Monday, June 29, 2009

Information Technology Amendment Act 2009 Of India

Cyber law of India requires rejuvenation. In this interview with Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the Leading Techno-Legal Expert of India he suggested that the Government of India (GOI) must come up with the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009. In fact he has been suggesting that there is a need to “reformulate” the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act, 2008) as it is going to create lot of problems for India in future. Already “wrong prosecutions” have brought bad name for India in general and Indian law enforcement in particular.

Human Rights violations in cyberspace are bound to happen in India in the absence of good . It seems the GOI has finally woken up from its sleep and is plannlegal enablement of ICT systems in Indiaing to bring further amendments in the existing Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). Union Minister for Law M Veerappa Moily said the Government will amend the existing laws, including the IT Act, 2000 to combat cyber crimes in the country. There was a misconception that the IT Act, 2008 which was passed last year, was for dealing with cyber crimes. It was mainly for legalising e-commerce, he added.

It is clear that GOI would come up with Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009 (IT Act, 2009) very soon. It has finally accepted the suggestions and recommendations of Praveen Dalal in the larger interest of India. It has accepted that India needs a strong and stringent legal regime to fight growing menace of cyber crimes in India. Perry4Law has welcomed this step of GOI and assured that it would provide all necessary expertise and assistance for the enactment of IT Act, 2009 so that the same may be introduced in the Parliament this year.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Effectiveness Of Indian Cyber Law Questioned

A million dollar question that may legitimately be raised is whether the technology law of India or cyber law in India is sufficient to protect information and communication technology (ICT) assets in India? In other words do we have good legal enablement of ICT systems in India? Does the cyber law of India protect valuable “civil liberties” effectively?

In this interview with
Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the Leading Techno-Legal Expert of India we are exploring these issues. This interview is a part of the “series” of techno-legal interviews of Perry4Law. For a complete series of these interviews and other techno-legal news, views, opinions, articles etc. kindly see “Techno-Legal News and Views” and “Cyber Laws in India”.

This interview shows the weaknesses and lacunas of Indian cyber law. The cyber law of India falls under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). The IT Act, 2000 was long due for suitable amendments but the proposed Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act, 2008) further weakened and destablised the IT Act, 2000. As Praveen Dalal has intimated, the IT Act, 2008 has not been “notified” by the Government of India (GOI) due to large scale protests and inherent fallacies inbuilt in it. He also suggested a new Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009. Let us hope that this wake up call would finally awaken the GOI from the deep sleep it is indulging in.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Judges, Prosecutors And Police Officials Must Be Cyber Law Aware

Judges, prosecutors and police officials have to keep themselves constantly updated on developments in widening application of science and technology to check criminal minds using the ever expanding sphere of cyber space, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said. Inaugurating a southern regional workshop on `Cyber law: Issues and Challenges in Enforcement' here on Saturday, the Chief Minister said `intelligent criminals' would think and act ahead of others to stay in business. "The ever expanding sphere of cyber space has thrown up challenges and opportunities to the criminal minds. They outpace the barriers raised by technology and laws," he said. The Chief Minister thanked the Judges taking part in the workshop and hoped they would come up with suggestions for the government and the judiciary to put in place mechanisms to ensure that the justice delivery system could effectively cope with the new challenges before it. The workshop was organised by the State-run Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT).



It is our pleasure to announce that we would be covering a “series of interviews” of Perry4Law, the Exclusive Techno-Legal ICT Firm of India. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the Leading Techno-Legal Expert of India has accepted our request in this regard after we successfully complied with the “requirements” of Perry4Law.

The interview series would cover crucial issues like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, hacking, ethical hacking, information technology act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000), proposed information technology amendment act, 2008 (IT Act 2008), wireless hacking, wireless security, defence forces and cyber security, e-governance, e-commerce, e-courts, etc.

As one may deduce from the width of areas involved, this series may span over for many months. All interested persons must keep a close watch upon these “exclusive and informative interviews”.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Cyber Law Enforcement Facing Legal And Diplomatic Hurdles

The UK government's announcement last week that it will set up hacker teams to fight cyber attackers is the first public acknowledgment that crime on the internet is running out of control.

Robert Hannigan, the prime minister's security adviser, says the government can no longer rely on defensive measures alone to protect itself against cyber attacks, especially when it suspects that some attacks are sponsored by other governments.

The move coincides with a similar project in the US, where the US military plans a special unit to develop cyber-weapons to defend military networks and help safeguard civilian systems.

But the idea of launching counter attacks breaks new legal ground. In the past, UK law enforcement agencies have worked with the FBI on sting operations, such as Dark Market, which trapped hundreds of would-be hackers. Hannigan declined to speculate on other tactics that might be used.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Europe Is Vulnerable To Cyber Crimes

Europe is particularly exposed to cybercrime because of its very success in connecting its citizens to the internet. It is now a top EU priority to roll out high-speed broadband to all 500m citizens wherever they are. An equally compelling priority must be to hand pan-European agencies the powers and means to combat growing criminal abuse of networks.


Cyber Command Set Up By US Military

A Cyber Command is being set up by the US Military to oversee efforts to protect its computer networks. A new headquarters for the unit is to be established with the responsibility of defending US military systems. The command will be capable of launching offensive operations against attacks from hackers. Pentagon officials have recently become more concerned about military vulnerability to computer encroachments. The US Department of Defence runs over 15,000 electronic networks and 7 million computers and technology devices. US defence networks are constantly probed by outsiders, with millions of scans every day from from terrorist groups, organised crime and hacker activists. The White House last month said another office would be set up to protect government and essential private networks.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alan M. Ralsky Pleads Guilty To Fraud

The accused mastermind of a scheme that pumped up the value of "pink sheet" Chinese penny stocks through tens of millions of unsolicited e-mails pleaded guilty today to federal fraud charges.

Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield Township, known as the "Spam King" for his years as a prolific e-mailer for hire, entered pleas to fraud and money laundering charges late today before U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani.

