Data Theft in Organisations and Legal Issues
Data theft is defined in Section 43 (b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) as follows: “If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system of computer network, downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer database or information from such computer, computer system or computer network. It is the term used when any information in the form of data is illegally copied or taken from a business or other individual without his knowledge or consent.” 
 
In the era of information technology (IT), data is an important raw material for all businesses, including brick and mortar companies, business process outsourcing units, banking, media and IT companies. Data has become an important tool as well as a weapon for corporates to capture larger market share. Given its importance, data security has become a big concern for all businesses. Data theft and piracy are huge threats that are forcing companies to spend millions of rupees on data analytics. In many cases, the bottom-line of a business depends on the security of its data. A recent episode of the popular television series, Game of Thrones, had kindled a huge discussion on data theft. Let us look at some of the issues involved in data security
 
Mobility-related Issue: The problem with data theft is that it has no international borders. For example, a computer system may be accessed in the US, its data manipulated in China and the consequences of that action felt in India. The fact that cyber criminals can operate across different sovereignties, jurisdictions, laws and rules is an issue in itself. Collection of evidence, in such circumstances, is complex. It requires investigations to be conducted in three different countries which may not even be on talking terms with one another; poor technical know-how of our cops only adds to the woes. Lack of coordination between various investigating agencies and navigating the extradition process of various countries is another headache. The absence of specific laws to deal with the crime of data theft is, however, the biggest problem; it allows a culprit to get away by picking and choosing from various legal loopholes, even after being caught.
 
Our Data Protection Laws: Data theft has emerged as one of the major cyber crimes worldwide. India does not have specific laws to deal only with data protection, but we have the IT Act. Here are a few Sections of this Act that are significant. 
 
Section 43 (b) of the IT Act provides protection against unauthorised downloading, copying, extracting information, data or a database, by imposing heavy civil compensation which could run into crores of rupees. Section 43 (c) provides for compensation in case of unauthorised introduction of computer viruses or other contaminants. Clause (i) provides compensation for destroying, deleting or altering any information residing on a computer or diminishing its value.
 
Data is an intangible asset whose value could run into millions of dollars, but Section 43 does not quantify the compensation to be paid. Hence, a complainant is dependent on the mercy of our courts and the intelligence of his lawyer. 
 
Section 66 of the Act protects against data theft, while Section 72A deals with the punishment for disclosure of information in breach of a lawful contract. Both these Sections provide for a penalty that includes imprisonment of up to three years or fine of up to Rs5 lakh or both. In a recent judgement, Canara Bank Vs CS Shyam & Another, the Supreme Court (SC) held that service details of an employee also amount to ‘personal information’ and cannot be furnished even under the Right to Information Act. Similarly, in another case, it was held that an employer couldn’t use, or ask for, bank statements of an ex-employee. These two cases are an indicator of the rights of individuals, even before the recent SC upheld right to privacy as a fundamental right.  
 
So, the next time you plan to copy or download data from the computers or network of your friends, clients, teachers or employers, please remember that your actions can put you behind bars for up to three years. And you could lose even more, if a compensation claim suit is also filed in a civil court. Corporates, as victims of data theft, have the option of filing both, a civil and criminal case, simultaneously with injunction remedies. 
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    COMMENTS

    Vasudevan

    2 years ago

    All apps now ask complete accesss to your contacts. Is this a data protection violation, we are sharing a contact without approval from the owner of contact. Data protection and privacy a big theme which is take for granted now

    Google Maps: Comprehensive Accurate Maps in 222 nations
    I have tried many apps for maps but I always come back to Google Maps—very accurate and providing a host of features rarely matched by the other apps.
     
    Apart from turn by turn navigation, now Google Maps also takes voice commands—once in the driving mode, you can ask questions like: ‘What’s my next turn?’ ‘What’s my ETA?’ ‘How’s the traffic ahead?’ etc. You have the option to explore alternative routes, avoid tolls and highways and also set your favourite routes. And, in case you are visiting your favourite restaurant, you can even browse the menu and place orders before you reach there! Google Maps boasts comprehensive, accurate maps in 220 countries, over 15,000 cities and detailed business information on over 100 million places. No wonder. I keep coming back to Google Maps!
     
