Cyber Trespass

What is Cyber Trespass

Cyber TrespassThe word “trespass” in general means to enter into the other’s property without seeking consent. It is considered a civil wrong ordinarily. If the trespass is committed with criminal intention it is called criminal trespass. To protect an owner’s control over the property the trespass actions are stranded. The websites should also be considered a species of property. The concept of trespass is applicable in cases of the cyber world and may be termed as Cyber Trespass. The act of hacking by the hacker is of civil nature, but if the intention to harm or damage the system is proved, the liability is of penal nature.

The hacking may also result in other crimes mentioned in the Indian Penal Code 1860 apart from criminal trespass.  For example if a hacker hacks into the Information Technology Act tries to the website of a bank and transfers money into his account this may constitute a crime under Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. The act in the above case can also be termed as Cyber Theft. The Information Technology Act provides civil and penal consequences for hacking and other wrongful activities.

The technological development has given rise to gadgets like computers, laptops, tablets and other instruments which can also be a cause of rampant tort of Cyber Trespass. The computer is used as a tool for activities like email spoofing, cyber defamation and also used as a target like in the cases of unauthorized access, email bombing, Trojan attacks or sometimes for both. This is called cyber crimes.  It is difficult to eliminate cyber trespass from the cyber world; however it is quite possible to check them. The computer data may also contain personal information, so the hacker can also infringe one’s right to privacy guaranteed by Indian Constitution under Article 21.

The global connectivity is facilitated by internet having impact on few areas of tort.  There is trespass to property and persons in the cyber world like:-

Trespass to property

Cyber squatting, Software piracy, Infringement to database, contents of websites, Linking –deep and surface, File sharing etc.

Trespass to persons

Identity theft, Phishing, Cyber stalking, Spamming, Hacking, Cyber defamation, Cyber Libel

The negligent or intentional act causing injury to someone in some way is a tort. A cyber tort is a tort done over the cyberspace. Most of the persons are exposed to the dangers and damages caused by cyber tort since technology plays an important role in their lives.

cyber harassmentsThe examples of cyber torts are cyber harassments like cyber stalking, trespass to chattels like spyware, spam emails, conversion involves negligent or intentional stealing of domain names possessed by others. These types of cyber torts are issues that have impacted the society in a serious way in the present world. The Cyber torts are emerging areas that need special attention. Therefore, the act of unauthorized access itself constitutes a criminal offence regardless of reasons even if they were legitimate or no harm was intended.

In US, the SPY Act or Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act is one of the legislations regarding cyber trespass. The Act makes it unlawful for any person not the owner or authorized user of a protected computer to engage in unfair or deceptive practice in connection with specified conduct. This is explained under Section 2 of the SPY Act. A protected system means a computer exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the US government or computer used in interstate or foreign commerce, communications.

The deceptive or unfair usage includes

  • Taking unsolicited control of the computer
  • Modifying settings of the computer
  • Collecting PII –Personally Identifiable Information
  • Inducing the owner or authorized user to disclose PII
  • Inducting, inducing  unsolicited installation of computer software
  • Disabling or removing a security, anti spyware or antivirus technology
The Act makes with unlawful for the person to (Section 3)
  • Transmit to a protected computer any information collection program ( a program collecting PII i.e. Personally Identifiable Information and uses it to send advertising) unless such program provides notice required by this Act before downloading or installing any of the information collection program
  • Execute any collection information program installed on a protected system unless, before execution the user has consented to such execution under notice requirements of this Act
Exception is provided with respect to internet activity within a particular website when the information collected is sent only to the provider of the website accessed or Internet based search function. The various limitations and exceptions are covered under Section 5 of the said act. The Section 7 deals with the reports required.

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