Date: August 31, 2000 
Join the Netizen's Forum today and participate in forming a Netizen's Watchdog for Regulations
E-Governance needs to be Citizen Centric

"On August 15th, a center for E-Governance (EG) was set up in the premises of the Ministry of Information Technology. This  initiative to promote procedural simplicity, speed and convenience  in Governance is a welcome step in bringing the benefits of Information Technology to the operations of the Government. However,  recent developments regarding the implementation of ITA-2000 , leave room for the public to be  skeptical about the immediate benefits of EG to the common man.....For the EG programme to succeed, there has to be  a comprehensive plan to integrate the four pillars namely the Computer, Connectivity, Content and Training  towards achieving the EG objective of “Let’s make the life of the Common man better”. Does the E-Governance Center address this requirement?..We are awaiting an answer with a hope.


Should India raise a Cyber Army?

"It has  been observed that in the month of August 2000, 52 Indian websites were attacked and defaced by hackers believed to be from Pakistan. In the past, prestigious and sensitive sites such as Indian Army, BARC, VSNL etc has been  successfully hacked. If we accept that "Digital Economy" is becoming  an important part of any Country's economic activity, one can accept a logic in this  act of  organised hacking. 

"It is not clear whether the Indian Government has taken note of this development and has taken any counter offensive in this regard. Yesterday, there was an unusual post in the message board of the Ministry Of Information Technology from a person who wanted  to hack Pakistani sites. Essentially he  wanted to join the "Cyber Army" if there was such a provision.

"According to Indian Law however, irrespective of the objective, "Hacking" is an offence. If therefore an Indian  hacks a Pakistani site, Pakistan can initiate legal action through appropriate courts  to punish such a "Cyber Soldier".

"At the same time, there is a need to set up a body which can assist Indian Website Owners in protecting  from attacks from the  enemies of the Country. If such an attack happens only because the site belongs to an Indian,  then the state has a duty to protect its Citizens in the Cyber space. While there is some talk of "Taxing" the Cyber society, there has so far been no talk of "State Protection" for the Indian Cyber Society.

"Many other countries have already set up "Computer Emergency  Response Teams" (CERT) who try to advise and assist the public against Virus  or  Hacking attacks.

"There is an urgent need for a CERT to be set up in  India. This has to be funded by the Government and supported by the industry. Nasscom should take a lead in this respect. Knowing the lethargy  and preoccupation of our legislators, I feel that this is another responsibility thrust on Netizen's Forum for Credible Cyber Regulations to initiate some action.

"I look forward to the advise and support of Cyber Security specialists in this regard.

"Send your views in this regard to Naavi

Carnivore to come to India???

"Civil Liberty defenders in USA are perturbed with the FBI 's attempt to use "Carnivore", a device that is expected to be installed at ISP s to monitor Internet data flow. While the debate on the desirability of Carnivore rages on in  USA, the Telecom authorities in India have already taken steps to introduce similar "Tapping" devices through the guidelines for setting up landing stations for Submarine cables. Even though Mr Vincent Cerf , the Co-inventor of TCPIP has stated that Carnivore has many features that block information from the  view of the FBI, he has also admitted that it can still be misused. Atleast there is  a strong voice of protest  in USA which can act as a deterrent to the FBI. 

"However, in India, going by the manner in which Netizens are reacting to the ITAct -2000 and its rules it is clear that  any law can be enacted or procedure established without a protest being raised even if it violates the basic principles of privacy and other rights. 

"The Netizen's Forum for Credible Cyber Regulations would like to elicit the views of the public in this regard. The ISP industry and Nasscom has been silent on the provisions, and I call upon them to express their views in whatever forum they would like to chose. Naavi.com would be happy to receive, consolidate and present such views if any.