Also pleading guilty were Ralsky's son-in-law, Scott K. Bradley, 38, also of West Bloomfield Township, and co-conspirators James E. Fite, 36, of Culver City, Calif., John S. Bown, 45, of Fresno, Calif., and William C. Neil, 46, of Fresno, Calif., according to federal authorities.


SEBI To Get More Powers

Capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), will soon be able to attach the properties of fraudsters, file application for winding up of market intermediaries under the Companies Act to recover money that investors have lost and will get powers similar to that of a civil court.

With these significant powers, which Sebi's board approved by recommending amendments to the Sebi Act and the Securities and Contract Regulation Act (SCRA), the market regulator will become stronger and more autonomous. There is also talk of doubling the amount of maximum penalty which Sebi can levy on wrong doers from the current Rs 50 crore.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Human Rights Framework For Cyberspace

Cyber law, cyber security, etc have acquired a different meaning in the contemporary society. They have also provided both the means as well as defense to fight State led censorship and e-surveillance.

Human Rights have also taken a newer shape due to cyberspace. New form of Human Rights violations are taking place these days. The State is turning into a “police state” and increasingly using censorship and e-surveillance.

Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law, has started a very good initiative titled “Human Rights Protection In Cyberspace” ( This is a good place to keep a tack of those laws that violated the valuable “Civil Liberties” of Netizens.

All cyber law observers and Human Rights activists must consult it and strengthen this unique and exclusive initiative in India.


Face Off With Kevin Mitnick

There is no question who the most famous hacker is. One of the first computer hackers prosecuted, Kevin Mitnick was labeled a "computer terrorist" after leading the FBI on a three-year manhunt for breaking into computer networks and stealing software at Sun, Novell, and Motorola.

Known more for social engineering his way into networks than actually hacking them, Mitnick frustrated law enforcement not only by staying one step ahead of them but also with pranks like leaving doughnuts for them to find when they raided his empty home.

Finally arrested in 1995, Mitnick pleaded guilty to wire and computer fraud charges and was released from prison in 2002. His notoriety has helped him get lucrative speaking engagements and launch a security consultancy, where he gets paid for doing some of the very actions that landed him in jail.

In the first in a three-part Q&A series with hackers, CNET News talked to Mitnick, now 45, about what got him interested in computers in the first place, the differences between hacking today and three decades ago, and whether it's wise to hire a former black hat hacker to do security work.


Cyber Law Of India And Human Rights

Cyber law of India is incorporated in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). It is a weak piece of legislation that has been further degraded by the proposed Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act, 2008).

The protest against the “draconian” IT Act, 2008 have led in keeping the proposed IT Act, 2008 in infinite abeyance by the government of India (GOI). Till now the amendments have not been notified by the GOI making them useless and redundant.

The primary reason why such amendments were rejected by the GOI itself seems to be that it is violative of basic Human Rights and Fundamental Rights enshrined under the Constitution of India. The GOI cannot afford to take the blame of imposing a draconian law upon Indian citizens against their wishes.

However, there are some cyber law observers who have in fact supported these amendments. Even we can assume that there can be a “misuse of legislative power” by the GOI to push this draconian law in future.

Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law, has started a very good initiative titled “Human Rights Protection In Cyberspace”. This is a good place to keep a tack of those laws that violated the valuable “Civil Liberties” of Indian citizens.

All cyber law observers and Human Rights activists must give a look at it and strengthen this unique and exclusive initiative in India.


E-Governance In India Needs Expertise Not Size

The debate regarding “merit based execution” of e-governance projects in India is getting hotter. The crucial question is which criteria the government of India (GOI) must choose for selecting e-governance projects partners? Whether it should choose a “big company” (size) or it must choose a company or firm that can execute (expertise and merit) the project effectively?

The Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Model of India is “faulty” as it is based upon the reputation of the companies involved rather than their “expertise”. A company may be generally good in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related issues but it may not be so regarding a particular aspect of e-governance. A question that we must ask to the GOI is whether size/reputation of a company is important or its expertise?

The government must take a hard look at its policies while allocating ICT projects to vendors. Its pre-qualification requirements regarding turnover and size of the players while inviting tenders for projects tends to create a situation where many a competitive but smaller player tends to get left out because they do not meet the stringent qualification criteria. Size should not be the sole parameter for allocating a project to an IT vendor, competence should be the most crucial parameter.

If the IT sector has to have a balanced growth, small and medium companies will have to be encouraged as well because they form the bulk of the industry in India Inc. This is not to say that smaller companies should be encouraged at the cost of competitiveness, however there should be a level-playing field for all.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Human Rights Project For Protecting Cyberspace Launched In India

Cyber laws are meant to protect people from the ills of information technology. What will happen if these cyber laws are used by the “State” to harass the citizens through illegal e-surveillance and eavesdropping, website censorships and blocking, online privacy violations, etc? There is a disturbing trend all over the World where the governments are formulating “draconian laws” to oppress the citizens.

In the Indian context, the same has been done by introducing the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act, 2008). Fortunately, the same has not been “notified” yet and has not becoming part of the law of India. The unamended Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) still governs the position.

However, this reckless episode on the part of Indian government has clearly shown its intentions and plans for the future. There is an emergent need of protecting human rights in the cyberspace.

Praveen Dalal, the leading techno-legal expert of India and managing partner of Perry4Law, has come up with a very good initiative titled “Human Rights Protection In Cyberspace”.

It is providing valuable suggestions to both government and netizens for a repression free Internet environment. To government it suggests the limits of its e-surveillance and censorship powers whereas to the netizens it provides the techno-legal measures to avoid and counter illegal and unreasonable censorship, e-surveillance and eavesdropping.

