Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Irrational Cyber Laws Of The World

The Google’s episode regarding China’s censorship shows the growing hunger of various nations for Internet censorship and e-surveillance. India is no different from China when it comes to “Internet Censorship” and “E-Surveillance”, though the extent and degree may be somewhat lesser. The Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole cyber law of India that was amended by the Information Technology Act 2008 (IT Act 2008). From here starts the real problem.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India, “The IT Act 2008 made India a “Safe Heaven” for cyber criminals on the one hand and an “Endemic E-Surveillance Society” and “Internet Censorship State” on the other hand. It seems the main aim of the proposed IT Act 2008 was to strengthen the “Internet Censorship” and “E-Surveillance Capabilities” of India.

With the passage of IT Act 2008 India has now officially become an endemic e-surveillance society. The amendments have provided unregulated, unconstitutional and arbitrary e-surveillance and Internet censorship powers to Government of India and its agencies and instrumentalities, says Praveen Dalal. The fact is that India has become an E-Police State, states the ICT Trends of India 2009.

Surprisingly, Minister of State for Communication Sachin Pilot believes that Indian cyber law is strong enough to meet the challenges posed by technology-assisted terrorism and cyber-terrorism. It seems he has not gone through the present IT Act 2000 after its 2008 amendments.

Some observers in India have rejoiced the exit of Google from China believing that it may be a good opportunity for India. However, they fail to understand the “ground reality” that India is no different from China when it comes to Internet Censorship and E-Surveillance. If India does not abdicate its alliance to Internet censorship and e-surveillance similar incidence may happen in India as well.

Cyber Security Initiatives Of Home Ministry Of India Are Insufficient

Cyber security in India has always remained an “ignored world” and the same must be strengthened as soon as possible. India is also suffering from the menaces of cyber war and cyber terrorism. Nobody cares about any of these threats in India. In April 2008, Indian intelligence agencies detected Chinese hackers breaking into the computer network of the Ministry of External Affairs. Similarly, for about 3 months the e-mail communications from PMO got affected as the e-mail system was affected by a virus program. With the highest offices of India being so indifferent and adopting wrong cyber security strategies not much can be expected in this crucial direction in future as well.

Recently it was reported that the Chinese intelligence agencies may have planted computer malware and broken into the headquarters of 33 Corps, the army formation looking after most of the north-eastern border with China. The break-in included the planting of trojan viruses which may have given Chinese operatives remote access to the computer network at the 33 Corps headquarters in Sukhna, near Siliguri, West Bengal.

The Union Home Ministry is considering the option to ban the use of Internet by the lower rank staff up to section officers. Many computers of the Home Ministry were found infected with different kinds of computer viruses. However, does this step increase the cyber security of Indian offices?

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India, “Home Ministry is barking the wrong tree as security through obscurity and non-access in itself and without further steps is a bad choice. The Government of India must concentrate upon “Capacity Development” of not only its employees but also its core Departments and Offices”.

Another crucial aspect related to a secure and strong cyber security in India pertains to critical ICT infrastructure protection in India. Critical infrastructure is becoming increasingly dependent upon ICT these days. If we are unable to secure an ICT system we are also risking critical ICT infrastructure as well, says Praveen Dalal.

Indian government must concentrate upon many crucial aspects of cyber security. The task is difficult and time consuming hence it must start seeking the help of the right and capable manpower as soon as possible.