Australia to introduce law to  Control Domain name Registrations 

"Australian Government  is introducing a law to control registration of domain names. A Bill to this effect is being introduced in the Parliament. This would apply to all .au addresses. India has already set some guidelines for  .in domain names, according to which generic names are disallowed as domain name address. While companies are generally happy about this norm, individuals have   preferred to opt for .com or .ws addresses which can give them the names of their choice. Many have complained that this has lead to a drain of foreign exchange and a show of lack of patriotism. However, regulators should realize that if they bring in legislations which are not in tune with popular sentiments, the community will surely  ignore them and if necessary, revolt. 

"Will Australians feel the same way?


An E-Commerce Patent Threatens the  whole   Digital  World 

"An US Patent is likely to be issued to cover  computer-to-Computer trade according to a news report from USA. It is likely to create a backlash that can hurt the whole patent system.
Detailed Story

Software Licensing Attracts Sales Tax

"Software companies in Bangalore has been given a new scare from Sales Tax authorities. It has been reported  that certain changes made in the Finance Bill-2000, has rendered software sales falling under the category of "licensing" taxable since April 2000.

Tatas Win a Domain name case with WIPO

In yet another domain name dispute the verdict of the WIPO  has gone in favour of a trademark owner. In this case the domain name www.bodacious-tatas.com has been  held injurious to the Tata group of India. This is another    precedent in holding a remotely similar name as confusingly similar. Before coming to the conclusion, the arbitrator should have also examined what percentage of net population would be confused with the name. If this was significant  action was called for. Otherwise it could have been ignored. Now this could be a precedent to many other frivolous disputes where a company with money and access to legal help can harass individuals. 
Detailed Story in Express India

Netizen's Forum Holds a Press meet in Chennai

Mr Na. Vijayashankar and Mr Sanjay Bhatia   addressed  a group of journalists in Chennai on 30th and released a copy of the memorandum submitted to the MIT  regarding the proposed  Rules under the ITA-2000. During the address Mr Vijayashankar explained how the proposed regulation has deteriorated with each step in its implementation since the first draft was prepared as E-Commerce Act 1998 and endangers the interests of the common Netizen. Mr Bhatia highlighted the lack of a credible dispute resolution mechanism under the proposed rules  which has rendered the AO's office s an adhoc office.


Memorandum to Ministry

The draft of the Memorandum intended to be submitted to the Ministry of Information Technology suggesting changes to the ITA-2000 and the Rules is here. Viewers are requested to send their comments if any to be incorporated in the memorandum. 


Domain Name-What kind of Property is it? 

What is the nature of the Cyber Property called "Domain Name?" is a question which is being debated in the legal circles all over the world. Some say it is a "Name" which is a "Trade mark". Some  say it is like real estate in the Cyber space. Some say it is a "Certain Right excercisable with the Registrar". 


Super Regulatory Authority in the offing in India

While there can be no two views on the need for integrated approach to IT, Telecom and Broadcasting in an economy where the three fields have a close symbiotic relationship, the known penchant of our politicians and bureaucrats to usurp power  and encash it through corrupt practices makes one wonder whether the need for integration would be misused to create a super power center.


India Redefines Hacking

The over eagerness of the framers of the Indian law has created a situation that for the first time in the world the term "Hacking" has obtained a legal definition creating complications in its wake.

Detailed Story

The absurdity of some of the provisions of the said Guidelines, cannot be stated strongly enough.

..... Dr Raj Mehta, of the Institute for Security for Digital  Network Age comments on the Landing Policy

Details Here

Security Risk in Cable Internet

Cable delivery of Internet will introduce a whole new dimension to the Internet scenario and will change the Cyber society significantly. Along with all these advantages comes the concern of safety of the data on your computer and the nuisance of virus infiltration. 

Detailed Story

Hurdles in Becoming a Certifying Agency

The essence of the ITA-2000 is the enablement of digital contracts through digital signatures....it would be financially very difficult to make the Certifying Authority business a viable business proposition

Detailed Story

Advisory Committee or Secretaries Club?

It is sad that a great opportunity has been lost to set up a committee of experts who could have guided the Ministry in formulating the policies that could have taken the country ahead.

