June 16-July 31, 2001

Convergence Bill-More dangerous than the Carnivore?

The Convergence Bill that is presently before the Parliament has the potential to become the most Anti-Freedom  legislation in India...atleast to the Indian Netizens or Citizens of India who are also Netizens.

The power conferred by the Bill  to regulate Internet content is likely to be a tool in the hands of the political parties to meet their own ends rather than serve the people. 

Detailed Story here.

Netizens and Fellow Countrymen, Arise Awake and Stop Not until Freedom is Restored  !!!

The revised Communication Convergence Bill ready for passage in the Indian Parliament has introduced some vital clarifications that deal with Internet Content that needs to be taken note of by the community....

Consequent to the Communication Convergence Bill, every form of broadcast over Internet will become a subject matter of regulation. 

In summary, the very basic premise of the Communication Convergence Bill that attempts to bring a "Homogeneous Regulatory Framework" for the Convergent medium is a fundamentally unsound proposition and  will be a serious threat to the freedom of Netizens. If the Netizens are not given the exemptions that are legitimately due to them, the Bill deserves to be buried in its entirety rather than exist in its controversial form.

Detailed Story here.

TRAI Re-appoints Itself

The re-emergence of Convergence Bill draft has achieved one important objective. It has protected the jobs of all the TRAI members under the guise of providing continuity in policy making.

Detailed Story here.

Taxing Information Access

The announcement of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) including "Online Information and Database Retrieval" is a surprising move and a cause of serious concern to the Internet based business activity.

What is also important is that the interpretations given by the tax authorities can provide legal implications in some cases...

Detailed Story here.

DMCA Leads to Arrest of a Russian in USA

In a case of international ramifications, the FBI arrested Russian citizen Dmitry Sklyarov who was in Las Vegas to deliver a lecture on electronic book security, on July 16, 2001, on charges of distributing a product designed to circumvent copyright protection measure.

If DMCA is going to be applied to foreigners visiting USA, many have to avoid visiting USA just as they would avoid visiting Afghanistan or Libya. For the same reason the issue is not only the concern of the free speech organisations in USA, but also of the entire world. 

Detailed Story here.

Income Tax Act to be Amended to Tax E-Commerce

Close on the heels of imposing service Tax on Web Content, it is reported that the Government is considering amendment to Income Tax Act so that establishments who conduct E-Commerce without being physically present in India will be subject to Indian Income Tax.

Indians have more to earn from outside India than what foreigners can earn from Indians through E-Commerce and if this short sighted move prompts other nations also to impose similar tax on Indians, India will lose more than what it can gain.

It is also doubtful if the effort will be legally sustainable.

TOI Report Here

An Open Source Initiative in Audio Communication

Radiophony an innovative audio solution in communications for ordinary people has been launched as an Open Source Initiative by Dr Arun Mehta and Mr Vickram Crishna of Delhi. This is a project to make a new speech synthesizer to enable voice and data access with alternatives to keyboard and mouse driven methods, at costs well below the forbidding levels of data communication today.

More Details Are Here

Cyber Space was Born Free..
But is Found every where in Chains.

It is a fact of life that the Cyber space is what it is today because of the instant appeal it created in the "Naturally Freedom Loving" human community.

On the Internet, the Commercial interests that are imposing various kinds of restrictions on Cyber space some justified and many not so justified.

... therefore there should a gateway to the Internet which will either anonymize the netizen and take him to the Free Cyber Space or Digitally Tag him and take him to the Digital nation.

Detailed Story here.

Hate Sites and ICANN's Role

Dealing with Hate Sites has been one of the concerns of the regulatory agencies concerned with  Cyber Space. Hate sites against individuals can be handled under defamation laws...It is the hate sites against Countries and Communities which have often defied a legal solution.

In this context we would like to bring to the notice of the Indian Government a site this the Indian Government or any other organisation having a claim on "hinduism", must file an arbitration notice to ICANN and claim a right to own the site...

Detailed Story here.

Tax Imposed on Internet Speech

In a significant blow to Information providers on the Internet, struggling to find revenue resources, Government of India has brought "Content" under the Service tax" ambit. Accordingly, from July 16, 2001, Internet service providers and websites which provide information on payment will have to pay the service tax of 5%.

