August 1 -August 31, 2002

Music Industry Sues ISPs

Music giants in USA have initiated action against ISP s demanding them to block the Chinese website which is said to be allowing copying of music recordings. The aggressive pursuance of  legal action by the US music industry is driven by a greed that may eventually boomerang on the industry.

If there has been a fall in music sales as has been reported recently, the reason could be the shutting down of many Internet radio stations besides the Napster.  In music and entertainment, exposure  will lead to increased purchase of CDs, if the product is really good. If the exposure is blocked, people will learn to live without the product causing a down trend in the industry.

Hope the Music industry will realize this truth and stops seeking legal action at every opportunity.

Details at Newzealand Herald

E-Commerce Directive in EU Mandates Cyber Law Compliancy

The European E-Commerce directive which became effective from August 21, has imposed responsibilities on E-Commerce sites to take steps to prevent Spam and also to provide some key information such as person to contact, Business address etc. Non Compliance may result in damages and action against the directors of the E-Commerce company.

It will not be long before such Cyber Law Compliancy becomes mandatory in India too.

DIT Guide to E-Commerce Directive

Related Article in Silicon Valley

A World Class Achievement from IIT Kanpur

Manindra Agrawal, Neeraj Kayal and Nitin Saxena, theoretical computer science researchers from IIT Kanpur have discovered a new algorithm for quickly finding out whether a large number is a prime number or not. Strange as it may seem, this mathematical achievement has relevance to Cyber Laws since creation of a random large prime number is part of the process of generating key pairs for digital signature systems. The new invention has the potential of triggering off development of high security digital signature systems in future.

Related Article in

IIT Student Arrested For Stealing Source Code

A former IIT Kharagpur student is reported to have been arrested for wrongfully acquiring the "Source Code" of a software belonging to an US Company made available for debugging to his employers and then trying to sell them for a price. The boy was trapped by FBI acting along with the local police.

The incident also highlights the lack of "Cyber Law Compliancy" at the local software company where the boy worked and stole the source code which facilitated the crime. It  is such unmonitored  "Negligence" that renders the current "Organizational Quality Certification" methods  flawed requiring down grading  of Quality Certification of organizations that do not have a "Cyber Law Compliancy System".

Detailed Story in TOI

ICC Trying to Set Dangerous Precedent on IPR

The controversy between the Cricket players in India and the world Cricket administration  body ICC on "Event Sponsoring" and "Ambush Marketing" has raised some very fundamental IPR issues.

The dangerous trend being set by ICC can even percolate into the area of IPR on Cyber space. The road to Yahoo blocking by Indian ISP s is now becoming clear because it is nothing but "Ambush Marketing".

Details here

British Telecom Loses Patent Claim on Hyper Linking

BT, formerly known as British Telecommunications, had sued SBC Communications Inc.'s Prodigy service as a test case in its effort to seek money from every Internet service provider claiming patent right on hyperlinking. Much to the joy of the Internet Community, the U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, in White Plains, New York, ruled that neither Prodigy nor the Internet system itself  infringe the BT patent.

Details at

Spielberg Attacks a Keralite

In yet another incident of a domain name dispute a Kerala Firm engaged in Web designing has been asked by Spielberg of the Jurassic Park fame to vacate the domain name as confusingly similar to the name of Mr Spielberg's firm called Dream Works.

Such domain name disputes threaten the brand names of many Indian business houses including Software Companies and Media Companies and will result in enormous financial loss to many of them in due course.

Naavi yet again draws the attention of the public to the service Verify For Look Alikes which is the only solution to such frivolous domain name fights and could be adopted as an Industry standard.

Details in The Hindu

Yahoo Concedes Chinese Rights To Censorship

Yahoo which fought for its "Right For Free Speech" in the French Courts in the Nazi Memorabilia case has now yielded to the pressure from China.......

It is time for all of us to reflect whether we are allowing commercial interests to destroy the founding principles of the Internet and losing an opportunity to create a global village which not only has no political border but also no social border separated by parameters  such as sex, age, or religion.


Indian National Security on the Cyber Space Needs Attention

While India celebrates its 55th Year of Independence under the constant threat from terrorists, it is also time for us to reflect on the security of our Cyberspace and whether we are devoting sufficient attention to the possible compromise of our national security to the western world through hardware and software that we source from the west.

Dr Raj Mehta, a Cyber Security Activist has discussed the implications of the 1998 " Doorbell" agreement between American Computer industry and the National Security Agency which might have been strengthened further after September 11, 2001 in an informative article.

According to the ITA-2000, the "Doorbell" agreement if found in operation, comes within the definition of a "Computer Contaminant" and if proved, any Indian can claim compensation upto Rs 1 crore from the supplier of the hardware and software.

More Here

Verisign Under Investigation for Domain Name Malpractices

At a time ICANN is threatening to ease out public participation in its management and centralize its Cyber Space control powers with a hand picked body of trusted lieutenants, the horror stories emanating about Verisign's malpractices in domain name registrations are very very disturbing.

Read here for details

Microsoft Distributes Confiscated Computers to Charity Organizations

In an effort to step up its anti-piracy action in India, Microsoft raided three companies dealing in Computers in Hyderabad alleged to be distributing pirated software to unsuspecting consumers. The Company spokespersons have told that the Computers seized during the raid will be distributed to charitable organizations. Microsoft has entered into a settlement with these companies and not pursuing criminal action. The anti piracy lobby in the industry has estimated that the total loss in India due to software piracy in 2001 was US$ 365 million (Rs 180 crores) which was around 3.65 % of the estimated global loss of  US $ 10 billion.