Detailed Story

The Rules for ITA-2000 in India - Funny? Manipulative? Disheartening?..or Everything

The IT industry had it good for too long in India. So, it had to face its share of disappointments. Otherwise, who will respect the Bureaucracy? and the Politicians in power?

Detailed Story

Can I affix a legally valid Digital Signature from today?

August 15, 2000 is not only the first independence day of the new millennium for all Indians, but it marks the entry of India into the Digital Contract world.

Detailed Story

Do we need an E-Consumer Protection Act?

E-Way of living is fast becoming a part of our life. As more and more Netizens start buying products and services on the Net, there will be issues concerning Consumer Protection for E-transactions. But do we need a law for such consumer protection? Perhaps No.

Detailed Story

Landing Station or Police Station?

The Department of Electronics has come out with detailed guidelines for ISP s setting up landing stations in India for submarine cables. This is part of the measure to increase the international bandwidth available for data transmission. While the guidelines which clear the decks for broadening of the bandwidth is welcome, the provisions do raise some concerns.

Detailed Story

What is "Speech" in the Digital world?

An interesting arguement is going on  in USA on an alleged violation of the Copyrights Act applicable to digital media. The case is between the movie industry and one Mr Eric Corely in the southern district court. Mr Corely has been distributing a software program DeCSS which enables the user to break the encryption on a DVD meant to block copying.

Detailed Story

Does the Adjudication  Officer have jurisdiction to try a "Hacker"?

Amongst the many ambiguities that have crept into the ITA-2000 is the jurisdiction of the Adjudicating officer (AO) regarding cyber crimes falling under the Ch 11 of the ITA-2000.

Detailed Story

Court in Virginia strikes down law  on Obscenity

A district court in Virginia has issued a temporary stay on the state's attempt to bring laws to protect minors. The judge observed  that the the law would have the effect of “chilling of speech” which would be “injurious.”

Detailed Story

Ford Loses !!!

Auto giant Ford has lost its case against Model-E over it's  right to use the name.The U.S. District Court in Detroit granted a motion to dismiss the trademark infringement lawsuit brought against Model E by Ford on July 28 and entered judgment in favor of Model E.
Detailed Story

Veerappan and the Cyber Jungles

... the Government should bring about an amendment to the IT Act 2000 and if necessary other regulations under the Cr Pc, IPC etc , to set up and  define the jurisdiction  of a "Cyber Police Force of India". This could be  model for many other countries and India could later take the lead in expanding the concept for setting up a " Global  Cyber Policing Authority". 
Detailed Story

Anything starting with "Model" belongs to me!..Says Ford

Ford Motor Company has stated that it has a history  of using the nomenclature beginning with the word 'Model' and then followed by  a letter , creating a copyright on such usage...
Detailed Story

Oracle Accused of Hacking..

In a case involving dismissal of an employee, Oracle is facing a counter charge that it has resorted to planting an accomplice and hacking the systems of SAP to steal information for development of a product. It is an issue of grave concern...
Detailed Story.

Community Rejects Legal sanctions against Napster

In a survey conducted by a PC magazine, it is reported that over 25 % of the respondents stated that they would continue to  use file sharing software inspite of the possibility of copyright infringement. The Napster ruling has infact generated renewed interest in other similar sites such as Gnutella and Freenet. This is an indication that if "law" is at variance with the community norms, it would remain ineffective.(See article -"Militant or Freedom Fighter?")

Related Article in Standard.com

Domain Name Extensions of Your Choice?

ICANN is expected to introduce new Top Level Domain Names shortly. In what appears to be a novel method of determining the TLD s, the applicants for setting up the Registering authorities may be given an option to suggest the TLDs.
Detailed Story


Send Your Views

Book Cover "Now New Edition Available wiht Electronic update"

For more information on the Information Technology Bill look into the book- "Cyber Laws for every netizen in India". For information on and how to buy it directly from the author/publisher visit the Cyber Law Center here.

Book is available online at Fabmart Book shop


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