In the process, the Government has betrayed its lack of wisdom by taxing a fledgling service with no significant revenue prospects. The content providers who were exploring options of charging a fee for their services would now find the administrative hassles too much of a burden. Possibly this should encourage them to offer the services free instead of charging a nominal fee.

If Internet content is considered as "Speech", as the majority seem to think, the "Tax" could be challenged as "Illegal". If the Government has a right to tax "Internet Speech" for which people are willing to pay money, then any "Lecture" or "Seminar" or "Music Show" in the real world for which "participation fee" is collected should also come under Service Tax. If not, this would amount to "Digital Discrimination".

Detailed article here.

Mrs Sushma Swaraj opposes Content Regulation

It is reported that Mrs Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of Information and Brodcasting has sent her recomendation to the Telecom group that Content Regulation has to be kept out of the purview of the Convergence Commission of India.

Related Articles

Resolving Conflicts in the Judicial and Other functions of the Convergence Commission

Communication Convergence bill-What's Wrong?

Communication Convergence bill-What's Right?

MIT to Educate Public on Cyber Porn

Ministry of Information and Technolgy has launched a web site to educate the public on Cyber Porno and how to deal with it. Considering the importance of education as a means of prevention of crimes, this is a step in the right direction. We hope several more such initiatives would come forth from the Government.

Detailed Story in Economic Times

Why Don't we consider a Digital Certificate as a Proper Introduction?

It is necessary for Banks to request RBI to include "Digital Certificate" as one of the means of identification that can be used as an Introduction, provided the  Certifying Authority has added the confirmation of identity and his  Certification Practice Statement  indicates an acceptable level of prudence.

Details here.

Kerala Takes  Lead for OSS initiative

It is encouraging to note that the Government of Kerala is supporting the initiative of the Free Software Foundation of India....

Compared to the approach taken by the Karnataka Government to create a Zero Piracy State by force, with the appointment of a "Compliancy Officer", the approach of Kerala Government is  refreshingly positive.

This strategy has the potential of pushing Kerala ahead in Indigenous Software development ahead of its neighbours...unless Karnataka and Tamil Nadu wake up and follow suit.

Details here.

Ethical Hackers Wanted

In pursuance of its Community related services, perceives an emerging need for "Ethical Hackers" in India. A beginning would be made by to develop a list of Ethical Hackers who are willing to extend their services on demand for legally approved purposes.

Interested persons can write to Naavi at Cyber Law Solutions Ltd, 11/10, R E Apartments, Unnamalai Ammal Street, T.Nagar, Chennai, 600017 with a detailed bio data and a recent photograph. The applications will be screened by a committee and approved person's names would be put up on the website.

Cyber Law Solutions Ltd would offer Ethical Hacking Services when required, through the affiliated expert panel.Suitable remuneration would be determined on case to case basis.

Registrants would appreciate that this is an emerging requirement and we donot have contracts on hand. Hence registrants have to perhaps wait for some time before their registrations can bring them revenue.

July, 4, 2001

TRIPS to be reviewed

WTO is considering revisiting TRIPS to accommodate some developments regarding Copyright in Digital Media. In particular it is likely to consider accommodating two treaties namely the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organisation Copyright Treaty as well as the 1996 WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty.

Detailed Story at

What is the Nature of this Cyber Crime?

A very interesting Cyber Crime has been reported from Belgium. A Belgian site named has alleged that some portion of text appearing in its sub site Internet has been stolen and reproduced in invisible form on a site called It has therefore filed a suit for copyright infringement

The interesting fact of the case is that the reproduced text is said to appear in white fonts  on white bckground and hence is normally not visible. ... Under the circumstances, will law consider this as "Copyright Infringement"?

Details here.

Microsoft faces Expanded Patent Suit

Microsoft is facing a Patent suit from a Santa Clara-based firm, InterTrust. According to InterTrust, Microsoft's Windows MediaPlayer, ME and XP OS software, infringe on its patents covering digital rights management.

Detailed Story at