Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Digital Preservation In India Needs Reforms

Digital Preservation (DP) in India has not received the attention that it deserves. There is neither a regulatory framework for the same nor is it pursued with any seriousness under the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of the department of information technology (DIT), India. In the absence of ICT policy of India, digital preservation has still to cover a long gap.

The only solace is that a national digital preservation programme (NDPP) of India has been launched by Indian government. However, the NDPP seems to have stagnated with no development happening in this regard.

The DP initiatives of India are facing many road blocks that are preventing them from materialising in India. For instance, intellectual property rights (IPRs) are commonly found conflicting with DP initiatives. Further, with the rapid advancement of technology day by day, old applications and methods are becoming obsolete. We need to upgrade them from time to time. We also need to change form of various IPRs protected works from one form to another. This sometimes results in IPRs violations.

In short, IPRs issues in the digital era and cyber space are difficult to manage and we need both good policies and laws to manage the same effectively.

According to Praveen Dalal, advocate Supreme Court of India and leading cyber law expert of India, "DP issues would become more complicated with the enactment of laws like Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998 (DMCA). Efforts are in the pipeline for adoption of an efficient Digital Rights Management (DRM) system in India. This seems to be a step in the direction of protecting fast-growing Indian digital entertainment and media industry. However, in the absence of good ICT Policy and effective legal framework, these initiatives may not produce the desired results, suggests Dalal.

The stagnation of the NDPP cannot be removed till the government of India takes some active steps in the direction of utilising the services of experts who are familiar with this aspect. Till now no such serious efforts have been undertaken by Indian government.

DIT India Must Be Accountable To PMO

Ever since India has associated itself with information and communication technology (ICT), it has gained a lot in terms of reputation, money, projects, etc. However, India’s dominant position has almost slipped away from its hands thanks to the corruption, lack of accountability and absence of transparency in e-governance initiatives of India. India has become technologically bankrupt due to these factors.

The department of information technology of India (DIT India) has received vast amount of autonomy, finance and powers. However, it failed to bring home the much needed expertise, results and success. The chief reason for the same is that the prime minister’s office (PMO) does not care to look into the matters, policies and laws made by the DIT India.

No time in the past the prime minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh took any preventive and stern action against the falling standards of DIT. Being the prime minister of India, it is his primary responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in all departments or ministries.

Some serious issues that PMO must urgently address are:

(1) Formulation of effective and sound ICT Policy of India,

(2) Formulation of effective cyber laws of India,

(3) Ensure enactment of a lawful interception law in India,

(4) Ensure enactment of privacy laws and data protection in India,

(5) Ensure good and effective cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities, etc.

These are some of the ICT related issues that the PMO must urgently consider before it is too late. Further, although the PMO is busy in many others, perhaps more important tasks, yet the situation has become so alarming that if immediate steps are not taken, PMO may have to answer some bitter questions in future.

Cyber Law Of India Requires Amendments Says Praveen Dalal

Cyber law of India is governed by information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000). It is good step in the right direction but with passage of time it has become redundant and burdensome. Although a chance was given to the department of information technology (DIT) India yet it failed to utilise the same.

According to Praveen Dalal, Supreme Court Advocate and leading Cyber Law Specialist of India, the information technology amendment act 2008 (IT Act 2008) further diluted the criminal sanctions against cyber criminals. By making many of the cyber crimes “bailable”, the amendments have diluted the deterrent effect of the cyber law of India.

While countries all over the world are strengthening their cyber laws, India on the other hand is going in the opposite direction. What is more surprising is how Law Ministry of India in general and Veerappa Moily in particular approved such a distorted and undesirable law. By approving these damaging amendments, Law Ministry has done more harm to the cyber infrastructure of India.

So what is the solution for this undesirable position? According to Praveen Dalal the only solution seems to make proper, contemporary and relevant amendment sin the IT Act, 2000 of India. Since it is the primary responsibility of the Legislative Department of Law Ministry to update laws, the initiative must start from their side, suggests Dalal.