     
     
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    vinit

    2 years ago

    What is your opinion about ‘here we go ‘ maps?

    Call termination rate cut may deliver Rs5000 crore savings a year to Jio: Report
    The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has reduced call termination charges for mobile to mobile calls to six paise per minute from 14 paise. The telecom regulator also plans to phase out the interconnection usage charges (IUC) by 1 January 2020. This move will hit incumbent mobile operators, while helping Reliance Jio, the newest entrant, to save significantly, says a research report.
     
    In the report, Fitch Ratings says, "The financial performance of India's main incumbent telcos will be undermined by the regulator's plan to reduce the mobile termination rate (MTR) by 57% to 6 paise per minute with effect from October 2017 and to remove it completely by January 2020. In contrast, the move should bring significant cost-savings and lead to faster-than-expected EBITDA break-even for recent entrant Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries."
     
    Operators pay the MTR when one of their customers makes a voice call to a user on another network, with the fee going to the operator on which a call terminates. Operators with large subscriber bases tend to be net recipients of these interconnection fees. Bharti alone received about $75 million in interconnection revenue from Jio in April-June 2017. As per media reports, if the IUC is slashed by 6 paise per minute, on an annualised basis Jio will make a savings of about Rs5,000 crore. Airtel will make a loss of Rs2,000 crore, Vodafone Rs1,500 crore, Idea Rs1,200 crore, while Reliance Communications (RCom) and Aircel will benefit by about Rs250 crore each.
     
    According to Fitch Ratings, the move from TRAI will result in transfer of $500 million- $600 million per year from incumbent telcos to Jio. "We expect the MTR cut to reduce the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of the main incumbents - Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India - by 3%-6% in the financial year ending March 2018. This will place further pressure on these companies, which are already facing unprecedented competition from Jio," it added.
     
    Reflecting Jio's offer of free voice, text and data services for six months from September 2016 and its subsequent discounts and promotions to win subscribers, the telecom industry's average revenue per user (ARPU) has declined by 20%-22% in first quarter of FY2018. Most incumbents have lost subscriber market share to Jio during the last two quarters, with Bharti being the exception.
     
    Fitch Ratings, however, feels that the removal of MTR in 2020 will have a much smaller impact. It says, "Jio's net payment of interconnections fees to incumbents will fall as its subscriber base grows, and we believe asymmetry will be minimal by 2020. Indeed, Jio already had 98 million active subscribers at end-July 2017 - a 9.6% share. Moreover, overall voice revenue will continue to drop as a result of Jio free voice call offerings and the rising popularity of data-led 'over the top' (OTT) operators."
     
    Competitive pressures have encouraged consolidation, and three strong telcos have emerged from the shake-out - Bharti, Jio and the combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are due to merge. Jio's revenue market share is still low - around 4%-5% - as it has so far competed on an aggressive pricing strategy, but Fitch says it expect this to rise to more than 10% by 2018.
     
    "We maintain a negative outlook on the Indian telecoms sector, which reflects the broader pressures created by Jio's entry last year," the ratings agency says, adding, "Jio is likely to roll out other offers to increase its subscriber base over the next two years, and the incumbents are likely to continue to respond with price cuts, discounts and promotions of their own. As a result, industry-wide mobile blended average revenue per user is likely to fall to around Rs150 by March 2018, down 5% from March 2017."
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    Mahesh S Bhatt

    2 years ago

    Its a case study of global biggest startup with Government aiding Mahesh Bhatt

    Peter Menon

    2 years ago

    How can TRAI cut IUC unilaterally? It is an agreement that effects all Telecom operators and should be taken in Concert. How can they eliminate IUC altogether? Everywhere in the world, a Telco that delivers the call gets a share of the call revenues. Is this TRAI teaching telcos how to clap with one hand? If this was done to benefit JIO, it stinks and is one more proof of Modi's cosying up with his special Bhais :((

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