Sunday, January 26, 2014

Indian Online Gaming Industry Is Maturing Says Perry4Law

Online gaming industry in India is fast maturing and it is moving towards a consolidation. Both regulatory environment and business mood is hinting towards a positive report about online gaming industry of India. As the online gaming business essentially involves use of information and communication technology (ICT), certain legal precautions are essential to be observed.

For instance, both e-commerce players and online gaming entrepreneurs must strictly follow cyber law due diligence in India (Pdf). Presently neither the e-commerce players nor the online gaming entrepreneurs are observing the cyber law due diligence requirements except a selective few one. Of course, we have entrepreneurs like Laxmicoin that has decided to wait for clear regulatory requirements rather than engaging in illegal online business. Even the corporate environment in India is fast changing.

Till now we have no dedicated online gaming and gambling laws in India. This has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear among the online gaming entrepreneurs in India. This is also the reason why very few players have entered into the online gaming arena of India.

For instance, legality of online poker in India is still a grey area. It is neither legal nor illegal. Just like Bitcoins exchanges operating in India, online poker websites operating in India can be either legal or illegal. It all depends how an online poker website is managed in India. If it is complying with all the applicable laws and regulations, it is legal to play online poker otherwise it is illegal.

Governments around the world are trying to regulate online gaming and gambling activities. Recently, the United Kingdom asked the Internet service providers (ISPs) to insert warning pages for unlicensed gambling websites. However, the ISPs refused to comply with this demand. Similarly, Singapore is planning to ban online gaming and enact laws in this regard. India is also planning an anti match fixing law that may cover online betting as well.

On the other hand, governments are also trying to liberalise the online gaming segment. The U.K. Gaming (Licensing and Advertising) Bill has passed the third reading in the House of Commons. Similarly, a good start for Internet and online gambling in New Jersey has already taken place and there are very good signs that online poker would be allowed in United States very soon.

Back in India the regulatory environment for online gaming is fast changing. Games like poker and rummy are finding support of both community and legal and judicial fraternity. According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based IT law firm Perry4Law, the High Courts in India are protecting “Games of Skills” from the Criminal actions. Recently, the Bangalore High Court in Kirana S v. State of Karnataka Criminal Petition No. 76482013 (Pdf) held that playing Rummy is not a Criminal Offence as it involved “Application of Skills”, inform Dalal. In fact, another related matter is pending before the Supreme Court of India and the Judgment of Supreme Court would decide the fate of Online Gaming Industry of India, opines Dalal.

It seems this is a good time to start online gaming businesses in India However, before doing so it would be a prudent exercise to consult a good techno legal law firm regarding regulatory compliances as any deviance may create troubles for the entrepreneurs.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cyber Law Of India Must Be Scrapped Says Praveen Dalal

Law and technology are never on the same page. While law takes its own time to formulate and mature yet technology marches at a speed much beyond the law to catch and grasp. The same is happening in the case of Indian cyber law.

In the year 2000 a regulatory framework was introduced by Indian parliament to regulate transactions in the Indian cyberspace. India was new to this field and it considered the models suggested by foreign countries. That is well understandable as at that point of time India lacked the expertise in this regard.

However, what is frustrating is that even after 13 years of enactment of the information technology act, 2000, Indian parliament still lacks the techno legal expertise to enact a proper cyber law. According to media reports, the cyber law of India is in a bad condition. The Indian cyber law has started showing signs of decaying cyber law legislation rather than a maturing enactment. Even the techno legal experts have expressed their dissatisfaction with the present cyber law of India.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of Asia, the Cyber Law of India should be repealed. According to Dalal, the present Cyber Law of India is suffering from many Irregularities and Unconstitutionalities. He believes that the Cyber Law of India must be scrapped and dedicated laws must be enacted for various fields like Cyber Law, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, E-Governance, etc.

These concerns are valid and genuine. The information technology act started as a piece of legislation for e-commerce and e-governance. Now it is transformed into an instrumentality of state oppression and e-surveillance. However, the real problem is how Indian parliament would enact these techno legal frameworks that required sound techno legal expertise that is presently missing.

Many provisions of the IT Act 2000 are violative of civil liberties protection in cyberspace. Some of the rules and regulations made under the IT Act, 2000 are already challenges before none other than the Supreme Court of India. It would be only prudent if Indian government scraps the IT Act, 2000 and come up with constitutionally valid legal framework.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Experts Say That Implementation Is The Main Hurdle Before Indian Cyber Security

India has been trying to get its cyber security infrastructure proper and up to date. India has also formulated the cyber security policy, 2013 to assert its seriousness about cyber security. However, cyber security in India is still in a bad shape despite all these efforts of Indian government. So what is the problem that is plaguing Indian cyber security initiatives?