The resource though in its infancy stage seems to be very promising and worth exploring in the future. Have a safe, secure and surveillance free surfing.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Terrorist Are Planning The Cyber War

According to a top government official, terrorists are preparing for an Internet war, designed to take down systems and create havoc in financial markets and defense systems. The result may be of far greater consequence than bombing.The senior defense official, who gave information anonymously to MSNBC, declares extremist groups are recruiting Islamic extremists and seeking experts who can breach government or other sensitive network systems for travel, communication and finances. In addition Internet fraud is used to raise money for this. One of these is a forum called Mujadedeen Electronic Net which gives hacking instructions, along with a weekly course.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Netizens Of Iran Fighting Back Internet Censorship

As the disturbing events unfold in Iran, with reports of Internet censorship and government crackdowns on communications as the political unrest continues, a search engine developed in India is providing a ray of hope for those trying to tunnel under the radar. Indian developed is touted as the world's first privacy safe, real-time search engine, offering Iranian protesters anonymous access to information from outside the country which would otherwise have been blocked by Iranian censors.


The Technical Assistance For Law Enforcement In The 21st Century Act Of Canada

The Conservative government is trying to give police better access to online communications, introducing a new bill Thursday that will force ISPs to hand over subscriber data without a warrant and implement intercept-capable technologies.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan introduced The Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act in an effort to modernize Canada’s Criminal Code to keep up with the Internet and other emerging technologies. Without a legal requirement for ISPs to make their networks wiretappable, the Conservatives argued that criminals will continue to exploit online “safe havens.”

“What the government is proposing today is new legislation that will update our legal framework for interception that was designed nearly 40 years ago in the era of the rotary telephone,” Van Loan said at an Ottawa press conference. “We are simply seeking to modernize our laws to reflect the realities of a 21st (century) high-tech society.”

US Congress Showed Concerns Over E-Mail Surveillance By NSA

The US' National Security Agency is facing scrutiny over the breadth of its domestic surveillance program. According to critics in Congress, its recent penetrations of private telephone calls and emails are broader than previously stated, The New York Times reports.

A new law, enacted by Congress in 2008, gave the NSA greater freedom to collect American's private messages as long as such collections were an incidental byproduct of investigating people "reasonably believed" to be overseas. But it is difficult to distinguish between email being sent by ordinary Americans and being sent from foreign countries — a gray area that's driven some lawmakers to question whether the privacy of Americans in general is being adequately protected.


Crime and Criminal Tracking Network And Systems Of India

With a view to ensure speedy and transparent stations through Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems. The Informatinvestigation, the Centre today cleared a Rs 2,000 crore project of interlinking all police ion Technology enabled project proposal — Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) — with an outlay of Rs 2,000 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The CCTNS project aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the police station level by adopting principles of e-Governance, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here. The objectives of the CCTNS project are streamlining investigation and prosecution processes, strengthening of intelligence gathering machinery, improved public delivery system, citizen-friendly interface and nationwide sharing of information on crime and criminals. "This is a critical requirement in the context of the present day internal security scenario," Chidambaram said.

It will facilitate collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer and sharing of data and information among police stations, district, state headquarters and other organisation or agencies, including those at Government of India level, the Union Minister said.

The system will also help in enabling and assisting the senior police officers in better management of police force, besides keeping track of the progress of the crime and criminal investigation, he said.

People will also be able to file complaints to concerned police station and can get status of complaints or cases registered. Besides, copies of FIRs, postmortem reports and other permissible documents can also be obtained through this system, he said.

The project, to be completed in three years, would be initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and implemented by the National Crime Records Bureau. "The CCTNS project is to be implemented in a manner where the major role would lie with the state governments in order to bring in the requisite stakes, ownership and commitment...Apart from the required review and monitoring of project implementation on a continuing basis," he said.

With the launching of CCTNS, the erstwhile Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA) programme would be subsumed into it in a manner that the work already done there under is not disrupted. "CIPA had been initiated to computerize and automate the functioning of police stations with a view to bringing in efficiency and transparency in various processes and functions at the police station level and improve service delivery to the citizens," Chidambaram said. So far, 2,760 police stations, out of a total of around 14,000 police stations across the country, have been covered under the scheme.


NATO Would Develop Strategies For Cyber Defense Activities

According to Kenneth Geers of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, located in Tallinn, Estonia, the challenge for cybersecurity operations these days is keeping law up to date with the latest threats. "Government and militaries and intelligence organizations can't by law do anything that has not been approved and told they can do," he says. The center has been tasked with developing concepts and strategies for cyberdefense activities, as well as with clarifying the issue for government policymakers.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Underground Botnet Leasing Network Unearthed

Researchers at security firm Finjan said on Wednesday that they have uncovered an underground botnet-leasing network where cyber criminals can pay $5 to $100 to install malware on 1,000 PCs for things like stealing data and sending spam. The Golden Cash network, dubbed "Your money-making machine" on its home page, sells access to botnets comprised of thousands of compromised PCs to cyber criminals for custom malware spreading jobs, according to issue 2 of the Cybercrime Intelligence Report for 2009.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Indian Government 100 Days Workplan In Serious Jeopardy

The Indian Congress led UPA Government made certain “Promises” for the socio-economic development of India. However, the fears of such promises turning into mere words have started becoming the reality within two weeks of such declaration.

While the “failures” became apparent within the “first week itself” yet they have now been confirmed by some of the recent announcement by various Ministries of UPA government.

The government is in no serious mood to actually implement the promises made by it on 4th June 2009. The actual period of 100 days started from 5th June 2009 and the government is just fooling Indians by now claiming that its ministries would release its 100 days plan very soon.

The 100 days period must expire on 12th September 2009. However, the ministries of UPA government have still not wakened to this reality. Rather they are fooling Indian by claiming that 100 days plan would be revealed very soon.

With this attitude and commitment, even the five year tenure would fall short to meet even a single promise made by the UPA government. This is more so for crucial issues pertaining to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that has been passing through a bad phase in India. The cyber law of India is weak and deficient and there is no National ICT Policy in India.

