Is there any aspect of our day-to-day life, work, and recreation which is yet to be driven by the Internet and related technologies? From constantly texting on WhatsApp to googling about anything and everything, from learning to cook a dish on YouTube to making banking transactions – we need the Internet.

If that is so, could we expect the crooked minds among us to stay behind? It’s obvious that there would be crime committed on the Internet. So, to prevent such crime and to prosecute the wrongdoers, we need the cyber laws.

Yes, we need it, and how! Look at the exponential growth in the number of Internet users in India over the last few years. From about 260 million in 2015, the number had grown to 525 million in 2019. That’s a cool double of the numbers in 4 years! The number is projected to grow to over 665 million by the year 2023! And this number could be much more if internet connectivity gets better across the country (1 million = 10,00,000)


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Why do we need Cyber Laws?

It’s a more the merrier scenario for the people with inappropriate motives and a criminal mindset. The more the usage of the Internet, the more will be the propensity of the people with inappropriate and criminal motives to commit an unlawful activity over the Internet.

Do you know that a survey showed that as much as Rs. 1.2 trillion were stolen from Indians by the cyber criminals in 2019 (1.2 trillion = 1,200,000,000,000)? That’s a cool 1.2 lac crore in Indian Rupees!

What are the major risks of cybercrimes? Plenty. Here is a short list:

  • Hacking and unauthorized access to mobile phones, computers, servers, and other computing devices
  • Identity theft including biometric data (data on your iris, fingerprints, etc.)
  • Date theft (contacts in your phone, images, videos, passwords, important documents, emails, bank transaction history, etc.)
  • Credit card fraud and other banking fraud such as unauthorized withdrawal of money
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Industrial espionage
  • Developing and spreading malware and viruses
  • Spamming
  • Copyright and trademark violations
  • Pornography and child pornography

This is just a short list. There is much more to know about the types of cybercrime. So, we need to have appropriate surveillance, intelligence, and policing mechanisms along with stringent cyber laws to prevent cyber crimes and prosecute people who commit such crimes.

What are Cyber Laws?

Cyber Laws are enacted with the purpose of prevention and prosecution of any crime committed using any information technology, tools, or methods that require a computer, mobile phone, or any other computing devices. Cyber Laws safeguard us from all the malicious intent and the misuse of the Internet.

In India, cyber laws come under the purview of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, it’s amendments in 2008, and all the rules that are related to the Act. As such there is no law marked as cyber law under this Act, but various provisions under this Act provide for the prevention and prosecution of cybercrimes. For example, the IT Act covers:

  • All computer related offences
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Breach of privacy
  • Data and identity protection and breach of these
  • Unauthorised access to computers and data
  • Offensive messages sent through the internet/other digital communication systems and by using a computer or similar device
  • Damage to computer systems (includes hardware and software)
  • Publication of any materials for fraudulent purposes
  • Publishing of pornographic materials including child pornography
  • All other aspects under the definition of cyber laws given above
Cyber Lawyer
Figure 1: Cyber Law

How to become a Cyber Lawyer?

Look at a step-by-step guide to become a Cyber Lawyer:

Step 1:

Either do your 10+2 studies in any stream with any subjects OR in science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics / with Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology or any other science subjects.

Step 2:

Appear for the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) conducted by The Consortium of National Law Universities and take admission to:

Option i) 5-year integrated B.A. LL.B. / B.Com. LL.B. / B.B.A. LL.B. if you have completed 10+2 in any stream (you may specialize in Cyber Law)

OR

Option ii) 5-year integrated B.Sc. LL.B. if you have completed 10+2 in Science stream (you may specialise in Cyber Law)

OR

Option iii) Appear for a university entrance examination of any university which offers admission to a 6-year integrated B.Tech. in Computer Science & Engineering with LL.B. degree and a specialisation in Cyber Laws if you have completed 10+2 in Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

OR

Option iv) Complete a 3 or 4-year graduation degree in any subject AND then do a 3-year LL.B. from a law institute. However, not many 3-year LL.B. courses are offered in India nowadays.

