Privacy Issues in Cyberspace

As more and more internet users surf the internet and post their personal information; in the form of educational qualification, marital status, private selfies, videos, family photos, hobbies and interests, online on social media networking websites are easily accessible to the general public. This led to the scam of loss of personal data such as the KOOBFACE. KOOBFACE is a malicious malware and composed of various components, each with specific functionalities.

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is any criminal activity in which a computer or network is the source, target or tool or place of crime.

  • According to The Cambridge English Dictionary, cyber crimes are the crimes committed with the use of computers or relating to computers, especially through the internet. Crimes which involve use of information or usage of electronic means in furtherance of crime are covered under the ambit of cybercrime. Cyberspace crimes may be committed against persons, property, government and society at large.

The Information and Communication Technology acts as an inexpensive and abundant fuel, for ‘Digital Society’ which is global in nature, deeply innovative and dependent on the “Internet Revolution”.

  • The explosive growth of hi-tech Computer Science technology and its capacity to gather, store and process copious amounts of personal information has posed grave security threats to vital national infrastructure.

  • This sensitive and seemingly intractable problem of virtually unrestricted internet freedom has compelled to rethink the privacy parameters in the cyber world.

The common cyber threats are

  • Hacking

  • Corporate Espionage

  • Cyber Pornography

  • Spamming

  • Cyber Stalking

Categories of Cybercrime

Cyber crimes can be classified into the following different categories −

Crimes Against Persons

  • Harassment via E-Mails − Harassment through sending letters, attachments of files & folders i.e. via e-mails. At present harassment is common as usage of social sites i.e. Orkut, hangout, zapak, Facebook, Twitter etc. increasing day by day.

  • Cracking − It is amongst the gravest cyber crimes known till date. In this a cyber criminal broke into your computer systems without your knowledge and consent and Tampere with your precious confidential data and information.

  • Cyber-Stalking − It means expressed or implied a physical threat that creates fear through the use to computer technology such as internet, e-mail, phones, text messages, webcam, websites or videos.

  • Hacking − It means unauthorized control/access over computer system and act of hacking completely destroys the whole data as well as computer program. Hackers usually hacks telecommunication and mobile network.

  • Assault by Threat − it refers to threatening a person with fear for their lives or lives of their families through the use of a computer network i.e. E-mail, videos or phones.

Crimes Against Persons Property

As a result of rapid growth in the international trade where businesses and consumers are increasingly using computers to create, transmit and to store information in the electronic form instead of traditional paper documents there are some of the offenses which affect person’s property −

  • Intellectual Property Crimes − Any unlawful act by which the owner is deprived completely or partially of his rights is an offense. The common form of IPR violation may be said to be software piracy, infringement of copyright, trademark, patents, designs and service mark violation, theft of computer source code, etc.

  • Cybersquatting − It means where two persons claim for the same Domain Name either by claiming that they had registered the name first on by right of using it before the other or using something similar to that previously. For example two similar names i.e.

Cyber Crimes Against Government

There are certain offenses done by group of persons intending to threaten the international governments by using internet facilities −

  • Cyber Terrorism − Cyber terrorism is a major burning issue in the domestic as well as global concern. The common form of these terrorist attacks on the Internet is by distributed denial of service attacks, hate websites and hate e-mails, attacks on sensitive computer networks etc. Cyber terrorism activities endanger the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

  • Cyber Warfare − It refers to politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage. It is a form of information warfare sometimes seen as analogous to conventional warfare although this analogy is controversial for both its accuracy and its political motivation.

Cybercrimes Against Society at Large

An unlawful act done with the intention of causing harm to the cyberspace will affect large number of persons −

  • Child Pornography − It involves the use of computer networks to create, distribute, or access materials that sexually exploit underage children. It also includes activities concerning indecent exposure and obscenity.

  • Cyber Trafficking − It may be trafficking in drugs, human beings, arms weapons etc. which affects large number of persons. Trafficking in the cyberspace is also a gravest crime.

  • Online Gambling − Online fraud and cheating is one of the most lucrative businesses that are growing today in the cyberspace. There are many cases that have come to light are those pertaining to credit card crimes, contractual crimes, offering jobs, etc.

Development on Cyber Crime

Cyber Crime is neither defined in the IT Act 2000 nor in the I.T. Amendment Act 2008 nor in any other legislation in India. To put it in simple terms ‘any offense or crime in which a computer is used is a cybercrime’. Interestingly even a petty offense like stealing or pick-pocket can be brought within the broader purview of cybercrime if the basic data or aid to such an offense is a computer or information stored in a computer used (or misused) by the fraudster.

  • Cyber crimes also includes criminal activities done with the use of computers which further perpetuates crimes i.e. financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, pornography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, e-mail, spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, cyberstalking, unauthorized access to Computer system, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, physically damaging the computer system etc.

  • In a cybercrime, computer or the data itself is the target or the object of offense or a tool in committing some other offense, providing the necessary inputs for that offense. All such acts of crime will come under the broader definition of cybercrime.

Need for Cyber Laws

Information technology has spread throughout the world. As the user of cyberspace grows increasingly diverse and the range of online interaction expands, there is expansion in the cyber crimes i.e. breach of online contracts, perpetration of online torts and crimes etc.

  • Due to the consequences, there was need to adopt a strict law by the cyberspace authority to regulate criminal activities relating to cyber and to provide better administration of justice to the victim of cybercrime. In the modern cyber technology world it is very much necessary to regulate cyber crimes and most importantly cyber law should be made stricter in the case of cyber terrorism and hackers.

  • Cyber law, it is a term that encapsulates the legal issues related to use of communicative, transactional, and distributive aspects of networked information devices and technologies. It is less a distinct field of law than property or contract law, as it is a domain covering many areas of law and regulation. IT Law is a set of recent legal enactments, currently in existence in several countries, which governs the process and dissemination of information digitally.


Around the globe, cybersecurity has taken a new urgency as the digital economy has matured over the past decade. Moreover, the importance of cybersecurity endures to expand each day with the emergence of a modern wave of cyber-physical systems that constitute up the ‘Internet of Things’; that embrace wearables, “smart” devices for the home, autonomous vehicles, and unmanned aerial systems (also known as drones).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is privacy issues in cyberspace?

Ans. A person's right to privacy is wholly violated when someone's private property is hacked or when someone's creative work is stolen. Although the "right to privacy" is protected by the IPC, the Indian Constitution does not clearly list it as one of the essential rights granted to Indian citizens.

Q2. What is right to privacy in cyberspace?

Ans. Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act, 1948, which states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attack upon his honor and reputation," also recognizes the right to privacy as a fundamental human right.

Q3. What is right to privacy in cyber space in India?

Ans. The unlawful sharing of personal information by a person who received it through a legal contract without the authorization of the person from whom it was obtained or was taken is punishable under Section 72A of the IT Act. In addition, the IT Act includes provisions for data security.

Q4. What is the importance of privacy in cyber security?

Ans. Data privacy is also important because in order for individuals to be willing to engage online, they have to trust that their personal data will be handled with care. Organizations use data protection practices to demonstrate to their customers and users that they can be trusted with their personal data.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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