It would be better if the Congress led government takes some concrete and active steps in the direction of achieving its promises otherwise the remaining hopes would also dies sooner than the promised 100 day period.

E-Stamping In Assam

Assam is introducing electronic or e-stamping on an experimental basis in two districts this month as a first step towards pre-empting fraudulent dealings with stamp papers, which made Abdul Karim Telgi a millionaire in the nineties.

To get the procedure moving, Dispur will sign an memorandum of understanding with the Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), the agency mandated by the Centre to act as the apex record keeping agency for the pilot project, here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spamfighter Reports That India Is Facing Increasing Malware Attacks

According to Perry4Law, a leading Techno-Legal ICT company in India that recently conducted a research, attacks with malicious software are on the rise in the country. Also said the company this problem is sure to escalate even further as there is neither the political will nor a National ICT Policy to counter against it.

Besides, India lacks the required cyber security although many effective tools and software for cyber security are freely available on the Internet.

But it is worth noting that India is not devoid of the means to combat the menace, still the problem persists due to its lack of good specialists who could execute the government's various promises. Consequently, cyber law within the country is extremely ineffective and weak, the company said.

Moreover, the 2000 Information Technology Act requires an immediate modification for an effective fight against current cyber-crimes, suggests Perry4Law.

Also according to the company, hacking appears to be a trendy thing in India, since following a hack into the account of Rina Dhaka a Delhi-based designer, fraudulent e-mails were dispatched to her contacts. The e-mails stated that Ms. Dhaka, who had lost her wallet was stranded in London and so requested the recipient for a sum of $2,000 so that she could return home.

Soon after this, another similar scam e-mail circulated in the country when two other designers, Rahul Jain and Aruna Singh in Rajasthan were spoofed, apparently resembling the classic instance of Nigerian phishing and scam attack.

Meanwhile, a new research by Symantec confirms what Perry4Law observes i.e. India might become the principal country in activities with malware if there are no norms for cyber security pertaining to potential e-governance plans of the country.

However, despite alarming malware activities in India, failures of the country's e-governance have not allowed them to take catastrophic forms. Certainly, things would change, rather become scary as soon as Indian government would supply to the country's huge population, an "unprotected Internet connectivity."

Meanwhile, attacks with malware against the websites of Indian Government too have escalated tremendously. For instance during April 2009, the Department of Telecommunication website was reportedly infested with malware.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Proof Of The Pudding Is In The Eating

The latest update on the Website of Lok Sabha Secretariat will give you the impression that the present Union Minister for Textiles and former Minister of Information Technology and Communications Dayanidhi Maran still has his eyes set on the Ministry of IT and Communications! The Lok Sabha Website mentions that Maran's e-mail ID is still And interestingly one of his telephone numbers, at his Delhi residence, 011-23019191, is of the General Manager, BSNL, while his permanent residence number, 28122222 is of ICICI Prudential office in Chennai.

Though the official Website of the Ministry of Textiles has acknowledged that Maran is the new Union Minister for Textiles, it does not acknowledge the same in the organization chart which was last updated in April, 2009.

On exploring further, it was found that one of the phone numbers, which is supposed to be at the permanent residence of A. Raja, (04328) 277052, is in an eternal silence mode! Despite many attempts, it gives only a beeping sound followed by an 'unbreakable' silence.

Similarly, the mobile number of Sachin Pilot, the Minister of State for Information Technology, 9868180343, also gives 'this number does not exist' answer. However, all the contact details of Gurudas Kamat, the other State Minister, mentioned on the Lok Sabha website were working. But sadly enough, the Parliament seems to have not yet recognized his ministerial berth. His biography does not mention what he is now.

And coming to the websites of the security agencies, the story is not different either. The e-mail ID of Indian agencies fighting against economic crime ( through which general public can information to central agencies also not working.

We have a government that proudly speaks of bridging the digital divide and revolutionizing the country with e-Governance. But finally, when it comes to the government's own sites, if this is the pathetic condition, how do you expect poor Indians to have faith in them? Is it that charity does not begin at home? Or is it that the 'e' in e-Governance stands for eternal errors?



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Naveen Patnaik Means Business

While the 100 days agenda of Congress government is heading towards a “failure” yet Orissa is all set for socio-economic reforms. It would be a good idea if the Congress led government takes some clue from Orissa for effective implementation of various socio-economic policies. A special emphasis upon ICT policy and e-governance by Naveen Patnaik is really praiseworthy. It is apparent that Naveen Patnaik is not only serious about the election promises but is also taking active steps to get them implemented. This is the desired shift from promises to achievements that Congress is lacking presently.

In a bid to ensure that his government’s flagship programmes benefit the poor, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the secretaries of various departments to go to the villages instead of functioning from the State capital. The secretaries have also been asked to prepare a five-year prospective plan within 15 days in consultation with the ministers concerned. Naveen’s direction to secretaries came after he advised the BJD MLA s and ministers to work like servants of people, instead of trying to rule over them. Presiding over a meeting of all secretaries here today, the Chief Minister said that the objective of the prospective plan should be to realise the promises made by his party in its election manifesto.

Emphasising on e-governance, the Chief Minister asked the secretaries to ensure that each department should introduce the management information system (MIS) for better flow of information from gram panchayats to the State headquarters. While information technology has made it easier for online monitoring of development projects, MIS is an effective tool for monitoring the activities of field-level officials.

Field visits by secretaries have been made mandatory. Instead of making district-level review, as has been the practice till now, the Chief Minister said each secretary should go to the villages and interact with the people. From now onwards, the district visit of the secretaries will be videotaped, sources said.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Strengthening Police Forces

The next time an emergency strikes Kolkata, you could be spared the sight of sloppy, overweight lathi-wielding cops struggling with their outdated .303 rifles. By mid-June next year, Kolkata will have its own commando force — trained in counter-terrorism, armed with the latest weapons and aided by state-of-the-art surveillance instruments that are yet to be used anywhere in the country. What’s more, these commandos will move around in armoured vehicles — again a first for a city police force. Kolkata police is getting a whopping Rs 100 crore — along with Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai — as central grant for the security upgrade.


