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Cyber Law and Ethical Issues



Information and communication Technology is growing at lightning speed and its demand is multiplied every year. Development of new technology facilitates greater access, transparency, comfort level and ease of operations. The technology brings lot of good things as well as equal amount of risks and challenges. Everyday, we read in the newspapers about the various cyber crimes, like credit card cloning (make copy), fraud mail, phishing, stalking, etc. Some of the youngsters involve in misusing the technology and get caught by the police authorities.

Information Technology is encapsulating all the aspects of life across the world. With the advent of computers as a basic tool of Communication, Information Processing, Information Storage, Physical Devices Control, etc., a whole new Cyber Society has come into existence. The Cyber society operates on a virtual world created by Technology. The use of the Internet is one of the most important development in the human history. Internet has opened up many opportunities for the world. With the increasing usage of Internet in the world, the criminals are also increasing in the field of information technology. The cyber criminals are able to use the software by creating it themselves and manipulating it for their own benefits.

Cyber Space 

The term cyberspace was first used by William Gibson in 1984. Now, the term has become a conventional means to describe anything associated with computers, information technology, the Internet and the diverse Internet culture. Cyberspace is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communications takes place. Cyberspace can be defined as the virtual space created by computer network, Internet and telecommunication. It is readily identified with the interconnected information technology required to achieve the wide range of system capabilities associated with the transport of communication and control products and services. The cyberspace includes: computer networks, Internet, websites, e-mail, software, data storage devices, electronic devices ( cell phones, ATM machines), etc.

Cyber Crime / Computer Crime

Cyber crime also known as Computer crime is criminal activity done using computers and the Internet. The most prominent form of cyber crime is identity thief, in which criminals use the Internet to steal personal information from other users. Two of the most common ways to do such crimes are phishing and pharming. Both of these methods attracts users to fake websites, where they are asked to enter personal information. This includes login information, such as usernames and passwords, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other information criminals can use to “steal” another person’s identity. Using illegally obtained data, the criminal can open accounts, tires are wide range of goods and services, and then abandon the accounts. This leaves the victim in the position of having to deal with huge debts that he or she cannot generate. Cybercrime also includes non-monetary offenses, such as creating and distributing viruses on other computers or posting confidential business information on the Internet. For this reason, it is better to always check the URL or Web address of a site to make sure it is legitimate before entering your personal information.

Some of the common cyber crime are:
▪ Software Piracy: 
Software piracy is the act of illegally using, copying or distributing software without purchasing the software or having the legal rights. The majority of software purchased today is purchased as a one-site license, that means only one computer may have that software installed on it at one time. Copying that software to multiple computers or sharing it with your friend without multiple licenses is illegal and considered as software piracy.

▪ Hacking:
Computer hacking is the practice of modifying computer hardware and software to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose. People who engage in computer hacking activities are often called hackers. Computer hacking is most common among teenagers and youth adults.

▪ Cracking:
Cracking is the process of breaking into copyrighted software or an information system with the intend of releasing software so that it can be used without paying royalties. Cracking is done by the persons known as cracker who steal the confidential data, acquire free access to perform the malicious destructions of files.

▪ Pornography: 
Pornography refers to the material that illustrate sexual behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement. In other word, Pornography is the explicit illustrate of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual satisfaction. Pornography on the Internet is available in different formats. These range from pictures and short animated movies, to sound files and stories. Internet also makes it possible to discuss sex, see live sex acts, and arrange sexual activities from computer screens.

▪ Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the act oftaking another person’s writing, conversation, song, or even idea and passing it of as own. This includes information from web pages, books, songs, television shows, email messages, interviews, articles, artworks or any other medium. It is not enough to just list the source in a bibliography at the end of the paper. Failing to properly quote, cite or acknowledge someone else’s words or ideas with an internal stating is plagiarism. 

▪ Harassment:
The harassment is any kind of behavior that is intended to upset, disturb, alarm or terrorize someone. The person carrying out the harassment might be a neighbor or groups of people living nearby, an ex-partner, family members or someone at work or school. It is the act of insulting, irritating the some one on the basis of gender, cast, religion, etc.

Cyber Law

In order to maintain harmony and co-existence of people in cyberspace, there is a need for a legal regime called as Cyber Law. Cyber Law is a term used to describe the legal issues related to the information technology, particularly Cyberspace. The growth of Cyberspace has resulted in the development of a new and highly specialized branch of law called cyber laws. Cyber Laws are the basic laws of a society and hence have implications on every aspect of the Cyber Society such as Governance, Business, Crimes, Entertainment, Information Delivery, Education etc.

The Cyber Law includes rules and regulations established to govern, prevent and resolve disputes that arise from the use of computers and the Internet. Cyber Law includes an ample variety of political and legal issues related to the Internet and other communication technology, intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression and public access to information. Proper cyber law must govern all the cyber activities.

Following are the areas covered by cyber law.
▪ Digital Signature Law:
A digital signature is the security mechanism system in the cyber space. It is a digital identity of the sender that uniquely identifies particular sender electronically. Digital signature is used in the Internet for the secure transaction. Digital signature using two different keys for authentication; one for creating a digital signature or transforming data into a seemingly unintelligible form (private key) and another key is used for verifying a digital signature or returning a message to its original form (public key).

▪ Copyright Law:
The copyright act prevents the unauthorized copy off of work of authorship. However only the copying of work is prohibited but anyone can copy the ideas contained within the work. For example: a copyright could cover the written description of the machine but actual machine itself is not covered. Thus no one could copy the written description, while anyone could use the description to build a described machine.

