Filing Cyber Crime Complaint is Now Easier

The long standing demand of the Indian public that the provisions of ITA-2000 regarding Adjudicating officers should be given effect to has at last been answered. Now all the Secretaries in charge of the Information Technology Departments in various State Governments and Union Territories have been designated AOs for the respective states. Any complaint coming under Chapter IX of ITA-2000 can be filed with the AO along with a fee of Rs 50 +10% of damages claimed, on a plain paper with the necessary particulars... .More

New Jersy Contract.....Is it a WTO Violation?

The contract from a New Jersy firm to outsource its call center operations to India  which triggered a protest and attempted preventive legislation has finally been reversed. Arizona-based eFunds, a firm that processes electronic card system for some 200,000 New Jersey welfare recipients, will end its Mumbai operations shortly and open a customer service centre in the same state at an estimated cost of US$ 340,000 which is around 20 % higher than its proposed spending in India. It is understood that the New Jersy Government has agreed to subsidize the additional cost.

WTO experts need to examine if this "Protectionist Subsidy" violates any declared principles of fair business policies under WTO. If not countered, this can have a snowballing effect against the interests of Indian IT Companies. Details at TOI

Should a Hacker be appointed as a Security Consultant?

An interesting debate has ensued following a suggestion in USA that reformed Hackers may be appointed as corporate security consultants. In a recent discussion security experts were pitted against a Hacker who had been convicted 4 times as an adult for various offences. Similar dilemma confronts us in India too since the Computer security expertise is scarce and a successful hacker has the ability to strike "Shock and Awe" in the minds of Company executives.

It is necessary however to remember that "Criminal Tendency" is a psychological state of mind of an individual and total reformation is rare. Also, in the long term interest of the community, no indirect incentive should be provided in the system to make youngsters feel that their devious behaviour may carry an eventual reward.  Hence the practice of appointing known criminals to any security position must be avoided.

 In order to identify budding talents and to channelise their energies in the right direction, it is however necessary to provide for a "Registration Process" where interested intrusion detection specialists register their names with the Government as "Security  Consultants" on the "Friends of Police" model.

Educational loans required to arrest drop in quality of Software Engineers

Infosys chairman and chief mentor, N R Narayana Murthy, observed that  reservations in education and employment should be based on economic criteria and not caste. This followed in response to Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna's remarks advocating reservations for weaker sections in the private sector.

It is essential for Politicians to remember that Caste based reservations  have outlived their utility and  widened the Caste gulf. In the long term interest of the Country, caste based reservations have to be phased out. While reservations on economic criteria in education and employment is one alternate option, another option to be considered is "Providing Easy Finance" to meritorious students to pursue technical and higher education.  In the context of the increasing cost of higher education after the controversial Supreme court verdict regarding minority education institutions, there is a growing need for such  financing both as loans and as scholarships.

If action is not taken on this front now, the quality of software engineers in the country will erode in the next five to 8 years seriously affecting India's growth in the international software market. I request  Mr Murthy to take a lead in starting a dialogue with the Indian Banking industry to make low cost educational loans available for engineering education in India. Such loans should bear interest rates with reverse correlation to the merit of the student. (Higher the merit, lower the interest). The loan should be assessed depending on the repaying capacity of the student in the post education days and not on the parent's current income.

Banks who are flush with funds and splurging on Consumer product promotions should consider such innovative educational loans.

Government to Press for Special VISA for IT Professionals

In a  welcome move, GOI has initiated steps to press for a special Service Provider VISA for the IT professionals in India who serve the Global software markets. The recent I-Flex case in Netherlands had raised the issue whether professionals who are on a "Business Visa could attend to software servicing. ..more in ET

Three persons sentenced to Jail for software Piracy

Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Nasscom's anti-piracy campaign resulted in a Hyderabad court convicting three people and sentencing them to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 each for unauthorised copying and sale of pirated software.

While we appreciate the zeal which Nasscom has been pursuing the anti piracy campaign, it is regrettable that neither the Nasscom nor the State Governments have any concrete people oriented programmes for making available low cost software applications either from Open source or  indigenous sources. There is no allocation in IT development budgets of states to assist R&D for adaptation of open source applications for local use.

We hope that a consortium of IT industry players, Consumer Activists, Academicians, and State Government representatives should address this need. ....Details in DH

DMCA Scores a Victory

In a case brought on behalf of Mr Ben Adelman,  , a research student from Harvard University on a Company N2H2, by ACLU (American Civil Liberties Group),  permission had been from a Federal Court in Boston to reverse engineer a Filtering Product of N2H2 for research purpose. The Court however rejected the request and upheld the rights of the Company under DMCA to protect the information about the product and its functional details.

Details at

Copyright Infringement Hits Cyber Cafe Chain

Stelios Haji-Ioannou's Easy Internet Cafe chain agreed to pay the British Phonographic Industry $326,700 in damages and fees to settle a 21-month-old feud regarding copyright infringement for allowing customers to download music from the Internet and copy it onto a CD.   Details at Reuters

TRAI brought down by Public Pressure

TRAI was saved from further embarassment with MTNL and BSNL scaling down their tariff rates from the anti consumer tariff rates suggested earlier by TRAI.

