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