October 16-December 31, 2001



Convergence Begins!!

The intended Convergence of IT and Telecom has taken a decisive step forward with the notification of the merger of the ministries of Information Technology and Telecom. The Communication Convergence Bill which is still pending before the Parliament may now see the light of the day soon.

Details from TOI here

Electronic Evidence to Help in Conviction of Terrorists in Parliament Case

In a demonstration of how terrorists are making full use of Technology to plan and execute terrorist activities on land, it has now been revealed that the terrorists involved in the December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament had used a laptop to down load Home Ministry logo from a website and create a Car pass. Obviously the laptop has also been used for many communication connected with the crime.

While the Police are now taking the help of experts to decipher the "0" s and "1" s in the hard disk, the Courts with or without POTO will have to struggle to understand the evidence particularly if the disk has once been erased and data recovered. It would therefore be an interesting case to watch for Cyber Law and Cyber Crime professionals.

Details from Indian Express here

Dmitri Skylarov is Free!

According to reports emerging from USA, it has been confirmed that Mr Dmitry Skylarov, the Russian programmer who had been arrested in connection with the Adobe Copyright case has been released and would be flying back home soon.

The trial however continues against the Company Elmsoft.

WIPO publishes Patent Agenda for Public Comments

WIPO has released a "Request for Comments" document on a suggested agenda for International Patent System. Several aspects of Policy and Procedures have been brought up for discussion. Interested parties can submit their comments before February 15 2002.

Details from WIPO here

Global Copyright Act in the Offing

It is reported that a draft Global Copyright Treaty of the WIPO has been endorsed by thirty nations solidifying it as an agreement. The agreement would be effective from March 2002 and would aim to help ensure that artists, composers, writers, musicians and others involved in the creative process are protected from Internet piracy..according to WIPO.

Press Release from WIPO here

FBI wants to Introduce Authorised Virus!!!

In a strange but shocking news, it is reported that FBI has requested anti virus software manufacturers to deliberately leave a loophole for their authorised trojan to be introduced to the Cyber world. This trojan, a product of the "Magic Lantern" project is said to be capable of capturing the key strokes and reporting to the FBI.

While it is also reported that the anti virus software manufacturers have rejected this request, the incident raises a grave concern amongst the Privacy and Freedom lovers. Perhaps USA may escape the trojan for the time being, but once this thought has been implanted in the regulatory system, it will soon be pushed through at least in countries such as China, and perhaps also India.

This may well herald the beginning of the regime of the "Cyber Dictators".

Details Here

Naavi's Cyber Law College Expands Operations

Naavi's Cyber Law College which pioneered Online Cyber Law Courses in India through www.cyberlawcollege.com is launching an Offline Franchised Cyber Law Course at Panchkula, Haryana by January. A similar course in Mumbai and Pune are also on the anvil. It may be noted that Cyber Law College has already started a Correspondence course. Through these courses, Cyber Law College is becoming one of the few dedicated learning centers for Cyber Laws in India.

Naavi invites offers from interested persons for starting offline courses in other cities.

Voice Your opinion on Internet Telephony in India

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published a consultation paper on the introduction of Internet telephony to elicit the views of the stake holders. Views if any are to be submitted before 15th of December 2001 to the department. A copy of the paper is available here for reference.

Detailed Article Here

Is VOIP Definitely Coming?

In what appears to be a further confirmation that the VOIP is likely to become a reality in India, it is reported that BSNL is gearing itself to set up a VOIP network across the Country.

The report of the Financial Express today also makes a reference to the VOIP over Closed User Group being permitted at present which is a view not widely accepted. I would invite the views of the elite public in this regard.

Details Here

Web Content Over TV under Patent

A patent has been issued covering the delivery of Internet content over cable and satellite networks to set-top boxes favouring OpenTV, an Interactive TV software maker. While this may improve the bandwidth usage for the Cable operator, we need to wait and see if it will have any adverse impact on the spread of benefits arising out of the Convergence of the TV and the Internet media.

Details Here

Can an ISP lock away your e-mails?

In the Go2nextjob.com case in New Delhi, reported some time back, two of the directors of an ISP which stopped the web hosting services to a client who had defaulted in the payment were arrested and accused of "Hacking".

An issue has come up for discussion now of the remedies available to an ISP providing e-mail services in case of a non payment of charges. 