Friday, June 12, 2009

When The Part Rules The Whole

Have you ever heard that a part ruled the whole lot? This is happening in India. While the Congress led government is in power, but it seems to be “helpless” against the arm twisting techniques of its own allies. What is surprising is that Congress is limping when it can walk straight and without a dependency support. This weakness of Indian Congress is becoming a “major cause” for the “possible failure” of its 100 days Workplan. Now the only question that remains to be answered is would it also push Congress for another five year failures for India that it cannot afford? Till now there is nothing that shows that Congress is capable of making its promises a reality within the next 100 days. Does it also mean that the speech by the President of India would remain a speech alone?

When the United Progressive Alliance won almost an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha elections, many Indians expected firm, purposive governance in place of the earlier dithering when the Congress was constantly blackmailed by the Left, yet had to pretend to like it. But in less than a month, we now know that the new Congress-led government may just display as much spine as a jellyfish. The latest example of this is its decision not to sell any minority stakes in public sector undertakings (PSUs) located in Tamil Nadu.

This is not the first surrender. When the Cabinet was being formed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted A Raja out of the telecom ministry, but later gave in to DMK pressure on this. Yet we have the tail wagging the dog. Accommodation does not mean surrender. Congress is in a strong political position, and has no need to funk firm action. Alas, despite paying lip-service to the great ideal of socialism, it looks more yellow than pink.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Failures Of E-Governance in India

Very few words are more fanciful than the words electronic governance (e-governance). These words have a tendency to portray an image of all advanced Nation or capable manpower. But the bigger question is what is more important; the image or reality? We have to analyse this question in the light of e-governance in India and the efforts of Government of India to achieve the Herculean task of being an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled and capable Nation.

Let us peep into the mind of those who have a deeper insight of this “India Shining Syndrome” of Indian Government and Bureaucrats. According to Mr. Praveen Dalal, the Leading Techno-Legal ICT, Cyber Law, Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Specialist of India, “The Government and Indian Bureaucrats need to change their mindset and stress more upon outcomes and services rather than mere ICT procurement. India needs a services-based approach that is not only transparent but also backed by a more efficient and willing Government. Presently the Bureaucrats and Government of India are in a “resistance mode” towards novel and effective e-governance policies and strategies and they are merely computerising traditional official functions only. This is benefiting neither the Government nor the citizens and is resulting in wastage of thousands of crores of public money and UNDP/World Bank grants amount”.

The truth becomes more obscure in the maze of various reports and surveys, most of which are Government or its agencies/partners “sponsored”. The Bureaucratic incompetencies and lack of Governmental will only find support in high profile workshops and seminars where common man has neither an access nor a say. At the International level, however, India’s ranking is falling when it comes to basic prerequisites of e-governance, i.e. e-readiness, public-governmental interaction, public services, etc.

The Governmental will and leadership is missing in India. To worsen the situation the Government of India is concentrating more upon the image rather than upon the end results. The grassroot level action is missing and the benefits of ICT are not reaching to the under privileged and deserving masses due to defective ICT strategies and policies of Indian Government. India is suffering from the “vicious circle” of defective e-governance, as the basic input .i.e. governance itself is poor. India needs a “virtuous circle” of e-governance through good governance that would have multiplication and amplification effect upon e-governance efforts of Indian Government. We neither have a right nor would be we honest and true if we call ourselves an e-governance oriented Nation as even the basic “e-mail communications” with the Government of India, including Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), President, Ministry of Information Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, etc are “NEVER” replied back” says Mr. Praveen Dalal.

It is astonishing to know that the so called “e-governance experts” in the Bureaucratic and Governmental circles of India do not even know when and how to respond back to urgent and pressing public communications (e-mails). What is the benefit of attending and participating in high profile conferences and workshops in a cool and comfortable hotel room environment when the Citizen to Government (C2G) and Government to Citizen (G2C) wings of Indian e-governance are “missing”? The C2G and G2C are the core pillars of not only e-governance but electronic commerce (e-commerce) as well. The problem seems to “lack of accountability” among the Government Departments in India.

It is surprising that despite these “serious problems” the India Shining image is often portrayed when it come to e-governance in India. All these factors have resulted in the failures of e-governance in India.



SQL Attack Resulted In Data Loss Of More Than 100,000 Websites

A popular UK ISP has reportedly fallen victim to a large-scale cyber attack that led to data loss from as many as 100,000 websites through a virtualisation manager solution called HyperVM.

Back on Sunday, hackers broke into the security of by exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in its virtualisation software, the prominently used HyperVM from LXLabs, thereby allowing hackers to gain system access with root permissions.


Digital Rights Protection And Management Is Urgently Required In India

Counterfeiting and piracy have always remained a cause of concern for intellectual property rights (IPRs) holders. There are many solutions suggested for curbing the menace of counterfeiting and piracy in India. One of it is “digital rights protection” in India. However, the concept of digital rights has never been understood properly in India.

Experts believe that digital rights must not only be protected but they must also be managed properly. The same must be done in a techno-legal manner. Instead of imposing foreign models, India must formulate its own “techno-legal model” of digital rights protection and management, says Mr. Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India.

Entertainment Industry has always complained about the issues of piracy in India. In the absence of a law pertaining to entertainment industry in India, these concerns would always remain unresolved.

The problem has now starting taking its natural shape. Incidents of stealing signals from satellite have been reported in India. The entertainment industry is wary about these issues as presently there is neither a law nor technology in India to deal with these issues.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Techno-Legal Policies Cannot Be Achieved Within 100 Days Workplan of Indian Government

The Techno-Legal Policies of Indian government may not be achievable within the 100 Days Workplan. Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and leading techno-Legal Expert of India, opined that within a week of time span (100 days starting from 5th June, 2009) some of the “Promises” of the Indian government seems to be just “political jargon” alone.

