Tech and Law
With the increasing reliance on digital technologies in the banking industry, cyber threats have become a significant concern. Cyberlaw plays a crucial role in safeguarding the banking sector from cybercrimes and ensuring the security and integrity of financial systems.
The banking industry has witnessed a rapid digital transformation, enabling convenient services and greater access to financial resources. However, this digitalisation also exposes the industry to cyber threats, necessitating the formulation and implementation of effective cyber law frameworks.
Recent Trends in the Banking Industry
Digital Transformation: The banking industry has embraced digital technologies, such as mobile banking, internet banking, and financial apps, to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency.
Open Banking: The concept of open banking has gained prominence, enabling data sharing between banks and third-party service providers, which introduces new cyber risks.
How Cyber Law Helps the Banking Sector
The banking sector and cyber crime share an unspoken synergy due to the mass digitisation of banking services. Thanks to QR codes, UPI and online banking payments, India is now home to 40% of global online banking transactions. Some critical aspects of the cyber law and banking sector are as follows:
Data Protection: Cyberlaw mandates banks to implement robust data protection measures, including encryption, access controls, and regular security audits, to safeguard customer data.
Incident Response and Reporting: Cyberlaw requires banks to establish incident response plans, promptly report cyber incidents to regulatory authorities, and cooperate in investigations.
Customer Protection: Cyberlaw enforces regulations related to online banking fraud, identity theft, and unauthorised transactions, ensuring that customers are protected from cybercrimes.
Legal Framework: Cyberlaw provides a legal foundation for digitalisation in the banking sector, assuring customers that regulations protect their digital transactions and data.
Cybersecurity Training and Awareness: Cyberlaw encourages banks to conduct regular training programs and create awareness among employees and customers about cyber threats, safe digital practices, and reporting procedures.
The RBI, as India’s central banking institution, has issued comprehensive guidelines to enhance cyber resilience in the banking industry. These guidelines address various aspects, including:
Technology Risk Management
Cyber Security Framework
Cyber Crisis Management Plan
Incident Reporting and Response
Recent Trends in Banking Sector Frauds and the Role of Cyber Law
Phishing Attacks: Cyberlaw helps banks combat phishing attacks by imposing penalties on perpetrators and mandating preventive measures like two-factor authentication.
Insider Threats: Cyberlaw regulations emphasise the need for stringent access controls, employee background checks, and legal consequences for insiders involved in fraudulent activities.
Ransomware Attacks: Cyberlaw frameworks assist banks in dealing with ransomware attacks by enabling legal actions against hackers and promoting preventive measures, such as regular software updates and data backups.
Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators (PSOs)
Draft of Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators (PSOs) issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The directions provide guidelines and requirements for PSOs to improve the safety and security of their payment systems, with a focus on cyber resilience. These guidelines for PSOs include mobile payment service providers like Paytm or digital wallet payment platforms.
Here are the highlights-
The Directions aim to improve the safety and security of payment systems operated by PSOs by providing a framework for overall information security preparedness, with an emphasis on cyber resilience.
The Directions apply to all authorised non-bank PSOs.
PSOs must ensure adherence to these Directions by unregulated entities in their digital payments ecosystem, such as payment gateways, third-party service providers, vendors, and merchants.
The PSO’s Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring adequate oversight over information security risks, including cyber risk and cyber resilience. A sub-committee of the Board may be delegated with primary oversight responsibilities.
PSOs must formulate a Board-approved Information Security (IS) policy that covers roles and responsibilities, measures to identify and manage cyber security risks, training and awareness programs, and more.
PSOs should have a distinct Board-approved Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) to detect, contain, respond, and recover from cyber threats and attacks.
A senior-level executive, such as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), should be responsible for implementing the IS policy and the cyber resilience framework and assessing the overall information security posture of the PSO.
PSOs need to define Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify potential risk events and assess the effectiveness of security controls. The sub-committee of the Board is responsible for monitoring these indicators.
PSOs should conduct a cyber risk assessment when launching new products, services, technologies, or significant changes to existing infrastructure or processes.
