Thursday, May 21, 2009

Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009 Is Required

Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (Act 2008) has recently amended the only cyber law of India, i.e. Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). The same has “not been notified yet”. This means for all practical purposes the IT Act, 2000 still governs the position.

Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law, has suggested that the Congress led Government must openly declare that the Act 2008 would be given a “fresh look” in the forthcoming Parliament session. With issues like cyber terrorism, cyber security, cyber forensics, hacking, wireless hacking, phishing, spam, child pornography, etc troubling India, a casual and weak law would not serve the purpose.

He maintains that with a clear majority, the Congress led Government would be in a better position to make proper laws this time. There are great chances that Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009 (Act 2009) would be introduced by the Parliament very soon that would amend the IT Act, 2000/Act 2008 further.

Although India took an “early advantage” of enacting a cyber law yet it “failed to keep pace” with the contemporary requirements. The industry lobbying has kept it soft, weak and criminal friendly. The proposed Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 has further complicated the scenario as it has suggested a cyber law framework that is not conducive for India.

Fortunately, the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 has “not been notified” yet. Even Dr. Gulshan Rai of Department of Information Technology (DIT) has “not confirmed” that the amendments have been notified. This gives the new Government and next Parliament in session a chance to “rectify the mistake” they have commited in the recent past.

The speed of cyber law reforms in India is really worrisome. With the present speed and expertise, even countries that have just enacted cyber laws would overtake India in this field. There is an emergent need for the new Government and next Parliament to give these issues a serious thought. The cyber law of India in general and legal enablement of ICT systems in India in particular needs rejuvenation as soon as possible.