The position is worst on the front of “Policies Formulation” especially on the front of Techno-Legal Policies and National ICT Policies of India. The cyber law of India is worst affected with the imposition of Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 upon Indian citizens despite their protests. Fortunately, the same is ineffective and not applicable till now as the same is not yet “notified” by the government.


Phishing Attacks On Rise In India

According to a recent research by India’s leading Techno-Legal ICT Firm Perry4Law, Malware attacks are increasing in India. The problem is bound to further increase in India as we have neither a National ICT Policy nor “political will” to fight against the same. India does not lack the resources to fight the same but we do not have good experts who can execute various promises made by the government. The end result is that cyber law in India is very weak and ineffective. The Information Technology Act, 2000 needs an immediate amendment to make it effective to fight the contemporary cyber crimes.

Hacking is in fashion in India, it seems. After Delhi-based designer Rina Dhaka had her account hacked, mails went out to all her contacts saying that she was stuck in London without her wallet and asked the recipient to send her $2000 to get back home. After that case came to light, it appears that a couple of Rajasthan-based designers, Aruna Singh and Rahul Jain, have also faced a similar problem.

This seems to be a classical case of Nigerian scam and phishing attack.

Indian Government 100 Days Workplan May Fail To Materialise

President of India has recently revealed the “Priorities of Indian Government in the next five years/100 days. However, there should be a political will and bureaucratic competencies to achieve these promises. The Indian Government must shift from promises to real achievements if it really wishes to achieve the 100 Days Promised Agenda.

Within a weak of time span (100 days starting from 5th June, 2009) some of the “Promises” of the Indian government seems to be just “political jargon” alone.

E-Governance In India: A Success Or A Failure?

Electronic Governance or E-governance, a fancy terminology that portrays an image of advanced Nation or capable workforce. The word is so magical and has the tendency to overpower everything else. But the question that has some more important aspect is: What matters most: Reality or an Image? The article is a sincere effort to make our readers aware of e-governance in India, its aspects and what all are the security norms for it? Which phase it is still in India?

Present Scenario:

India is flourishing, undoubtedly. It is on the track to be renowned as world leader and has the best IT work power globally. Still, India has to go distance to achieve the Herculean task of being an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled and capable Nation. It is high time that Indians should peep outside the “Indian Shining Syndrome”. The call of the hour is to understand the real meaning of e-governance and its implications. The deep insight in ICT regulations will unveil the hard facts that how we are in resistive modes till now. It is the time when the Government and Indian Bureaucrats need to change their opinions and lay pressure more upon outcomes and services rather than mere ICT procurement.

Required Strategic Developments:

Presently, country needs a service oriented approach that is transparent and supportive in terms of ICT applications and its outcomes. We need to be at receptive end rather than at resistive note. The Government should lend their ears to the novel ideas and should be pro active in implementing effective e-governance policies rather than just computerizing traditional official functions only.

Merely computerizing the functions is of no help to anyone. Rather, it is just the wastage of thousands of crores of public money and UNDP/World Bank grants amount. The truth becomes more vague in the maze of various reports and surveys, most of which are Government or its agencies/partners “sponsored”. At the International level, India lacks the basic prerequisites of e-governance, i.e. e-readiness, public-governmental interaction, public services, etc and hence mirrors the incompetency of bureaucrat and Government.

Adding to the misery is situation of Indian Government and its Bureaucrats who are more focused upon the image rather than upon the end results. The grassroot level action is missing and hence the benefits of ICT are not reaching to the under privileged and deserving masses due to defective ICT strategies and policies of Indian Government.

What Next?

To imply the e-governance initiatives rightfully, India needs a “virtuous circle” rather than “vicious circle” of defective e-governance. The deeper dive in this mess will show some more horrible results. Reports support the facts that the so called “e-governance experts” in the Bureaucratic and Governmental circles of India do not even know when and how to respond back to urgent and pressing public communications (e-mails).

Loopholes in Implementations:

India is lacking at the basic level of e-governance implications. It lacks the Citizen to Government (C2G) and Government to Citizen (G2C) wings that are the core pillars of not only e-governance but e-commerce as well. The problem is due to “lack of accountability” among the Government Departments. The National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) and E-governance in India have failed to achieve their motives. In short, there is a complete “ICT Failure in India”.

It is surprising that despite these “serious problems” the India Shining image is often portrayed when it come to e-governance in India.

Ading to the misery is reports by Symantec, security research firm that confirms India may emerge as the leader in Malware activities if the cyber security norms are not established for future e-governance initiatives of India. But, this can be a blessing in disguise as failure in implementation of e-governance in India have prevented security holes from being catastrophic.




Monday, June 8, 2009

Can India Wash The Blackspot Of Being Asia’s Most Corrupt Administration

Indian politicians and civil servants are rated to be the most corrupt persons according to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) released by Transparency International, (TI) the global body monitoring corruption in governance. Although the political and bureaucratic circles in India may not feel happy with this finding yet there is no doubt about the correctness of this finding. The question arises "can India wash the blackspot of being Asia’s most corrupt administration"? Also does the proposed statutory protection to the bureaucrats would make any difference in the absence of well defined responsibilities and accountabilities?

A well reported news item has also raised a very pertinent question regarding guaranteeing public service. It claims that while the idea of protecting bureaucrats seem to be worthwhile, it seem designed more to protect civil servants than to make sure that they do their job properly. Accountability to the public has to be ensured, in a measurable manner, with proper feedback systems do that bureaucratic incompetencies can be minimised.

Congress Previous Bad Policies Haunting It Now

Samajwadi Party and BSP, which are extending outside support to UPA government, on Monday attacked Congress and said its policies and programmes since independence had failed because of which India could not become a developed nation.

