Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ICT Policy Of India Needs Rejuvenation

Information and communication (ICT) related policy matters are always ignored in India. Experts have been advocating for the rejuvenation of ICT polices and strategies in India. However, despite all glamour and big fuss, nothing concrete and substantial has been achieved in India. The fact is that e-infrastructure and e-governance in India are in really bad shape.

The role of Indian department of information technology (DIT) and Indian department of telecommunications (DOT) is far from satisfactory. Till now India does not have an “ICT Vision”. All Indian decisions regarding ICT are ignorant, half hearted, corruption laden, transparency lacking and retrograde in nature.

Whether it is lawmaking or policy formulation, ICT is an ignored field. Indian government is least bothered to rectify this position and Parliament of India seldom interferes in this process.

Further, in matters of cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, judicial training, law enforcement training, etc there is a complete failure in India. For instance, India has cyber criminal friendly and impotent cyber law, meager cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities, excessive e-surveillance, absence of privacy and data protection laws, rampant corruption, absence of transparency and many more vices.

We do not have an ICT Policy that can cater the requirements of these fields. All we have are thousands of unfulfilled promises by our ruling government where no action has been taken upon them since decades.

It is high time for the government of India to formulate and implement good, effective and transparent ICT policies and strategies in India. DIT and DOT must at least now play some pro active role in this regard.

Cyber Law Of India Needs Urgent Amendments Says Praveen Dalal

India’s sole cyber law was enacted in the year 2000 in the form of information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000). The same was a good beginning and it was expected that the law would be upgraded and refined from time to time. However, till 2008 nothing positive happened. In fact, in year 2008 the information technology amendment act 2008 (IT Act 2008) was introduced and in 2009 it became an enforceable law.

This was the most retrograde and repressive step taken by India towards making it a safe heaven for cyber criminals, says Praveen Dalal. By making a dominant majority of cyber crimes “bailable”, India has made its cyberspace a safe heaven for cyber criminals, warns Dalal.

As a natural consequence, e-commerce and e-governance in India have been badly affected. E-infrastructure and e-governance are in doldrums, Internet banking risks are increasing unchecked in India, cyber crimes are increasing and so on.

So what is the solution for this mess created by Indian government? In the opinion of Praveen Dalal, the electronic economy of India is suffering badly due to weak and ineffective laws on the one hand and ill informed and defective ICT policies on the other hand. He maintains that India must concentrate upon enacting sufficient and effective cyber laws on the one hand and formulating and implementing an effective ICT Policy on the other hand. Further, there is an absolute requirement of formulating lawful electronic communications interception law in India as present framework is not constitutionally sound, suggests Dalal.

But these objectives seem to be too good to achieve considering the past experience of India. For instance, the IT Act 2008 made the cyber law of India impotent and weak under the pressure from industrial lobbying. Similarly, the way home ministry and department of information technology (DIT) or/and department of telecommunications (DOT) are becoming paranoid regarding e-surveillance, these objective seem to be a distant reality in India.