Naavi.com suggests that in order to  face situations of non payment as well as the non availability of space in the box, it must be made mandatory for the ISP to provide an option to the account holder that "In the event of the e-mail box being full or otherwise the service is to be discontinued, all incoming mails are to be diverted to an alternate e-mail address to be provided by the addressee along with a notice to the sender of the fact that the mail has been diverted.

Detailed Article Here

Freedom of Speech Vs Copyright Protection

A Californian Court has overturned the earlier Court ruling barring distribution of code for breaking the DVD lock. It has held that distribution of code through website is covered under the right to freedom of speech.The decision, while not a final one on the legality of the software program, nevertheless marks a severe blow for the movie industry's legal battle against online threats.

Details Here

Patent Challenge to Microsoft

In the recent past, some of the Patents on basic operations on the Internet such as hyper linking, software updation through downloads etc have disturbed the functioning of the Web.

In an interesting development, it appears now that a patent held by a less known American individual may challenge the grand visions of Web services touted by titans such as IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

Detailed Article Here

E-Commerce Tax in India

The Kanwaljit committee on E-Commerce Taxation has requested for public response to the draft recommendation before October 31 st.

The approach of the Committee is pragmatic and deserves commendation.

In implementing the recommendations however, the "Rate of Withholding tax" should be as small as  around 0.5 % since it is a turnover based tax and there is no guarantee that there is a real profit in any transaction. There should also be a base exemption upto say a tax of Rs 1 lakh so that small entrepreneurs generating "Export Income" are not needlessly harassed with the tax formalities. 

Detailed Article Here

Who Will Judge the Judges?

There was an interesting debate on the Indian TV on the 27th October 2001, (Big fight on Star News) on the subject of "Who Will Judge the Judges?"....

Both under the ITA-2000 and the Communication Convergence Act 2001 (to be passed) there is a provision for Tribunals and Adjudicators who can define their own systems for conducting proceedings.

Naavi.com has earlier suggested two approaches to improve the accountability and efficiency of the Cyber Judges which may be relevant to be discussed once again.

Detailed Article Here

USA Act Passed by US Senate

The Patriot Act has been passed by the with some modifications as USA Act. The Act is said to contain many provisions that would provide powers to the state for surveillance. Freedom lovers are agitated..naturally.

Details Here

E-Mail That Disappears!!

It is interesting to note that a new breed of E-mail distribution tools are in the market which provide some freedom to the sender to erase the e-mail or alter the e-mail that has already been sent and received by the receiver in his mail box.

This utility though useful to the sender raises many legal questions and is possible to be used by fraudsters. According to the ITA-2000, the electronic document is deemed to have been delivered when it leaves the sender's system and deemed to have been received when it enters the designated system of the receiver. This utility creates a confusion when a "Received" e-mail disappears or alters on its own.

P.S: Naavi.com in association with Deltagram has developed a solution for dealing with such e-mail frauds which will be shortly made available to the public.

Details Here


October 23,2001

Cyber Attacks on India Begin Again

As expected, Cyber attacks on high profile Indian sites have begun with India Today and Zeenews.com have been defaced by GForce Pakistan and PHC (Pakistan Hackers Club) It has been reported that in the defacement of India Today, a 'news' items critical of India and suspportive of Pakistan has been inserted. In the defacement of Zeenews.com, 'Doctor Nuker' of PHC boasts of defacing zeenews.com sites for the fifth time and warns that "Indian Atomic Research and US Military and Government should wait for their turn".

The hacked zeenews page can be seen here

The hacked zeenews page2 can be seen here

The hacked zeenews page3 can be seen here

The hacked India Today page can be seen here

Html links to defaced sites:

Defaced India Today website

Defaced Zeenews.com website

Patent Regime Being Discredited Once Again

The Anthrax scare has focussed the world attention on the negative effects of Patent regime making common drugs more expensive than necessary. A tendency for profiteering from Patents is creating an uneasy tension in the Community about the Patent regime itself. Now IBM has jumped into the fray by Patenting Web Design Templates, a common utility used by many individual Netizens. With British Telecom pursuing the legal recourse against ISP s on its Hyper Linking Patent, there appears to be a serious threat to the Internet society from the aggressive pursuance of Patents.

It is time to think once again how far the Patent right should be allowed to infringe the right to live on the Internet or the Real World.

Related Article on IBM Here

Related Article on BT Here



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