Participating in a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav specified agriculture, education, employment, healthcare, naxalism and foreign policy as the areas of failure under Congress rule.

He said even if 20 per cent of the programmes announced by the Congress governments during the last five decades had been implemented, the country would have become developed.


Government Plans To Scrap UGC, AICTE

The government plans to scrap the top two regulators of higher education in line with the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), the advisory body to the Prime Minister that has repeatedly called for the abolition of the regulatory regime in the education sector. A senior official of the ministry of human resource development said on condition of anonymity that the government will soon scrap the University Grants Commission, or UGC, and the All India Council for Technical Education, or AICTE. The two regulators, which oversee the functioning of universities and engineering and business schools in India, have often received flak for restrictive policies and sometimes opaque functioning.


Educational Reforms In India Unlikely

The government of India has announced major educational reforms in India. However, in a “corruption ailed environment” this seems to be a dream alone. Before bringing any educational reforms the government must curb the increasing corruption levels at the school, university and UGC level. Without that it is like beating wind with a stick. If the HRD Ministry is really serious it must start taking stringent actions at all the level that is presently missing. This means educational reforms in India are unlikely to happen.

India's education sector is heating up -- to scalding point. But the cash-strapped Indian government, which far overshot its budget in the last fiscal year to March, is more likely to spend on basic infrastructure such as school buildings and not on advanced facilities like e-learning and computer services in schools.

As for reforms, they remain a distant possibility. Current rules bar private investment in primary and secondary schools, whether government-owned or private, because education is designated as a not-for-profit sector. In this context, betting on education isn't such a good thing.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

BJP Would Also Keep A Track Of Promises Made By Indian Government

It seems after Perry4Law, it is now BJP turn to keep a “track” of the recent promises made by President of India. Perry4Law has been providing its analysis of the policies and strategies of Government of India from time to time. Describing the Presidential address as a "charter of promises", main Opposition party BJP on Thursday said it would keep a close watch on whether these were being implemented by the government or remained mere assurances.

Although details from Perry4Law are not available yet the hints already provided clearly show that the “critical analysis” would be made by Perry4Law of the Governmental Polices in general and their “Techno-Legal” aspects in particular. Significant analyses have already been made by Perry4Law regarding the following:

(a) Legal Enablement of ICT Systems in India,

National ICT Policy of India,

Open Government Policy In India,

Bifurcation of Composite Government Departments,

Political Will and Bureaucratic Incompetencies, etc.

A special emphasis would be given by Perry4Law to analyse the “performance” of Government of India (GOI) regarding e-governance in India in general and projects like e-courts in India, mission mode projects under the NEGP, etc in particular.

As far as the “starting of performance period of 100 days” is concerned, Perry4Law has excluded 4th June, 2009 from the number of days to be calculated. Keep a track of the techno-legal analysis of Perry4Law of these 100 days.



Securing India

ON his first day in office after returning to the North Block, Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced that there would a second 100-day plan, beginning June 1, aimed at protecting the nation from terrorism. The announcement was at the instance of the Prime Minister, and would be analogous to the one that Chidambaram had implemented on moving to the Ministry of Home Affairs from the Ministry of Finance prior to the Lok Sabha elections and in the aftermath of the November 26 terror strike in Mumbai.

Chidambaram has said that there would now be a monthly report on tasks completed so as to facilitate public evaluation of his Ministry’s performance. This is unmistakably a Harvard-educated Home Minister’s management approach to looking at the nation’s woes on the criminal justice front. This is an unexceptionable workplan, except that it is likely to be assailed by cynics as too academic a view of a complex problem that hardly rendered itself to a classroom exercise.


Can The Congress Led Government Curb Corruption In India?

Indian politicians and civil servants are rated to be the most corrupt persons according to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) released by Transparency International, (TI) the global body monitoring corruption in governance. Although the political and bureaucratic circles in India may not feel happy with this finding yet there is no doubt about the correctness of this finding.

Some ray of hope has been shown by the President of India through her speech yet the Congress led Government is still not “absolutely free” to implement the laudable objectives mentioned in this speech.

Concerns have been raised in the recent past regarding “consolidated departments” of the Government of India yet Congress led Government is helpless to “accommodate” the members of its “allies” to crucial posts.

The best option seems to be the one suggested by Mr. Praveen Dalal that the government departments must be given full autonomy with a “check” by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) or similar body. This way Congress led Government can keep both the citizens of India and their allies happy.

While the inability and dependency of the Government can be well understood due to the very nature of a collation Government, the position can be improved to a great extent if the Government makes bureaucracy more competent, efficient, honest, fair and people friendly. India seems to be the only place in the World that pays bureaucrats for “non-working”. Interestingly, even the Government is aware about this sardonic situation but it is not willing do much except giving moral advice.

With a new and strong Congress led Government at the Center, it is high time to start cleaning Congress’s “own home first” before talking about economic and social reforms in India.


Indian Government May Review Appointment Process In Indian Judiciary

The foul smell of corruption is increasingly enveloping the temples of justice, popularly referred to as courts. Almost everyone is aware of the level of corruption in the lower stream of justice. But, the screamers about instances of corruption in the higher judiciary appear to have forced the government and the CJI to look afresh for an effective antidote. The common refrain is that there is something virulently wrong with the present process of selection of judges for the higher judiciary -- the high courts and the Supreme Court. For long, the Executive had this grouse that India was the only country where judges appoint their peers through a secretive method called consultation among the judges forming part of the Collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India.