According to experts although the national cyber security policy of India has been declared yet it still to have to achieve a lot. The biggest hurdle before the Indian cyber security initiatives is the lack of implementation of various cyber security polices and strategies as formulated from time to time.

Take the example of the recent declaration of establishment of a cyber command force for armed forces of India. This is the second time such a declaration has been made by Indian government. Similarly, declaration about putting in place a cyber crisis management plan of India has been made from time to time. However, till now we have no implementable cyber attacks crisis management plan of India.

It seems the necessary will power to execute various cyber security initiatives of India is missing. Similarly, the offensive and defensive cyber security capabilities of India are also missing. Indian government must consider all these aspects and come up with implementable cyber security initiatives.

India Must Regulated The Unregulated E-Commerce Says Law Firm Perry4Law

Any business without regulation would create more troubles than solutions. The same is unfortunately happening in the case of e-commerce. Since e-commerce was a new filed in India, it was logical to give it some time to settle. However, the information technology act, 2000 was enacted more than a decade ago and this is sufficient time for allowing the e-commerce to function in India almost in an unregulated manner.

However, some heavy weight legal experts have thrown their weight against such unregulated e-commerce activities in India. According to Asia’s exclusive techno legal ICT law firm Perry4Law, India must suitably regulate e-commerce activities in India.

Fortunately, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India released a Discussion Paper (Pdf) on e-commerce in India.  The paper has endorsed the views and suggestions provided by Perry4Law regarding regulation of e-commerce in India.

The paper has also endorsed the view of Perry4Law that legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India also involve compliance with other laws like Contract Law, Indian Penal Code, etc. Further, online shopping in India also involves compliance with the banking and financial norms applicable in India.

The paper also cautioned the online payment providers on the exact line as have been done by Perry4Law. It also gave the same example of Paypal as provided by Perry4Law and states that if PayPal has to allow online payments receipt and disbursements for its existing or proposed e-commerce activities, it has to take a license from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in this regard. Further, cyber law due diligence (Pdf) for Paypal and other online payment transferors in India is also required to be observed.

Foreign e-commerce companies have been lobbying in India to make Indian e-commerce business regulation free. However, Indian government should not succumb to the pressure tactics and lobbying by these foreign companies.

It is high time for Indian government to take a strong stand against the arbitrariness and lawlessness by which the Indian e-commerce industry is suffering. The sooner this is done the better it would be for the larger interest of Indian consumers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Is Bitcoin Legal In India?

The Bitcoin saga of India has finally reached a stage where it is pertinent to answer a very crucial question. The question asks is Bitcoin legal in India? Bitcoins emerged as a preferential investment in India in the year 2013. However, the legality of Bitcoins in India was always in doubts.

This is more so when Perry4Law, the best techno legal firm in Asia, threw its weight against the open and unregulated use of Bitcoins in India. The cyber law trends of India 2013 by ICT law firm Perry4Law has cautioned (PDF) that Bitcoins websites may further face legal actions if they fail to comply with Indian laws in the year 2014.

To say the minimum Bitcoins are governed by many laws that are indirectly applicable to its dealings and transactions in India. For instance, the IT Act 2000 prescribes cyber law due diligence in India and the Internet intermediary liability in India. These cyber laws due diligence and Internet Intermediary requirements squarely apply to use of Bitcoins in India. Further, money laundering, foreign exchange and security dealing laws also apply to Bitcoins dealings and trading in India.

For too long regulatory authorities of India, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), remained moot spectators in the hope that Bitcoins would themselves provide a solution to their regulatory problems. However, this myth of RBI immediately became apparent the moment regulation of Bitcoins in India was demanded due to growing misuse of Bitcoins for illegal activities.

As the pressure mounted, the RBI cautioned users of virtual currencies against various risks including legal risks. Soon after the cautious advisory, the enforcement directorate (ED) swung into action and raided two Bitcoins websites and their offices. ED believes that Bitcoins money can be used for hawala transactions and funding terror operations and this seems to be a legally plausible explanation as well.

As on date the Bitcoins websites in India are under regulatory scanner and are vulnerable to all sorts of legal actions. In fact, Seven Digital Cash LLP is already facing legal risks for dealing in Bitcoins in India.

The Bitcoin entrepreneurs may feel that Bitcoins dealings in India are not illegal but this does not mean that they are legal as well. According to Perry4Law what it means is that till the position is cleared by clear cut regulations and norms, Bitcoin dealings would be regulated by existing laws and regulations. Thus, in their own interest, Bitcoin entrepreneurs must comply with existing laws. Otherwise they may be prosecuted by Indian authorities.