The pulse rate has been brought back to 3 minutes and offline Internet access rates have been brought down to RS 7 per hour. If the free offline ISP access provided by some ISPs continue, then the affordability of Internet between 10.30 pm to 6.30 pm would be extremely attractive. This should be welcomed by most home users of Internet.

With this, the speculation that TRAI was favouring the private sector Reliance Infocomm by making the fixed telephone access expensive can be put to an end, though the interim situation helped Reliance to succesfully launch its services enrolling over 5 lakh subscribers within a month.

Perhaps this should be considered a good beginning for Mr Arun Shourie the new IT and Communication minister....Details at ET

Mysore High Court cross examines US witness over phone

In a path breaking procedural relaxation, Mysore High Court allowed a cross examination of a US witness over a tele-conference. Principal District and Sessions Judge G V Hegde is hearing the case filed by the Mysore-based film production company — NRI Film Production Associates Private Limited  against infringement of its film script “Extra Terrestrial Mission” by 20th Century Fox Corporation by producing and releasing its box office hit “Independence Day” in 1996 all over the world.........Details at Deccan Herald

Pakistan takes steps to block Porno sites

In India, an expert committee constituted by the Mumbai Police had once declared that effective blocking of Porno sites was technically not feasible. In the bargain, Indian Netizens are having easy access to many porno sites. This coupled with the porno spam has made it impossible for parents to let their young ones take advantage of the Internet revolution. Publications such as have been irresponsible and many of their free pages have been used to host porno sites and no action has been taken  even when notified.

However, Pakistan Telecom authorities seems to have taken some positive steps in this direction and are reportedly blocked around 1800 porno sites to protect the Internet users. has recently received been informed that an entrepreneur from Mumbai has developed an effective filtering software that can be used by Schools, Government and Private offices etc to block porno sites.

If the Government or any public spirited Company is willing to support such ventures, perhaps the Indian Net environment can be kept clean and more youngsters can be encouraged to take on to the Net.

Enquiries from interested Companies to sponsor such a project are welcome.

Nasscom Calls for Cyber Security Related Education

It is estimated that in India, less than 2,500 professionals have specific IS skills. Fewer than 10,000 professionals have a working knowledge of IS. A study conducted on jobs advertised on JobsAhead over past 12 months indicates that the demand of IT professionals with some security knowledge is about three times the demand of specialised IS professionals.. As per recent estimates by IDC, the worldwide demand for IS services was approximately $8 billion in 2001, and is expected to grow to $23.6 billion by 2006.

It may be recalled that and Cyber Law College have  been trying to foucs on  the need for a special curriculum in the area of Cyber Security inclusive of Cyber Law with some Engineering College managements as well as industry bodies such as the CSI. Hopefully the Nasscom's initiatives will make the educationists more receptive to the idea.  ...Details at

New Jersy Bill on Outsourcing of IT professionals Stalled.

It is reported that the New Jersey Bill introduced by Senator Shirley Turner has been postponed.  It has been asked that the words India and outsourcing should be dropped from the Bill since it would go against the tenets of free trade as prescribed by WTO.  More details are awaited.

I-flex chief gets Bail

Mr Senthil Kumar, CEO of I-Flex was granted bail in London today. His passport is however impounded and he is confined to stay in London for some more time.....details in 

Sohonet India CEO speaks

Sohonet India which has raised a huge all India controversy on its SOHO projects, has not sent the second reply to as promised. However, has carried an interview of Mr Raj, the CEO which may be of interest to the readers. It may be noted however that sify has an indirect interest in Sohonet India in view of the huge order for Digital certificates that  appears to have been placed on Safescrypt, a subsidiary of Sify......Read the interview at

Mr Senthil Kumar Refused Bail

Mr Senthil Kumar, CEO of I-Flex who was arrested in London following a complaint by Dutch authorities on alleged VISA irregularities by his Company in Netherlands has been refused bail and sent to Brixton Prison on judicial remand which could last for atleast a week. 

While Nasscom would continue its firefighting, it would be interesting to conduct a survey on how many Dutch and British nationalists are presently in India and examine if they are all under VISA provisions. If not, Indian Government needs to explain to its citizens why it cannot take appropriate retaliatory action on such nationals so as to make the Dutch and British Governments see reason.

Without such counter pressure, Mr Senthil Kumar maybe left to celebrate the Tamil New Year  in jail.

Law Makers in US Set To Make Firewall Use an Offence has been highlighting the absurdities in several cyber regulatory efforts and suggesting that IPR predators are set to kill the Internet. While in some countries it is the innocent mistakes of regulators  that cause problems, in USA, it is the vested interests of commercial organizations that drive such legislations.

A glaring  example of one such incident is an attempt to extend the provisions of the dreadful DMCA by the states of Massachusetts and Texas which inter alia ban "concealment or  assistance to conceal from any communication service provider, or from any lawful authority, the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication".

 It is widely interpreted that firewalls that use NAT (Network Address Translation) and the use of Encryption that conceals the "From" and "To" address from the ISP can be violative of the provisions of a proposed Bill due for legislation.

We repeat that we need a mechanism to filter Indian citizens from the operation of such misconceived laws so that such commercial attacks on legislation do not hurt Indian Citizens in India.........details in


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