Expert speak on Career in Cyber Law
Updated on Jan 30, 2015 - 2:41 p.m. IST by Apratim Chatterjee
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With India moving towards greater internet penetration with each passing year, the cyber-crimes are also increasing at fast pace. This also demands more legal experts and lawyers in with specialization in cyber law. Law domain experts say that in this age of technology, we are almost dependent upon the internet and computers, phones, and iPads, while we are handling finance and banking, trade, communications, and so on. Sameer Rastogi, Managing Partner, India Juris says, "As in the case with any technology, the cyber sphere is growing at an unprecedented rate, and so are the risks related to it, faster than the laws can be made to regulate it. Cyber security involves the protection of such systems against cyber threats and attacks."

Careers360 has interviewed Dr. Aparna Singh, Assistant Professor of Law, RMLNLU who shares her insights on current prospects of specialized programmes in Cyber Law. She in this interview demarcates the importance of IT Act 2000 and its effect on Cyber Law education. Besides, Dr. Singh also shares the challenges in this domain and tips to overcome these challenges of cyber law.

Read the interview to know what the RMLNLU Assistant Professor advises to them who wish to pursue a career in this field.


Interview Excerpts

Careers360: What is the current prospect of Cyber Law as a specialized career in India?
Dr. Aparna Singh: The virtual world of Internet is known as cyberspace and the laws governing this area are known as Cyber Laws and in today's tech-savvy environment, the world is becoming more and more digitally sophisticated and so are the crimes.


Internet was initially developed as a research and information sharing tool, and meant to be a pool of knowledge but it was in an unregulated manner. As the time is passing by it is becoming more transactional with e-business, e-commerce, e-governance and e-procurement etc.


All the legal issues related to the internet crimes are being dealt through the Cyber-Laws. As the number of internet users is on increase with the changing times, the need for cyber laws and their application is gathering a great momentum. With the drastic increase in the number of cyber-crimes committed in the country over the recent times, the field of cyber law in India is gaining immense popularity, as there is a huge demand for skillful cyber lawyers in India today.


At present, there are several unresolved cases and different types of cyber-crimes in India, the most popular ones being hacking into personal accounts and funds, the spread of virus, stalking and cyber-wars, cyber terrorism, cyber credit card frauds.


Careers360: What is Indian IT Act 2000 and what were drawbacks that led to its amendment?
Dr. Aparna Singh: The Information Technology Act, 2000, essentially deals with the following issues: Legal Recognition of Electronic Documents, Legal Recognition of Digital Signature, Offenses and Contraventions, Justice Dispensation Systems for Cyber Crimes.


But the act was later amended by the IT Amendment Act 2008; being the first legislation in the nation on technology, computers and ecommerce and e-communication, the Act was a subject of extensive debates, elaborate reviews and detailed criticisms, with one arm of the industry criticizing some sections of the Act to be draconian and other stating it is too diluted and lenient.


There were some conspicuous omissions too resulting in the investigators relying more and more on the time-tested Indian Penal Code even in technology based cases with the IT Act also being referred in the process and the reliance more on IPC rather on the ITAct.


Careers360:  What effect has the IT Act on cyber law education?
Dr. Aparna Singh: The amendment gave birth to a new field, which emerged as a specialized branch of law, i.e. Cyber Law. More and more youngsters would like to opt this branch as technology firms are growing up along with the dotcoms, which would provide these Cyber Lawyers a lucrative job opportunity. Now all the electronic records would be kept under a legal framework of Cyber Laws.

Careers360: What motivated you to begin a career in this specialized sector of law?
Dr. Aparna Singh: I had prior 9 years of working experience in the IT Industry which included Software, Networking, and Security& IT Audit. When I saw that my prior experience with my "Masters in Computer Science” can help moving ahead in cyber law, I took this risk.


With my own analysis, self-conviction, perseverance and self-trust, made me what I am today. Now I feel that apart from Cyber Law next booming field in law domain could be “Medico-Legal’’.


Careers360: What key qualities one should possess for becoming a Cyber Law expert?
Dr. Aparna Singh: One who wants to be a Cyber Lawyer should have the capability of analyzing problems along with an eye for details. Intellectual ability as well as ability to assimilate and observe, is also one of the pre-requisite. Besides, tech savvy and an in depth knowledge of computers and software are a must.


It is extremely important for a cyber-lawyer to be well read, and well updated with the current happenings in the field of technology and Cyber Crimes. One should be quick witted and needs to be oriented to look web as an information provider.


Careers360: What are the essential elements of Cyber Law course?
Dr. Aparna Singh: The Cyber Law courses carry a multi-disciplinary task as it a multi-dimensional subject. While studying such a subject one needs to acquire knowledge of technology as well as laws governing Personal Laws, Telecom Laws, Company Laws and Intellectual Property Laws.


These courses are oriented to support e-business. Apart from the above mentioned skills, some other aregood observational, practical and analytical skills.


The job profile of a cyber-lawyer is interesting as well as challenging, all thanks to the anonymous nature of the internet which makes the tracing of cyber criminals all the more difficult.


Careers360: What challenges does a Cyber Law expert encounter?
Dr. Aparna Singh: There are many challenges before a Cyber Law expert. A cyber lawyer has to crack down various Cyber Crimes including hacking, credit card frauds, protecting digital signatures to safeguard business transactions or encryption codes or electronic records etc.


The expert needs to deal with the cases of Intellectual Property Rights or Copyrights, Software patents, Net Banking etc.


Cyber lawyers conduct regular investigations on the major cyber-crimes that are prevalent across the internet. With the growing cyber-crimes against individuals, organizations and the government via cyber space today, there is a growing need for strict cyber laws in the society today.


Careers360:  What is the earning potential of a Cyber Law expert?
Dr. Aparna Singh: Salaries of this new age breed of tech-savvy legal eagles can range from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 20000 in a solicitor's firm. If one is able to find a job in a corporate or a law firm one can start from Rs. 20000 to a handsome amount of Rs. 40000. Also it depends on skills and qualities of an individual to negotiate more salary from their employers.


Careers360: What are the other related fields where a Cyber Law professional can practice, apart from being a cyber-lawyer?
Dr. Aparna Singh: Even a person not having legal background can get a job as Cyber Consultant in an IT firm, police department or in banks, or as research assistants in a law firm, or a technology firm, or as advisers to web developers, in the ministry of information and technology or in corporate houses.


The technology firms also need security auditors and network administrators while law schools and multinational corporations need cyber law experts as need trainers.


Careers360: What would you like to advice for those aspiring to become one among you?
Dr. Aparna Singh: As we know we are moving in the fourth generation of rights, and changing paradigm shifts in 21st century, there is a need of the hour to give effectiveness to the existing laws which are meant to benefit the society at large.

We are moving ahead with the internet age so the subject like cyber law will gain its momentum day by day. My all the best wishes to those who are pursuing the career in cyber law  as they have much better opportunities and avenues to serve the society , to fulfill their dream.


Stay tuned to for more news and feature articles on Cyber Law

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