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Welcome Arun and Arun

After an eventful tenure at the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Mr Pramod Mahajan, the Ministerial architect who ushered in the Cyber law regime in India has moved over for building the Party for the next elections.

In Mr Arun Shourie, the journalist turned Minister who takes over the Ministry, we have a person with a mesmerizing communication skill and a worthy successor to the key ministry.

ust as India would remember Mr Pramod Mahajan for ITA-2000, perhaps Mr Shourie would leave his mark on the Ministry with the passage of the long awaited Communication Convergence Bill.

The return of Mr Arun Jaitely to the ministry of Law with his zeal for judicial reforms also augurs well not only for the early passage of Communication Convergence Bill but also  the finalization of the judicial process for handling Cyber Crimes such as appointment of Adjudicating Officers and  CRAT and advising them on the procedures to be adopted. wishes the new Ministers all the Best in their efforts to drive India through  the Convergence Era and onto to Global IT leadership.

January 28, 2003

Beware of This Threat

A Case has been reported from Chennai where a student has reported that some body has hacked into his e-mail ID and been sending objectionable e-mails in his name to some girls in his College. The problem in such a case is that if any of these affected girls file a Police complaint, then the student whose e-mail ID has been misused can land in jail.

This highlights the need to secure one's password to an e-mail box as well as the use of digital ID s for e-mails. It is now the responsibility of the Police to come to the assistance of this student and extricate him from the problem...if he prefers a complaint.

Digital Divide in India set to Widen because of TRAI

The move of TRAI to increase the cost of telephone usage by 30 to 40 % has increased the cost of Internet access through dial up facility to Rs nearly 40-45 per hour. Of this the ISP cost is only around Rs 4 to Rs 7. The new pulse rate at 2 minutes means that for every hour of internet usage, 30 calls will be metered at a cost of around Rs 36 and more. This would seriously hurt the small Internet users and make Internet access prohibitively expensive.  While DSL and Cable Internet could thrive, these are more suited for heavy users and not the common men.

It is strange that at a time WLL phones have emerged a formidable competitor to Fixed phones, and there is a reason  for reduction in costs, TRAI appears to have taken an illogical decision in the opposite direction.  

Or is there a hint of deliberate manipulation of the regulatory system to make fixed telephones less attractive so that competition can benefit? ....Your views are welcome

Related Article in TOI

Nigerian Scam Turns its attention on Iraq

The famous Nigerian Fraud, which is  one of the longest running international financial frauds has now turned its attention to Iraq. had pointed out earlier how the fraud had released the Nepalese version  after the assasination of the Nepalese King Birendra and his family.  The release of the Iraq version is an indication that this fraud is trying to take advantage of the current developments in the world and change its colour from time to time. We need to be vigilant if any Indian version hits the market since it may draw  many Indians into the trap.........Details of the Iraqi Version

Music Industry Wants ISP s to be their Piracy Watch Dogs....If So..

Music Industry has demanded that ISP s should be held accountable for Music Swapping on the Net as an anti piracy measure.  Indian ISP s have already stuck their neck out by displaying their technical capability and willingness to monitor "Internet Telephony Service" and block select sites.   If they now agree to RIAA demand, they will further draw upon themselves a responsibility to be the "Community Police Authorities".

If this is responsibility is undertaken, then ISP s should also accept accountability for "Anti-Pornography" measures as per laws of Countries like India or on the actions of independent NGOs and give up the immunity provided to them as "Intermediaries" under laws such as ITA-2000.

Related Article in TOI

Identity Theft... A Cyber Crime Growing at an Alarming Rate

According to complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), out of the 380,000 complaints registered in 2002 by them and some of the other law enforcement agencies, 43 % related to "Identity Theft" covering Credit Card or Social Security information to steal money or commit frauds.

The number of identity theft complaints rose from about 86,000 in 2001 to about 162,000 last year, according to  FTC . ....Details at

Malaysia Proposes Data Protection Laws

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy of Malaysia indicated  at a seminar on E-Commerce & the Law on Privacy at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Kajang that the Malaysian Government is in the process of passing a Privacy and Data Protection Law. ....Details in the star online

Digital Revolution in Indian Judiciary Expected?

If there is one area of Governance where IT can make a huge difference to Indian public is in the Judicial System. In a revealing article published in The Hindu today, the illustrious Mr T.K.Vishwanathan, member secretary, Law Commission , highlights the requirements for introducing e-courts in India.