Copyright can be registered in copyright office but newly created work does not need to be registered. However, the copyright act does provide additional benefits to those who registered with the copyright office. But the copyright registration and the use of copyright notice is recommended.

▪ Trademark Law:
Trademark law governs the use of a device (including word, phrase, symbol, product shape and logo) by a manufacturer to identify its goods and to distinguish those goods from those made or sold by another. Service marks, which are used on services rather than goods, are also governed by trademark law. However to obtain the greatest protection to a mark, it is almost always advisable to register the mark. A mark which is registered in the registration office should use the symbol (®). Unregistered trademark should be marked with a (™).

▪ Telecommunication Law:
Development in telecommunication has been rapid since some years. Almost all people are using the facility provided in telecommunication tools to share message from one location to other, to transfer the database from one location to another in the form of electronic data. We can transmit voice calls concerning the important issues and many more. In such transmission of voice or messages over the telecommunication system, many leakages might be done by the criminals on the data. Therefore, the telecommunication system also falls within the territory of the cyber space and forms a part of the cyber law.

▪ Data Protection and Privacy Law:
People are using computers to store the valuable data and data for the purpose of transmission from one location to other location. Data protection is the process of securing data from various disasters. Data plate AC is the second year in data without sharing with anybody else. Data protection and privacy law prevents the data from unauthorized access and punishes the criminals who steal the private data.

Cyber Law of Nepal

The cyber law of Nepal was started from 2061 BS (2004), making a long discussion, after the approval from the cabinet. It is also known as Electronic Transaction and Digital Signature Act-2061. (The House of Representatives of the Government of Nepal approved the Electronic Transaction Act-2061 for the first time). Nepal has moved a step further in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the government has revised and promulgated Electronic Transaction Act-2063 to legalize all electronic transactions and digital signatures. National Information Technology Center (NITC) and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology are working in this field . The House of Representatives of the Government of Nepal approved the Electronic Transaction Act-2063 on December 4, 2006 and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology formulated the Regulations. The new legislation legalized all forms of electronic transaction and digital signatures. It has also clearly spelled out ways to regulate various computer-based activities and punish cyber crimes. The new legislation has set forth legal framework, administrative and application mechanism for electronic transaction and digital signature. Besides legal validity of electronic records and digital signature, the new Act has made a provision of Controller of Certification Authority (CCA).

The Act is divided into 12 sections and 80 clauses with detailed information on role and rights of regulator, certification authority, customer, government and all the concerned stakeholders. It has also established a separate judicial body -IT Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal, to look into all cases related to computer and cyber crimes. The 3-member tribunal will be headed by the district court judge or legal officer of equivalent status. The tribunal will be responsible for preliminary cases, while the appellate tribunal will look into major cases. The computer and cyber crimes such as hacking, piracy, copyright violation, fraudulent and all other deceitful activities have been clearly defined and punishments are set accordingly. The action against such crimes and punishment will be in the range of a minimum Rs 50,000 to a maximum Rs 3,00,000 in cash and six months to three years imprisonment.

The electronic transaction and digital signature is valid not only for the private sector but also for the government agencies. It allows the government offices to use electronic medium for tender notice, vacancy announcement and others. The new law would facilitate business process and transactions would be made simpler, easier, swift and cost effective. But there is a need of better infrastructure like telephone, Internet connectivity and electricity and so on for better yield from the application of ICT tools. 

Government agencies, government employees, business community and private employees, non-government professional organization and all citizens should be aware about the Law so that they can explore the opportunity out of that and also behave as guided in the regulations. Online Payment is another big issue in Nepal. We don’t have any Act, Law or regulations or government directives which allow to conduct legal online financial transaction. We cannot imagine ripping off the full benefit of Internet technology without online payment possibilities.

The cyber law Nepal as made the following provisions:
Introduction of digital signature for e-banking, e-shopping, e-ticketing etc.
Provision of licenses regarding the IT customers.
Provision of Judicial body. i.e. IT tribunal and appellate tribunal.
Provision of network services and others.
Provision of punishment of the cyber related criminal activities.

Computer Ethics 

Computer ethics can be defined as the set of moral principles that regulate the use of computers.
Computer ethics is a system of moral standards or values used as a guideline for computer users.

Each society forms a set of rules that establishes the boundaries of generally accepted behavior. Those rules are often expressed in statements about how people should be behave and they fit together to form the moral code by which a society lives. Ethics is the set of beliefs about right and wrong behavior. Ethical behavior conforms Who generally excepted social norms, many of which are almost universal. Virtues are habits that incline people to do what is acceptable and vices are habits of unacceptable behavior. People’s virtues and vices held define their value system the complex scheme of moral values by which they live.

Some common issues of computer ethics include intellectual property rights (such as copyrighted electronic content), privacy concerns and how computers affect society. For example, while it is easy to duplicate copyrighted electronic (digital) content, computer ethics would suggest that it is wrong to do without the author’s approval. And while it may be possible to access someone’s personal information on a computer system, computer ethics would advise that such an action is unethical.

The Commandments of Computer Ethics

Some commandments of computer ethics are as follows:
1. You shall not use a computer to harm other people.
2. You shall not interfere with other people’s work.
3. You shall not snoop around in other people’s computer files.
4. You shall not use a computer to steal privacy of other peoples.
5. You shall not use a computer to bear false witness.
6. You shall not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.
7. You shall not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
8. You shall not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
9. You shall think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
10. You shall always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.


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