More at

ICANN Movement - Where Is it Heading?

The post Bucharest scenario in ICANN management is taking a curious turn. It appears that the dream of Netizen representation in  ICANN is gradually evaporating. strongly believes  that Cyber Democracy is essential for the future growth of the Internet medium and ICANN being the apex regulatory authority for the Cyber Space, it is essential for it to follow a fair democratic tradition. All efforts should therefore be made to preserve the democratic functioning of ICANN.

Read articles written by Mr Hans Klein at for more information.

IDRBT gets license as Certifying Authority

IDRBT became the third entity to be licensed by the Controller of Certifying authorities in India as a Certifying Authority, behind Safescrypt and NIC.

It is to be noted that IDRBT, a wing of RBI has adopted a dual key pair technology where by the digital signature will use separate keys for encryption of the body and encryption of the hashcode. Under this system the private key used for encryption of the body will be generated at the CA's end and a copy may be handed over to the regulatory authorities on demand.

It is also not clear if users need a special plug-in for using the digital signatures with the standard e-mail software. None of the CAs have however started issuing digital certificates to the public as of now.

Related Repot in eFE

E-Money and RBI Regulation

The RBI working group under Zarir J Cama has come up with a report on the need for RBI control on e-money systems. The principle recommendations of the report and issues raised by the report are discussed here by Naavi. Is it possible to keep e-money insulated from real money? Is it better if there is no automatic conversion of e-money to real money and vice-versa are issues on which your comments are solicited....Read here for details.


August 6, 2002

Blocking of Terrorist Sites by ISP s

According to a report in Hindu, today, Al-Queda websites are back in Cyber space, some of them in different names. As the world continues its war against terrorism, there is a renewed need to discuss the measures to control the proliferation of websites that are considered as pro-terrorists.

At this critical juncture, Satyam has established that technology permits blocking of specific sites as they have demonstrated in the blocking of and making a substantive contribution to the interpretation of "Due Diligence" under Section 79 of ITA-2000.

This is a defining moment in the history of ISP s in India since future court decisions on "Due Diligence" under Section 79 of ITA-2000 would be based on how Satyam handles this issue.

Read the Detailed Article here

Microsoft Introduces New Licensing Policy

Microsoft has introduced with effect from August 1, 2002, a "Software Upgrade Assurance Plan" which calls for an upfront payment for a free upgrade fro the next two years. Presently an option available on enterprise licenses, it translates into a "Software Maintenance cost" which are said to be in the range of about 50 %. This plan is likely to transform in practice into "Compulsory Up gradation Commitment" and locking up to Microsoft platform for the given period.

A Smart marketing move, though it amounts to selling a "Must Upgrade Product",  raising the issue of whether the product sold is an "Admittedly Imperfect Product with a life time of less than two years". The threats from Lindows and Star office seems to have prompted this near desperate move from Microsoft which has not been received enthusiastically by the industry.

The change should prompt the Indian Software industry once again to make Cyber Law Compliancy a part of Corporate Governance.

Microsoft Announcement

TOI Report   Internet News Report..

Hindustan Times Files a New Report on Blocking of Yahoo, Hotmail Proposal

Without specifically admitting a false report in the first place, Hindustan Times put up a report on August 1, 2002, on the ISPAI meeting clarifying that there is no proposal to block Yahoo or Hotmail. It reiterates however that one ISP did raise the issue of sharing of revenue by such ISPs.

While the issue rests here leaving the journalistic ethics for debate, Netizens need to be on their toes to claim their fundamental Netizen Rights if in future the ISP s again think of any proposals of similar kind.

HT's New Report

ISPAI Secretary Denies Proposal to Block Yahoo and Hotmail.

Mr Amitabh, secretary of ISPAI has stated that the report that appeared in Hindustan Times was totally false and the only discussion that took place was regarding the IP telephony services. Data Infosys which was indicated as the ISP which mooted the idea has also denied the report. Their statements is available here.

The ball now is in the court of Hindustan Times.

Proposal for Blocking Yahoo and Hotmail by Indian ISPs

Yesterday's brief comment on the proposal mooted by some ISP is in India to block popular sites such as Yahoo and Hotmail has evoked wide spread comments. Most of the respondents have found it hard to believe such a proposal could be existing because they see no valid reason for the same.

In order to remove the doubts about the origin of the news report, and to record some views on the likely consequences on the Indian Netizens as well as the ISP s themselves, a more detailed analysis is presented here.

Reader's views are welcome at


July 28, 2002

Netizens Wake Up !!

In one of the most brazen attempts to curtail the rights of ordinary Netizens, it is reported that some of the ISPs in India are considering blocking Hot Mail and Yahoo services. This ill advised move needs to be opposed by all Netizens since ISP s are only "Intermediaries" and should not usurp the power of "Content Regulation".

If they do, they will be digging their own grave since they would then assume full responsibility for the content delivered including content from international porno sites, fraud sites, and hate sites, and lose protection under Section 79 of the ITA-2000. They will also be open to legal action from the consumers for violation of "Right to Information" and legal action from Hotmail and Yahoo for "Criminal Intimidation and Extortion". opposes this idea as an "Anti Netizen" move and request all Netizens to record their opposition by sending their views to


July 27, 2002

Related Article in Hindustan Time

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