IT Act 2000 and its amendments, Cybercrime and offences

03/12/2023 0 By indiafreenotes

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) is a comprehensive legislation in India that addresses various aspects of electronic commerce, digital signatures, and cybercrimes. Over the years, the Act has undergone amendments to keep pace with the evolving landscape of technology and cyber threats. Here is an overview of the IT Act, its amendments, and the cybercrimes and offenses it addresses:

Information Technology Act, 2000:


  1. Electronic Governance (Sections 3-10): Defines the legal recognition of electronic records, digital signatures, and the use of electronic forms for government services.
  2. Attribution, Acknowledgment, and Dispatch of Electronic Records (Sections 11-14): Lays down rules for determining the origin of electronic messages and acknowledgment of receipt.
  3. Secure Electronic Records and Digital Signatures (Sections 15-18): Establishes the legal framework for secure electronic records and digital signatures.
  4. Regulation of Certifying Authorities (Sections 19-35): Provides for the licensing and regulation of Certifying Authorities issuing digital signatures.
  5. Duty of Subscribers (Section 43A): Imposes a duty on body corporates to implement reasonable security practices to protect sensitive personal data.
  6. Penalties and Adjudication (Sections 43-48): Specifies penalties for unauthorized access, damage, disruption, and denial of access to computer systems.

Amendments to the IT Act:

  1. Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008:
  • Purpose: The 2008 amendment was introduced to address emerging challenges in cyberspace and strengthen cybersecurity.
  • Changes:
    • Introducing New Offenses (Sections 43 to 66): Expanded the list of offenses, including unauthorized interception, identity theft, and additional forms of computer-related offenses.
    • Data Protection and Privacy (Section 43A): Strengthened provisions related to data protection and privacy, imposing penalties for the negligent handling of sensitive personal data.
    • Cyber Appellate Tribunal (Sections 48A, 49): Established the Cyber Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against adjudication orders.
  1. Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2009:
  • Purpose: The 2009 amendment primarily addressed concerns related to cyberterrorism and unauthorized access to critical information infrastructure.
  • Changes:
    • Definition of Cyber Terrorism (Section 66F): Introduced the offense of cyberterrorism, prescribing severe penalties for activities that threaten the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country.

Cybercrimes and Offenses under the IT Act:

  1. Unauthorized Access and Hacking (Section 43):

  • Offense: Unauthorized access to computer systems, downloading, copying, or extracting data without permission.
  • Penalty: Compensation for damages and a fine.


  1. Data Theft (Section 43A):

  • Offense: Negligent handling of sensitive personal data resulting in wrongful loss or gain to any person.
  • Penalty: Compensation for damages.


  1. Identity Theft (Section 66C):

  • Offense: Fraudulently or dishonestly using another person’s identity.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Cyber Terrorism (Section 66F):

  • Offense: Acts that threaten the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country, or cause fear or panic among the public or any section of the public.
  • Penalty: Severe imprisonment terms, including life imprisonment.


  1. Obscenity in Electronic Communication (Section 67):

  • Offense: Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Unauthorized Interception (Section 69):

  • Offense: Intercepting, monitoring, or decrypting any information transmitted by any computer resource without authorization.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Breach of Confidentiality and Privacy (Section 72):

  • Offense: Breach of confidentiality and privacy by disclosing information without consent.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Publishing False Digital Signature Certificates (Section 73):

  • Offense: Knowingly publishing false digital signature certificates.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Cyber Fraud (Section 420, IPC):

  • Offense: Online fraud involving cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property or the making of a valuable security.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Tampering with Computer Source Documents (Section 65):

  • Offense: Tampering with computer source code with the intent to cause damage.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Publishing or Transmitting Material Containing Sexually Explicit Act (Section 67A):

  • Offense: Publishing or transmitting material that contains a sexually explicit act in electronic form.
  • Penalty: Imprisonment and fine.


  1. Child Pornography (Section 67B):

  • Offense: Creating, publishing, or transmitting material that involves explicit sexual conduct of minors.
  • Penalty: Severe imprisonment terms.


  1. Failure to Protect Sensitive Personal Data (Section 43A):

  • Offense: Negligent handling of sensitive personal data resulting in wrongful loss or gain to any person.
  • Penalty: Compensation for damages.

These provisions and amendments collectively empower law enforcement agencies to combat cybercrimes effectively and ensure legal consequences for individuals engaged in illegal activities in cyberspace. As technology continues to advance, the legal framework is expected to evolve to address emerging threats and challenges in the digital domain.