PSOs, including inventory management, identity and access management, network security, application security life cycle, security testing, vendor risk management, data security, patch and change management life cycle, incident response, business continuity planning, API security, employee awareness and training, and other security measures should implement various baseline information security measures and controls.
PSOs should ensure that payment transactions involving debit to accounts conducted electronically are permitted only through multi-factor authentication, except where explicitly permitted/relaxed.
The relationship between cyber law and the banking industry is crucial in ensuring a secure and trusted digital environment. Recent trends indicate that cyber threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Compliance with cyber law provisions and adherence to guidelines such as those provided by the RBI is essential for banks to protect themselves and their customers from cybercrimes. By embracing robust cyber law frameworks, the banking industry can foster a resilient ecosystem that enables innovation while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders or users.
The insurance industry is a target for cybercriminals due to the sensitive nature of the information it holds. This makes it essential for insurance companies to have robust cybersecurity measures to protect their data and customers’ personal information.
Cyber fraud in India’s insurance industry is increasing. It is reported that the Indian insurance sector has witnessed a surge in cyber-attacks, with several instances of data breaches, identity thefts, and financial fraud being reported. These cybercrimes not only pose a significant threat to the financial stability of the insurance industry but also to the privacy and security of policyholders.
Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry
The insurance industry in India has been the target of increasing cyber fraud in recent years. With the growing digital transformation trend, insurance companies have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber frauds in the insurance industry are initiated by hackers who use various techniques such as phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering to gain unauthorised access to policyholders’ personal data and sensitive information
Kinds of cyber frauds in the insurance industry
It is essential for insurers and policyholders alike to be aware of these kinds of cyber-attacks on insurance companies in today’s digital age. Staying educated about these threats can help prevent them from happening in the future.
Identity theft– One common type of cyber fraud that occurs in the insurance industry is identity theft. In this type of fraud, criminals steal personal information such as name, address, date of birth and social security numbers through phishing emails or fraudulent websites. They then use this information to open fraudulent policies or access existing ones.
Payment fraud- Another type of cyber fraud that is on the rise is payment fraud. In this type of fraud, hackers intercept electronic payments made by policyholders or agents using fake bank accounts or compromised payment gateways. The money is then siphoned into untraceable accounts, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
Phishing attacks- Where the fraudsters posed as company officials and sent emails to policyholders requesting their account details. The unsuspecting customers fell for this scam and shared their sensitive information, which was then used to access their accounts and steal funds.
Hacking- Where hackers breach the company’s system to gain access to policyholder data. The hackers’ stoles personal records, including names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and financial information, which they later sell on the dark web.
Fake policies scam- Fraudsters create fake policies using stolen identities and collect premiums from innocent customers. The insurer then voided these policies due to fraudulent activity leaving those people without valid coverage when they needed it most. The victims suffer significant financial losses due to this scam.
Fake Insurance Websites- Discuss the creation of deceptive websites that imitate well-known insurance companies, where unsuspecting individuals provide their personal details, leading to identity theft or financial losses.
Prevention of Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry- Best practices to follow
Prevention is better than cure, which also holds true in the case of cyber fraud in the insurance industry. The industry must take proactive steps to prevent such frauds from occurring in the first place. One of the most effective ways to do so is by investing in cybersecurity measures that are specifically designed for the insurance sector.
Insurance companies must conduct regular employee training programs on cybersecurity best practices. This includes educating employees on how to identify and avoid phishing emails, create strong passwords, and recognise potential cyber threats. Companies should also establish a reporting mechanism for employees to report suspicious activity or incidents immediately.
Having proper access controls in place is also necessary. This means limiting access to sensitive data only to those employees who need it, implementing two-factor authentication, and regularly monitoring user activity logs. Regular audits can also provide an extra layer of protection against potential threats by identifying vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked during routine security checks.
Another essential step is encrypting all data transmitted between different systems and devices. Encryption scrambles data into unreadable codes that can only be deciphered using a decryption key, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or steal information in transit.
