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Internet: a Fundamental Right and a Basic Human Need


NAME: Rashi Kudal

DESIGNATION: Student at Manipal University, Jaipur

CONTACT NUMBER: +91-931*******

E-MAIL ADDRESS: rashikdl2509@gmail.com


Introduction


The Internet is the primary source of information to millions of Indian citizens. The Internet is the most wanted fuel of the generation. With the escalation in technology the Internet portrays a significant role, so a primitive question arises whether access to the Internet can be considered as a human right or not? The Internet is a social as well as a legal aspect in our nation. Life without the internet would cause an economy and crisis. The Internet is the undiscovered ocean of information and in present the greatest supplier. But without the web, we’d be sleeping better. The connectivity of internet gives us with an exploitation of the harm as cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberbullying.


Right to access Internet is an integral part of Right to Education and Right to Privacy under Article 21 A and Article 21 of the constitution of India respectively. Internet access not only enhances the opportunities of students to acquire knowledge but also enhances the quality of education.


Laws related to cybercrime and trolling and cyber frauds have been embodied in the Indian Penal Code(IPC), 1860 contained in the Information Technology Act, 2000. Section 464 and Section 468 of the IPC covers cyber frauds by forgery and pre planned cheating.

Kerala had become the first state in 2017 to declare access to the Internet ‘a basic human right’.


In Faheema Shirin RK vs. State of Kerala and Others [1] Kerala High Court stated that Right to access the internet is a part of Right to education and Right to Privacy.

Countries like Estonia in February 2000, Greece in 2001, European Union on 25th November 2009, France on 10th June 2009, Finland in 2010, Costa Rica in 2010, Spain in November 2009 and Canada in year 2016 have declared Internet access a basic human right at a time when development of technology was initiating in India. While 154 countries (79 per cent) have enacted cybercrime legislation, the pattern varies by region. Countries like Russia, China, Romania, Brazil, United States, UAE, South Korea, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia have laws related to cybercrime. The consumer loss through cybercrime worldwide in 2017 by victim country in billion U.S. dollars with India on number 3 by 18.5 annual loss preceding US, Brazil and China.


Conclusion

Right to Internet is a fundamental right (subject to reasonable restriction) included in the freedom of Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Restrictions on fundamental rights could not be in exercise of arbitrary powers.


India does not have a dedicated cybersecurity laws, the Indian cyber laws are governed by the Information Technology Act 2000. Section 66(A) of the IT says the Act criminalizing the sending of offensive messages through computers or other communication devices is a cyber-trolling and illegal act. Most of the cyber-crimes covered under IT Act are punishable with imprisonment of three (3) years or less. And the main purpose of cyber laws under IT Act is to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate electronic records with the government.

Endnotes

  1. Faheema Shirin RK vs. State of Kerala and Ors.; AIR2020Ker35.

  2. Cybercrimes under the IPC and IT Act

  3. International Cyber law



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