Society, Law and Ethics - CBSE Class 11 Chapter 11


Cyber Safety refers to the safe and responsible use of internet so as to ensure safety and security of personal information and not posing threat to anyone else’s information. It involves gaining knowledge about possible threats to personal safety and security risks for the information along with measures to prevent and counter them.

Digital Footprints

Whenever we surf the Internet using smartphones, tablets, computers, etc., we leave a trail of data reflecting the activities performed by us online, which is our digital footprint.

How Digital Footprint Gets Created?

Our digital footprint can be created and used with or without our knowledge. It includes websites we visit, emails we send, and any information we submit online, etc., along with the computer’s IP address, location, and other device specific details. Such data could be used for targeted advertisement or could also be misused or exploited. Thus, it is good to be aware of the data trail we might be leaving behind.

Types of Digital Footprints

There are two kinds of digital footprints we leave behind. Active digital footprints and passive digital footprints.

Active Footprints: Active digital footprints which includes data that we intentionally submit online. This would include emails we write, or responses or posts we make on different websites or mobile Apps, etc.

Passive Footprints: The digital data trail we leave online unintentionally is called passive digital footprints. This includes the data generated when we visit a website, use a mobile App, browse Internet, etc.

Digital Society and and Netizen

nyone who uses digital technology along with Internet is a digital citizen or a netizen. Being a good netizen means practicing safe, ethical and legal use of digital technology. A responsible netizen must abide by net etiquettes, communication etiquettes and social media etiquettes.

Net Etiquettes:

  • Be Ethical
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Net Etiquettes:

  • Be Ethical
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Net Etiquettes:

  • Be Ethical
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible

  • Data Protection

    Elements of data that can cause substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience and unfairness to an individual, if breached or compromised, is called sensitive data. Examples of sensitive data include biometric information, health information, financial information, or other personal documents, images or audios or videos. All over the world, each country has its own data protection policies (laws). These policies are legal documents that provide guidelines to the user on processing, storage and transmission of sensitive information.

    Intellectual Property Rights(IPR)

    ntellectual Property refers to the inventions, literary and artistic expressions, designs and symbols, names and logos. The ownership of such concepts lies with the creator, or the holder of the intellectual property. This enables the creator or copyright owner to earn recognition or financial benefit by using their creation or invention. Intellectual Property is legally protected through copyrights, patents, trademarks,etc.


      Copyright grants legal rights to creators for their original works like writing, photograph, audio recordings, video, sculptures, architectural works, computer software, and other creative works like literary and artistic work. Copyright law gives the copyright holder a set of rights that they alone can avail legally. It prevents others from copying, using or selling the work.


      A patent is usually granted for inventions. Unlike copyright, the inventor needs to apply (file) for patenting the invention. When a patent is granted, the owner gets an exclusive right to prevent others from using, selling, or distributing the protected invention.


      Trademark includes any visual symbol, word, name, design, slogan, label, etc., that distinguishes the brand or commercial enterprise, from other brands or commercial enterprises. For example, no company other than Nike can use the Nike brand to sell shoes or clothes.

    Violation of IPR

    Violation of intellectual property right may happen in one of the following ways:


      Presenting someone else’s idea or work as one’s own idea or work is called plagiarism. If we copy some contents from Internet, but do not mention the source or the original creator, then it is considered as an act of plagiarism.

    Copyright Infringement:

      Copyright infringement is when we use other person’s work without obtaining their permission to use or we have not paid for it, if it is being sold. Suppose we download an image from the Internet and use it in our project. But if the owner of the copyright of the image does not permit its free usage, then using such an image even after giving reference of the image in our project is a violation of copyright.

    Trademark Infringement:

      Trademark Infringement means unauthorised use of other’s trademark on products and services. An owner of a trademark may commence legal proceedings against someone who infringes its registered trademark.

    Public Access and Open Source Softwares

    Copyright sometimes put restriction on the usage of the copyrighted works by anyone else. If others are allowed to use and built upon the existing work, it will encourage collaboration and would result in new innovations in the same direction. Licenses provide rules and guidelines for others to use the existing work. When authors share their copyrighted works with others under public license, it allows others to use and even modify the content. Open source licenses help others to contribute to existing work or project without seeking special individual permission to do so.

    General Public License(GPL):

      GPL is primarily designed for providing public licence to a software. GNU GPL is another free software license, which provides end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software, besides getting regular updates.

    Creative Commons(CC):

      CC is used for all kind of creative works like websites, music, film, literature, etc. CC enables the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. It is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use and build upon a work that they have created.


      The Apache License is a permissive free software license written by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). It allows users to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties.