Step 3:

After completion of B.A. LL.B. / B.Com. LL.B. / B.B.A. LL.B. / B.Sc. LL.B., / B.Tech. LL.B., / LL.B., register yourself with a State Bar Council of India and find an opportunity to work as a Junior Lawyer under a Senior Lawyer or with a Law firm that deals with Cyber Laws.

Then qualify in the All India Bar Examination to be able to practice law in India. This is mandatory to become a Lawyer in India and that includes Cyber Lawyer.

If you do not find any work opportunity after your graduation in Law, you should still appear for the All India Bar Examination. This will make you eligible to practice Cyber Law independently.

Step 4:

Options i) Specialise in Cyber Law by Practice: Use opportunities that you may get to work as a Junior Lawyer under the guidance of a Senior Lawyer who specializes in Cyber Law or in a Law Firm which practices Cyber Law. Your practice experience can make you an independent practicing Cyber Lawyer or a Senior Cyber Lawyer in a Law Firm over the years.

OR

Option ii) Study Cyber Law in Post-Graduation level along with Practice: Along with your work as described under Option i above, you can obtain a Post Graduate Diploma or a Certificate in Cyber Law. You can do such courses with reading materials, online classes, and contact seminar classes. NALSAR offers one such course. With such qualification and with practice experience, you can become a Cyber Lawyer.

OR

Option iii) Do an LL.M. or PG Diploma with a specialization in Cyber Law: Instead of starting to work as described under Option i above, you can first obtain an LL.M. degree with a specialization in Cyber Law or a PG Diploma in Cyber Law.

The duration of these courses is 1-year. After completing LL.M. in Cyber Law or a PG Diploma in Cyber Law, you may look for a work opportunity in a Law Firm or with a Senior Lawyer who practices Cyber Laws. Then with practice experience, you can become a specialist Cyber Lawyer.

How to become a Cyber Lawyer
Figure 2: How to become a Cyber Lawyer

Top 20 Law Schools in India for 5-year Integrated LL.B. Courses and other Law Courses

  1. National Law School of India University Bangalore
  2. National Law University Delhi
  3. Nalsar University of Law Hyderabad
  4. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences Kolkata
  5. National Law University Jodhpur
  6. Symbiosis Law School Pune
  7. Jindal Global Law School
  8. Gujarat National Law University Gandhinagar
  9. The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Patiala
  10. National Law Institute University Bhopal
  11. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University Lucknow
  12. National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
  13. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
  14. The Indian Law Institute Delhi
  15. Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam
  16. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, Haryana
  17. Faculty of Law, Delhi University
  18. Chanakya National Law University, Patna
  19. Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
  20. National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi

Top 5 Law Schools in India which offer Cyber Law Courses

  1. Nalsar University of Law Hyderabad
  2. National Law Institute University Bhopal
  3. The Indian Law Institute Delhi
  4. New Law College Pune (Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed University)
  5. Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science Delhi

A Career as a Cyber Lawyer

After your graduation degree in Law or a postgraduate degree or diploma in Cyber Law, you may get a job with:

  • As a Junior Lawyer with a Senior Lawyer who practices Cyber Law
  • As a Junior Lawyer/ Associate with a Law Firm which practice Cyber Law

Remember that after your graduate degree in Law, you must register with a State Bar Council and then qualify in the All India Bar Examination (AIBE). These are mandatory to practice as an independent Lawyer in India including practice as a Cyber Lawyer.

After a few years of practice experience in Cyber Law (5-10 years or more), you also get a job with:

  • Any large-scale organization in their legal department
  • IT organizations in their legal department
  • Police / Intelligence services / Cyber Forensic Services with a State Government or Government of India as a Legal Advisor or in a similar position

Conclusion

The use of the Internet is growing by leaps and bounds. There is hardly any aspect of our living and work in which we do not use the Internet. With the rise in the Internet usage, cyber crimes are also increasing at an alarming rate. To protect common citizens, organisations, and Governments from cybercrimes, we need a very large number of Cyber Lawyers. So, there is a bright future in this field.

However, how do you know whether this is the right field for you? Do you have the aptitudes, interests, and personality to become a Lawyer and then a Cyber Lawyer? You need to be technologically savvy to become a Cyber Lawyer. Do you know which skills and knowledge are essentials to become a Cyber Lawyer? To get answers to all these questions, you must get unbiased career counseling from an expert.

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