Legal Framework for Cyber Frauds in the Insurance Industry
The legal framework for cyber fraud in the insurance industry is critical to preventing such crimes. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued guidelines for insurers to establish a cybersecurity framework. The guidelines require insurers to conduct regular risk assessments, implement security measures, and ensure compliance with data privacy laws.
The Information Technology Act 2000, is another significant piece of legislation dealing with cyber fraud in India. The act defines offences such as unauthorised access to a computer system, hacking, and tampering with data. It also provides for stringent penalties and imprisonment for those found guilty of such offences.
The IRDAI’s guidelines provide insurers with a roadmap to establish robust cybersecurity measures to help prevent cyber fraud in the insurance industry. Stringent implementation of these guidelines will go a long way in safeguarding sensitive customer information from falling into the wrong hands.
Best Practices for Insurers and Policyholders
Implementing Strong Authentication: Encouraging the use of multi-factor authentication and secure login processes to safeguard customer accounts and prevent unauthorised access.
Regular Employee Training: Conduct cybersecurity awareness programs to educate employees about the latest threats and preventive measures.
Investing in Advanced Technologies: Utilizing robust cybersecurity tools and systems to promptly detect and mitigate potential cyber threats.
Vigilance and Awareness: Policyholders must stay vigilant while sharing personal information online and verify the authenticity of insurance websites and communication channels.
Regular Updates and Patches: Advising individuals to keep their devices and software up to date to minimise vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.
Secure Online Practices: Encouraging the use of strong and unique passwords, avoiding sharing sensitive information on unsecured networks, and exercising caution when clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
As the Indian insurance industry embraces digitisation, the risk of cyber scams and data breaches becomes a significant concern. Insurers and policyholders must collaborate to ensure robust cybersecurity measures are in place to protect sensitive information and financial interests.
It is essential for insurance companies to invest in robust cybersecurity measures that can detect and prevent fraud attempts. Additionally, educating employees on the dangers of cyber fraud and implementing strict compliance measures can go a long way in mitigating risks. With these efforts, the insurance industry can continue to provide trustworthy and reliable services to its customers while protecting against cyber threats. As technology continues to evolve, it is imperative that the insurance industry adapts accordingly and remains vigilant against emerging threats.
The European Union has fined the meta $ 1.3 billion for infringing the EU privacy laws by transferring the personal data of Facebook users to the United States. The EU fined Meta’s business in Ireland. As per the European Union, transferring Personal data to the US is a breach of the General data protection Regulation or European Union law on data protection and privacy.
The terms of GDPR promise to gather users’ personal information legally and under strict conditions. And those who collect and manage personal data must protect users’ personal data from exploitation. The GDPR restricts an organisation’s capacity to transfer personal data outside the EU if the transfer is solely based on that body’s evaluation of the sufficiency of the personal data’s protection. Transfers should only be made where European authorities have determined that a third country, a territory within that third country, or an international organisation provides acceptable protection for data protection.
Violation by Meta
The punishment, announced by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, might be one of the most significant in the five years since the European Union passed the landmark General Data Protection Regulation. According to regulators, Facebook failed to comply with a 2020 judgment by the European Union’s top court that Facebook data transferred over the Atlantic was not sufficiently safeguarded from American espionage agencies. However, whether Meta will ever need to encrypt Facebook users’ data in Europe is still being determined. Meta announced it would appeal the ruling, launching a potentially legal procedure.
Simultaneously, European Union and American officials are negotiating a new data-sharing pact that would provide legal protections for Meta and scores of other companies to continue moving information between the US and Europe. This pact could overturn much of the European Union’s Monday ruling.
Article 46(1) GDPR Has been violated by the meta, And as per the Irish privacy.
What is required by the GDPR before transferring personal information across national boundaries?
Personal data transfers to countries outside the European Economic Area are generally permitted if these nations are regarded to provide a sufficient degree of data protection. According to Article 45 of the GDPR, the European Commission evaluates the degree of personal data protection in third countries.
