravention was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence or contravention.

Question 29.
Distinguish between: ‘Hacking’ and ‘passing off’ [June 2011 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
‘Hacking’ is a term used to describe the act of destroying or deleting or altering any information residing in a computer resource or diminishing its value or utility, or affecting it injuriously in spite of knowing that such action is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or that person.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 does not contain a specific provision, declaring illegal any fraudulent use, by one person, or another person’s domain name. However, even in the absence of specific legislation on the subject, such conduct can become actionable under the law of torts. In fact, judicial decisions, both in India and elsewhere, amply demonstrate the potency of the law of torts in this context.

The tort of “passing off” is wide enough to afford legal redress (in damages) to a person who is the holder of a particular domain name and who suffers harm as a result of the fraudulent use of his domain name by another person. Such conduct has been regarded as falling under | the tort of “passing off”. The crux of the action of the passing of lies is actual or possible or probable deception.

The principles relating to “passing off” were held to be applicable to domain names in Rediff Communication Limited v Cyberbooth & Another.

The domain name ‘Rediff’ (of the plaintiff) and the domain name ‘Radiff’ (of the defendant) were held to be deceptively similar and capable of causing deception, as the fields of business activity of both the parties were similar. The grant of a temporary injunction, restraining the defendant from using the name in question, was held to be proper.

Question 30.
The majority of legal problems in information technology related to the machine, the medium and the message. Discuss. [Dec 2012 (4 Marks)]
Answer:
It is true that the majority of the legal problems arising in the sphere of information technology relate to the machine, the medium and the message.

  • Machine: This includes the hardware used to send the message, data and information. If these are not secured by some means like password etc.
    the data, message and information contained in it are likely to be tampered with, stolen or damaged.
  • Message: There are copyright and hacking issues. Different countries ad¬dress such type of issue differently, so there is less chance that dispute will be properly addressed.
  • Medium: The medium through which data, message, documents or information is being sent must be properly secured otherwise such data, message, documents or information can be easily stolen or hacked.

Jurisprudence, Interpretation & General Laws Questions and Answers

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