Legal action against hackers and data theft
Lawyers at VakilSearch tell you more
As entrepreneurs in the digital world, a threat we all face is of our data and information being hacked into. We live with the constant threat everyday that someone may get access to our business data by hacking into our computers or using your Wi-fi networks. While most of these can be easily and cheaply secured, a question we get asked a lot is what legal action can be taken against a hacker.
More specifically, Does the Indian law protect us like the law in developed nations does?
What action can we take against data theft?
To begin with, it is reassuring to know that our law actually does protect us. The Information Technology Act contains two sections relevant to us. We have decided to extract the sections here because it is important that we all know what the law says:
Section 43 of the Information Technology Act: Penalty for damage to computer, computer system, etc.-
If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network- accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium.
Introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any computer, computer system or computer network;
Damages or causes to be damaged and computer, computer system or computer network, data, computer database or any other programmes residing in such computer, computer system or computer network;
Disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;
Denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorised to access any computer, computer system or computer network by any means;
Provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder;
charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system or compute network he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding one crore rupees to the person so affected.
Section 66 of the Information Technology Act: Hacking with Computer System -
(1) Whoever with the intent of cause or knowing that is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hacking.
(2) Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
Conclusion: Therefore, contrary to public perception, there is a lot that we in India can do. If you suffer from hacking or data theft, immediately file a complaint under both these Sections before the cyber-crime authorities in your city. You can find the address of the cyber-crime authorities in your city online. Remember to prepare and file the complaint under Section 43 and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Although the fine of Rs. 1 crore is quite substantial, in reality Indian courts are unwilling to grant high compensations, so be prepared for a much lower quantum of compensation in practice.
VakilSearch is India’s leading online legal services provider for businesses and individuals. As the official partner of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and knowledge contributor to Sulekha.com, the Hindu Business Line, Entrepreneur Magazine and the All India Rubber Association, VakilSearch reaches out to thousands of businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals on a regular basis. So when you visit vakilsearch.com, you can be assured of quality legal guidance and comprehensive documentation for your business and personal needs, at affordable prices.