Recommendations for amendments to IT Act 2000

While taking classes for Ecommerce, I read the Information Technology Act 2000 of India. It was a nice first step to recognize and support electronic commerce and ebusiness for Govt. of India .. But with the recent developments in IT field, the Act is missing some points. .. I try to point out those and I believe that these should be heard ..
A disclaimer : I am not a lawyer so I cant argue on legal fine points..

Conception :
The President of India signed and approved the Information Technology Act (IT Act) on 9 June 2000. It’s a fine piece of legilslation which recognize digital signature and ebusiness.. It also supports e governance. But many things have changed since then and it is needed to accommodate those changes in the IT Act.. These are some of my humble findings :..

Expansion scope :
      With the technology and communication boom, the mobile phones have quickly made their presence inevitable in today’s life. While the IT Act ‘s definition of computers can accommodate mobile phones too, but I still think making explicit declaration of mobile phones and handhelds to be covered under this act will be fine. .. So the offences involving mobile phones be also covered under this act… So if any case happens like Paris Hilton’s cellphone hack, it could also be covered with this act. ..

The need for Anti Spam policies :
      With email and sms becoming such popular, unsolicited mails and sms have also grown rapidly .. We should make an anti spam law apropos CanSpam Act which will ensure that these unsolicited mails or sms are dealt with .. There should be a national “Do not email” and “Do not call” registry and the address listed there shouldn’t be sent spam emails or sms …

The need for Privacy policies :
      With camera phones becoming more common, events like Kareena & Shahid kissing video mms will increase too .. Now without getting into voyeurism debate, I would like to point out the digital aspect of the problem. Any information can be distributed or shared over the Internet without the concerned parties being unknown… More people downloaded the clip from Mid Day website than people who read that particular issue of the tabloid… This was a complete breach of privacy and a new Privacy Act should be devised.. It should also cover digital privacy so that the netizens can have the right to control their personal data — who uses them and how ..

Now alongwith these three main recommendations, there are some more which I have learned using the Internet over the years …

Cyber Squatting :
      Cyber Squatting is simply registering a domain name for exploiting it later.. Although ICANN can resolve the disputes but we should have a law that covers this here … And as now we have started issuing Country level top domain ( .in ), the registrar should have more responsibilities …

Spoofing :
      I was surprised to learn that the IT Act doesn’t specifically cover spoofing .. Spoofing is disguising your identity over the Internet ..It can be anything from spoofing the IP address or spoofing the email address to send fake mails .. Although it can be held as fraud but it would be difficult to cover it under IPC … So it should also be included in the IT Act …

Mail or Forum bombing :
      After being a moderator of a forum for such a long time, I have learnt what tactics people use to disrupt and to bother the forum admins .. The best and most used method is using Bots .. Bots are computer programs that post automatic replies on websites and / or send automatic emails just to create havoc or spam .. Although the IT Act covers malicious software under Virus but the definition of virus is complete only when it causes any damage .. Bots don’t do any damage … they just create problems for admins and site owners ..So Bots (be it forum bots or chat bots or email bots) should also be covered in the Act …

Misleading search words :
      Now this is a trivial issue … Like this search query for Failure, the first result is Autobiography of George W Bush .. So .. Pages can be created to cajole searchers to direct to some page that has no relation to the search terms .. Now this was a derogatory attempt, but there can be other uses too .. Like users searching for a specific products are redirected to products of competitor’s site .. So steps should be taken to minimize such search hijacking …

Pornography & Derogatory sites :
      While pornography has been covered in the IT Act but sites that contain derogatory or misleading information about respected persons should also be covered .. I didn’t found any mention to this regard in the Act … Maybe it collides with Right to Freedom of expression .. But still I found it quotable ….

Hmmm …. I hope I covered the topics I had in mind … In last something Yours Truly always wanted to say .. Having a law isn’t just sufficient .. There should be proper implementation of it too .. Consider the case of DPS MMS scandal .. It resulted in jailing of Bazee CEO Avnish Bajaj .. On what basis ? .. If it was because that he was the owner of the site which hosted the clip, then why don’t we jail CEO of BSNL or other telephone companies when terrorists use their network for their business ? … There are a million other reasons on why he shouldn’t be convicted but Police thought otherwise … So .. Their should be a proper policy on what to do and what not to .. and proper implementation of that policy .. Not like the famous case of a cop pinning the floppies (which were used as evidence) in a string like all other files are pinned .. When the people are having decent knowledge of computers, police should also have …

7 Replies to “Recommendations for amendments to IT Act 2000”

  1. The IT Act 2000 definitely needs serious ammendments.
    One of the major ammendments required are in establishing the jurisdiction of the courts. As all the matter on the internet is global so it become difficult to penalise. So suppose a website which is registered under foreign country has pornography content. Do our courts have jurisdiction to penalise such sites owners if those sites are viewed in India??

    Also, I have a query. Google is a registered website in India. When we type pornography in its search column, it gives all the pornographic sites which is illegal. so my question is whether the Indian courts have any jurisdiction to penalise Google??

  2. it act needs an ammendment for the rank of investigating officer. it should be not below the rank of a sub. inspector which is presently a DySP.

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