Saturday, May 16, 2009

India Is Transforming into Endemic E-Surveillance Society

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) must be used as a tool of development rather than as a means of harassment. Excessive and illegal e-surveillance eliminates the chances of effective use of ICT on the one hand and operates as an opponent of e-governance on the other. E-governance presupposes a free, fair and transparent public dealing in the cyberspace. Of late India has been treading on the wrong path of becoming an excessive surveillance State rather being a technology knowledge driven society. The only solace comes from the fact that the recent unconstitutional Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (Act 2008) has not been imposed upon Indian citizens through the essential "notification" and the same would be withdrawn and reformulated by the new Government in all probabilities.



Living In An ICT World Where Ignorance Is The Bliss

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a real enabler that improves the efficiency and brings transparency and accountability. However, in the Indian context the same has failed to get the desired results. This is because the Governmental corridors have no place for ICT and there is no accountability of those who are managing the ICT.

The self contradictory shades of Indian ICT skills and expertise is really amusing. While Indian citizens are famous for their expertise and professional skills yet Indian Government and bureaucrats are infamous for their ignorance. The latest example being the proposed Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (Act 2008). Initially the lack of knowledge and insight was attributable to a self-claimed cyber law observer named Na Vijayshanker (Naavi) who claimed that the proposed Act has been “notified”. While Naavi being a non-lawyer with no knowledge about law at all and limited knowledge about cyber law and techno-legal issues yet Indian bureaucrats like Dr. Gulshan Rai must not show ignorance about the law making process and its coming into force. Even a query to clarify the issue remained unanswered.


Legal Enablement Of ICT Systems In India Is Urgently Required

Legal enablement of ICT systems in India requires a futuristic approach that can be achieved by acquiring techno-legal insight by the law makers. The most important requirement for achieving the same is an awareness and acceptance of the benefits of ICT by the policy and law makers in India. The “political will” is required to ensure a timely and appropriate legal enablement of ICT systems in India. There is also a requirement to reduce the wide existing corruption, lack of transparency and accountability, bureaucratic hurdles, etc in India. These vices are eliminating the chances of India becoming an ICT super power.

India needs good e-governance models, sound cyber law, effective cyber security, cyber forensics capabilities, etc to achieve the task of legal enablement of ICT systems. The industrial lobbying and vested interests have really brought a situation where India has started to fall back upon the ICT developmental path. Various International reports and surveys have shown that India’s e-governance, e-readiness, transparency, privacy rights, data protection, etc have deteriorated further.