The European Union judgment demonstrates how government rules are upending the borderless way data has traditionally migrated. Companies are increasingly being pressed to store data within the country where it is acquired rather than allowing it to transfer freely to data centres around the world as a result of data-protection requirements, national security laws, and other regulations.
The US internet giant had previously warned that if forced to stop using SCCs (standard contractual clauses) without a proper alternative data transfer agreement in place, it would be compelled to shut down services such as Facebook and Instagram in Europe.
What will happen next for Facebook in Europe?
The ruling includes a six-month transition period before it must halt data flows, meaning the service will continue to operate in the meantime. (More specifically, Meta has been given a five-month transition period to freeze any future transfer of personal data to the United States and a six-month deadline to terminate the unlawful processing and/or storage of European user data it has previously transferred without a legitimate legal basis. Meta has also stated that it will appeal and appears to seek a stay of execution while it pursues its legal arguments in court.
The GDPR places restrictions on transferring personal data outside the European Union to third-party nations or international bodies to ensure that the GDPR’s level of protection for individuals is not jeopardised. But the meta violated the European Union’s privacy laws by the user’s personal information to the US. Under the compliance of GDPR, transferring and sending personal information to users intentionally is an offence. and presently, the personal data of Facebook users has been breached by the Meta, as they shared the information with the US.
Recent advances in space exploration and technology have increased the need for space laws to control the actions of governments and corporate organisations. India has been attempting to create a robust legal framework to oversee its space activities because it is a prominent player in the international space business. In this article, we’ll examine India’s current space regulations and compare them to the situation elsewhere in the world.
Space Laws in India
India started space exploration with Aryabhtta, the first satellite, and Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut, and now has a prominent presence in space as many international satellites are now launched by India. NASA and ISRO work closely on various projects
India currently lacks any space-related legislation. Only a few laws and regulations, such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Act of 1969 and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Guidelines of 2011, regulate space-related operations. However, more than these rules and regulations are essential to control India’s expanding space sector. India is starting to gain traction as a prospective player in the global commercial space sector. Authorisation, contracts, dispute resolution, licencing, data processing and distribution related to earth observation services, certification of space technology, insurance, legal difficulties related to launch services, and stamp duty are just a few of the topics that need to be discussed. The necessary statute and laws need to be updated to incorporate space law-related matters into domestic laws.
India’s Space Presence
Space research activities were initiated in India during the early 1960s when satellite applications were in experimental stages, even in the United States. With the live transmission of the Tokyo Olympic Games across the Pacific by the American Satellite ‘Syncom-3’ demonstrating the power of communication satellites, Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of the Indian space programme, quickly recognised the benefits of space technologies for India.
As a first step, the Department of Atomic Energy formed the INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research) under the leadership of Dr Sarabhai and Dr Ramanathan in 1962. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed on August 15, 1969. The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national needs. It is one of the six largest space agencies in the world. The Department of Space (DOS) and the Space Commission were set up in 1972, and ISRO was brought under DOS on June 1, 1972.
Since its inception, the Indian space programme has been orchestrated well. It has three distinct elements: satellites for communication and remote sensing, the space transportation system and application programmes. Two major operational systems have been established – the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for telecommunication, television broadcasting, and meteorological services and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) for monitoring and managing natural resources and Disaster Management Support.
The global space race has been on and ever since the moon landing in 1969, and it has now transformed into the new cold war among developed and developing nations. The interests and assets of a nation in space need to be safeguarded by the help of effective and efficient policies and internationally ratified laws. All nations with a presence in space do not believe in good for all policy, thus, preventive measures need to be incorporated into the legal system. A thorough legal framework for space activities is being developed by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). The “Outer Space Treaty,” a collection of five international agreements on space law, establishes the foundation of international space law. The agreements address topics such as the peaceful use of space, preventing space from becoming militarised, and who is responsible for damage caused by space objects. Well-established space laws govern both the United States and the United Kingdom. The National Aeronautics and Space Act, which was passed in the US in 1958 and established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to oversee national space programmes, is in place there. The Outer Space Act of 1986 governs how UK citizens and businesses can engage in space activity.