    Cyber Crime:

    Criminal activities or offences carried out in a digital environment can be considered as cyber crime. In such crimes, either the computer itself is the target or the computer is used as a tool to commit a crime. The nature of criminal activities are alarmingly increasing day-by-day, with frequent reports of hacking, ransomware attacks, denial-of-service, phishing, email fraud, banking fraud and identity theft.


      Hacking is the act of unauthorised access to a computer, computer network or any digital system. Hackers usually have technical expertise of the hardware and software. They look for bugs to exploit and break into the system. Hacking, when done with a positive intent, is called ethical hacking. Such ethical hackers are known as white hat hackers. A non-ethical hacker is the one who tries to gain unauthorised access to computers or networks in order to steal sensitive data with the intent to damage or bring down systems. They are called black hat hackers.


      Phishing is an unlawful activity where fake websites or emails that look original or authentic are presented to the user to fraudulently collect sensitive and personal details, particularly usernames, passwords, banking and credit card details.


      Eavesdropping is the act of secretly or stealthily listening to the private conversation or communications of others without their consent in order to gather information.


      This is another kind of cyber crime where the attacker gains access to the computer and blocks the user from accessing, usually by encrypting the data. The attacker blackmails the victim to pay for getting access to the data, or sometimes threaten to publish personal and sensitive information or photographs unless a ransom is paid.

    Preventing Cyber Crime

    Following points can be considered as safety measures to reduce the risk of cyber crime:

  • Take regular backup of important data.
  • Use an antivirus software and keep it updated always.
  • Avoid installing pirated software. Always download software from known and secure (HTTPS) sites.
  • Always update the system software which include the Internet browser and other application software.
  • Do not visit or download anything from untrusted websites.
  • Usually the browser alerts users about doubtful websites whose security certificate could not be verified; avoid visiting such sites.
  • Use strong password for web login, and change it periodically. Do not use same password for all the websites. Use different combinations of alphanumeric characters including special characters. Ignore common words or names in password.
  • While using someone else’s computer, don’t allow browser to save password or auto fill data, and try to browse in your private browser window.
  • For an unknown site, do not agree to use cookies when asked for, through a Yes/No option.
  • Perform online transaction like shopping, ticketing, and other such services only through well-known and secure sites.
  • Always secure wireless network at home with strong password and regularly change it.

  • Indian Information Technology Act(IT Act)

    The Government of India’s Information Technology Act, 2000 (also known as IT Act), amended in 2008, provides guidelines to the user on the processing, storage and transmission of sensitive information. In many Indian states, there are cyber cells in police stations where one can report any cyber crime. The act provides legal framework for electronic governance by giving recognition to electronic records and digital signatures. The act outlines cyber crimes and penalties for them.

    Safely Browsing the Web

  • Install and use antivirus software.
  • Use a Firewall.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Update your security software.
  • Be aware of clicking links in emails.
  • Bookmark important sites.
  • Use VPNs and Proxies.

  • Malware

    Malware is intrusive software that is designed to damage and destroy computers and computer systems. Malware is a contraction for “malicious software.” Examples of common malware includes viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware.


    A computer virus is a type of computer program that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. If this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be "infected" with a computer virus.


    A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is a type of malicious code or software that looks legitimate but can take control of your computer. A Trojan is designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or in general inflict some other harmful action on your data or network.


    Adware, or advertising supported software, is software that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer. Adware programs will tend to serve you pop-up ads, can change your browser’s homepage, add spyware and just bombard your device with advertisements. Adware is a more succinct name for potentially unwanted programs.


    E-waste is electronic products that are unwanted, not working, and nearing or at the end of their “useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are everyday electronic products. List of common ewaste:

  • Cell Phones
  • Smartphones
  • Desktops
  • Laptops
  • Hard Drives
  • PCBs

  • Harmful Impact of E-Waste

    Adware, or advertising supported software, is software that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer. Adware programs will tend to serve you pop-up ads, can change your browser’s homepage, add spyware and just bombard your device with advertisements. Adware is a more succinct name for potentially unwanted programs.

    E-Waste Disposal Methods

    Dismantling: Removal of parts containing dangerous substances (CFCs, Mercury); removal of easily accessible parts containing valuable substances.(copper and other precious metals).

  • Dismantling: Removal of parts containing dangerous substances (CFCs, Mercury); removal of easily accessible parts containing valuable substances.(copper and other precious metals).
  • Segregation of Ferrous & non-ferrous metals and plastic: Separation is normally done in a shredder process.
  • Reuse: Some parts in e-waste can be easily reused with minor repairs.
  • Recycling: E-Waste can be recycled also to obtain other useful materials.