Government Websites In India Are Down

National Informatics Center (NIC) of India is down and out once again. NIC India is managing the websites of almost all the government departments in India. Techno-Legal Experts have been suggesting for a “decentralisation” of this function of NIC because if the NIC is down all governmental works are stopped. Presently, all the government sites like department of information technology (DIT), department of telecommunications (DOT), etc are down. Mr. Praveen Dalal has suggested to the GOI to start inducting good skilled people for meeting its promises. The GOI must also reminisce the “causes” for the “First Casualty” of its 100 Days Workplan.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Environmentalists Supports Perry4Law For E-Waste Legislation In India

The need for National ICT Policy in India has becoming urgent day by day. Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law, has been suggesting for the same from a long period of time. There is a dire need to formulate National ICT Policy in India that must address the issues like legal enablement of ICT systems in India, cyber security in India, developing cyber forensics capabilities in India, ICT training of lawyers, judges and police personnel in India, managing the environmental issues of e-waste in India, establishment of e-courts in India, formulating strong cyber laws in India, etc.

Recently, Greenpeace India, Toxics Link and the Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology (MAIT) have also supported the demand for separate legislation for e-waste management in India.

Even the recent 100 days agenda of the Government of India (GOI) includes “environmental protection” as one of the priority areas. It would be interesting to observe how the GOI would meet the menace of e-waste in India.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Will Indian Government Act Upon Its Promises?

Recently the BJP has announced that it would keep a close watch on the promises made by the Congress led Government. This is really a very good step to not only maintain “Democracy” but also to keep “Checks and Balances” upon the ruling Government so that it may not pass Legislations in a “Casual Manner” as it did during the December, 2008 session of the Parliament.

Perry4Law would also “Systematically Analyse” the Policies and Strategies of GOI for its five year tenure in general and 100 days promised period in particular.

DHS Advisory Council Roped In Jeff Moss For Strengthening Cyber Security

Forget the new cyber security czar position that President Barack Obama announced last week. The real sign that the White House might be finally taking cyber security seriously came in an announcement on Friday that Jeff Moss, aka “Dark Tangent” and the former hacker behind the annual DefCon hacker confab in Las Vegas, has been appointed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council (HSAC).


CVC Registers Complaint Against UGC Chairman

Facing flak in the last few days, more trouble seems to be in store for UGC chairman S K Thorat with the Central Vigilance Commission registering a complaint against him on a series of allegations ranging from his involvement in pushing through Rs 224 crore e-governance project, corruption in grant of deemed university status and misusing UGC's resources to run his own institute Indian Institute of Dalit Studies.


Indian Government’s 100 Days Workplan Under Scanner

Perry4Law has been providing the “Critical Analysis” of the Governmental Policies from time to time. It has also decided to “Systematically Analyse” the Policies and Strategies of GOI for its five year tenure in general and 100 days promised period in particular. A special attention would be given to techno-legal issues including e-governance in India, legal enablement of ICT systems in India, cyber law in India, cyber security in India, cyber forensics in India, e-courts in India, etc. Similarly, special attention would be given to policy issues pertaining to information and communication technology (ICT).

Fortunately, BJP has announced that it would also keep a close watch on the promises made by the Congress led Government. A good strategy for BJP would be to keep ready its own ideas and policies that are not only sensible but also good alternatives for the proposed policies by the government. With this we can hope for better laws and effective and transparent governance in India.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wrong Cyber Crime Prosecutions Is becoming a Trend in India

This article analyzes the disturbing trend in India of launching prosecution against cyber crimes on the basis of laws that do not exist. A clarification from the Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the Government of India was sought in this regard but there was no reply. The net result is that we are witnessing prosecutions that are not justified by any law in India. This situation shows that there is a dire need of training of police personnel that is presently missing all over India. Cyber crimes require good techno-legal knowledge that is presently missing. We have to do much more than mere “declarations of sufficiency” and claim of opening of cyber crimes police stations and cells.

The Mumbai police registered a case of “cyber terrorism” when a threat email was sent to the BSE and NSE. It can proudly claim to be the first in the State since an amendment to the Information Technology Act has been proposed. The bigger question is how can police consider, much less utlilze, the provisions of a law that has “not come into force yet”? Till the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 is “notified” by the Central Government under section 1(2) of the proposed amendments, the amendments cannot come into force. And till the amendments cannot come into force, we cannot apply the provisions contained in it. Then how come the Mumbai police is booking the accused under the amended law?



Tech Savvy Police Station In Mumbai: The Reality

Cyber law awareness is missing not only among the general public but also among the police force and media personnel. The biggest challenge before the police is to get itself acquainted with the basic cyber law of India. It is senseless to claim themselves trained in cyber law when they are not even aware what the India cyber law is all about. Even the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Government of India (GOI) are “responsible” for “deliberately misleading” the people, media and police force.

Perhaps law enforcement in India is “too much trained” for cyber law and cyber crimes and hence applying their own laws and notions to cases that does not attract these stringent provisions at all. It seems the Mumbai police and its partner NASSCOM needs at, least 5 more years to acquaint themselves with the basics of cyber law of India. As far as techno-legal expertise is concerned, that may remain a dream forever.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Open Government Policy In India Is Required

The need of “public initiatives” to fill the policy vacuum in India was long felt. Policies making and their implementation is a governmental task. There is always a big gap between the desired policies and actual policies that are in existence. This, naturally, affects the Nation at large but its consequences are mostly borne by the citizens of that Nation. Although there are many policy lapses in India but the most glaring among them are those pertaining to Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Last week, the White House launched an unprecedented online process for public engagement in policymaking. It began with a week of brainstorming in which the public shared almost 900 submissions and 33,000 votes on various ideas ranging from strategies for making government data more accessible to legal and policy impediments to transparency.

While this is the first of its kind in America, India has been benefited by “public policy making” for long. This is more so regarding the “techno-legal ICT regulations” in India where Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing partner of Perry4Law, has contributed significantly. The latest policy suggested by him is “National ICT Policy of India” that mentions some of the parameters that should be included in the national policy of India.

It seems America has taken a cue from the activities happening in India but Indian government is not interested in taking the external help. There is no doubt that India lack critical policies in the sphere of ICT and it is high time that the “Public Initiatives Model” of Perry4Law must be adopted by it in the larger interest of India.