India must create a thorough legal system to govern its space endeavours. In the space sector, there needs to be a legal framework to avoid ambiguity and confusion, which may have detrimental effects. The Pacific use of space for the benefit of humanity should be covered by domestic space legislation in India. The overall scenario demonstrates the requirement for a clearly defined legal framework for the international acknowledgement of a nation’s space activities. India is fifth in the world for space technology, which is an impressive accomplishment, and a strong legal system will help India maintain its place in the space business.
On 20th October 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 crores on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android Mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing cease and desist orders. The CCI also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline. Smart mobile devices need an operating system (OS) to run applications (apps) and programs. Android is one such mobile operating system that Google acquired in 2005. In the instant matter, the CCI examined various practices of Google w.r.t. licensing of this Android mobile operating system and various proprietary mobile applications of Google (e.g., Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, etc.).
Google was found to be misusing its dominant position in the tech market, and the same was the reason behind the penalty. Google argued about the competitive constraints being faced from Apple. In relation to understanding the extent of competition between Google’s Android ecosystem and Apple’s iOS ecosystem, the CCI noted the differences in the two business models, which affect the underlying incentives of business decisions. Apple’s business is primarily based on a vertically integrated smart device ecosystem that focuses on the sale of high-end smart devices with state-of-the-art software components. In contrast, Google’s business was found to be driven by the ultimate intent of increasing users on its platforms so that they interact with its revenue-earning service, i.e., online searches, which directly affects the sale of online advertising services by Google. It was seen that google had created a dominant position among the android phone manufacturers as they were made to have a set of google apps preinstalled in the device to increase the user’s dependency on google services. The CCI felt that Google had created a dominant position to which they replied that the same operations are done by Apple as well, to which the commission responded that apple is a phone and app manufacturer and they have Apple-owned apps in Apple devices only, but Google here in had made a pseudo mandate for android manufactures to have the google apps pre-installed which is, in turn, a possible way of disrupting the market equilibrium and violative of market practices. The CCI imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in India, CCI delineated the following five relevant markets in the present matter –
- The market for licensable OS for smart mobile devices in India
- The market for app store for Android smart mobile OS in India
- The market for general web search services in India
- The market for non-OS specific mobile web browsers in India
- The market for online video hosting platforms (OVHP) in India.
Supreme Courts Opinion
In October 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ruled that Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, exploited its dominant position in Android and told it to remove restrictions on device makers, including those related to the pre-installation of apps and ensuring exclusivity of its search. Google lost a challenge in the Supreme Court to block the directives, as the learned court refused to put a stay on the imposed penalty, further giving seven days to comply. The Supreme Court has said a lower tribunal—where Google first challenged the Android directives—can continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.
Counterpoint Research estimates that about 97% of 600 million smartphones in India run on Android. Apple has just a 3% share. Hoping to block the implementation of the CCI directives, Google challenged the CCI order in the Supreme Court by warning it could stall the growth of the Android ecosystem. It also said it would be forced to alter arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the directives kick in. Google has been concerned about India’s decision as the steps are seen as more sweeping than those imposed in the European Commission’s 2018 ruling. There it was fined for putting in place what the Commission called unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device makers. Google is still challenging the record $4.3 billion fine in that case. In Europe, Google made changes later, including letting Android device users pick their default search engine, and said device makers would be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.
As the world goes deeper into cyberspace, the big tech companies have more control over the industry and the markets, but the same should not turn into anarchy in the global markets. The Tech giants need to be made aware that compliance is the utmost duty for all companies, and enforcement of the law of the land will be maintained no matter what. Earlier India lacked policies and legislation to govern cyberspace, but in the recent proactive stance by the govt, a lot of new bills have been tabled, one of them being the Intermediary Rules 2021, which has laid down the obligations nand duties of the companies by setting up an intermediary in the country. Such bills coupled with such crucial judgments on tech giants will act as a test and barrier for other tech companies who try to flaunt the rules and avoid compliance.