Details in The Hindu

Consumer Protection Act in India to be Amended

As per a report appearing in The Hindu today  a proposal has been mooted by the Central Government to amend Consumer  Protection Act 1986 to bring E-Commerce under its ambit. It may be recalled that the ECT-2002 of South Africa has similar provisions. The intention is welcome even though it is debatable if the amendment is necessary at all since ITA-2000 itself can be extended to cover the Consumer Protection Act. Perhaps amendments of the "Rules Under Consumer Protection Act" would have been sufficient for the purpose. 

Microsoft formally announces readiness to reveal source code

Microsoft has  announced a new initiative to provide government agencies access to source codes of its programme to alleviate the security concerns. India is one of the beneficiaries................Details

US Supreme Court upholds extension of Copyright

US Supreme court upheld the constitutionality of a copyright law extending the period by 20 years. This gives copyright protection upto 70 years for individuals and 95 years for corporations.  A group of Internet publishers had opposed the1998 law as an unfair curb on the freedom of expression. As a result of this move many literary works including novels and music which were about to be released to the public through Internet have been put back on the license rack.

While the constitutional right of the legislators is undisputed, it appears that  this ruling has an effect of giving a back dated protection for existing copyright holders and therefore puts the general public at an unforeseen disadvantage. Making such provision for the future works was perhaps more desirable.

Related article in

Are State Governments making a Mistake?

Some Governments who were early adopters to E-Governance, had started some projects before the ITA-2000 was enacted and the projects continue even in the post ITA-2000 scene without any modifications.  After the enactment of ITA-2000, some of these projects needed a review and rethinking in the changed scenario. The central theme of this debate is "Are Our Projects Cyber Law Compliant?"..............More

Can a State Government notify "Protected Systems" under Section 70?

Information Technology Act 2000 (of India) has prescribed the highest imprisonment term under the Act for offence under Section 70 of the Act. This section refers to "Access or An Attempt to Access a Protected System" and prescribes a maximum 10 years imprisonment.

A "Protected System" referred to in the section is one which is so notified by the Government. So far, no such notification has been made by the Government and a question ahs been raised in some quarters whether a State Government can issue a notification under this section....

On a Careful consideration of the Act, it appears that the power to make rules under Section 70 should be available only to the Central Government.

I request Constitutional experts to clarify if the above view is correct or not.


National Seminar on"Crime Prevention Management- A Multi Pronged Approach" 

Dr J.Jayalalithaa, Chief Minsiter of Tamil Nadu inaugurated the National Seminar on "Crime Prevention Management- A Multi Pronged Approach" , hosted by The Police Training College, Chennai (PTC)..........More

Source Code for Windows

The Indian IT Secretary is reported to have confirrmed that Microsoft has not offered to reveal Windows source code to the Indian Government. He has clarified that the Government would let the consumers decide about the use of Opern Source  software and the Government expects co-existence of proprietory and opern source software even in Government projects.

Report in ET

Learning to Live Without Microsoft

A serious discussion appears to be going on in the Government circles regarding the use of Microsoft Products both for cost and security reasons. In the meantime Microsoft appears to have launched a new initiative to check use of unlicensed software amongst individual computer users....

It is therefore time that public should start thinking of alternatives to Microsoft products if they cannot afford to obtain licenses and learn to live without Microsoft.....More

An IP Exchange Forum in India?

A new initiative to help Indian industries to aggregate their Intellectual Property and encash them is being mooted by some enthusiastic IT consultants. Mr Sridhar Mitta of e4e labs and P.Sridhar of Control Net (I) Pvt ltd appear to be the initiators of this move. hopes that this forum will assist  small companies to recognize their IP property and exploit them in the international scenario.

Related article in Business Line

The Dawn of a New Year. What's in Store?

The year 2002 was an eventful year for the Cyber Regulations observers. Working under the after shock of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack on  New York, there was a realization that "Terrorism" would soon hit the Cyber Space not only to destroy the Cyber economy but also to target the real world economy through the Cyber Space. As a result, there were attempts at tightening up laws, development of Cyber Security policies and initiatives and an attempt to forge international cooperation in fighting Cyber Crimes.

To understand what is in store for Cyber Citizens / Netizens in the year 2003, let us take a brief review of the happenings in 2002 and see which way the wind is blowing.....More



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