Let's Build a Responsible Cyber Society

Making a Difference to the “Information Society” with Cyber Law Knowledge



[Key Note Address Delivered at the Launch of IIIT Law on 2nd June 2006 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Race Course Road, Bangalore]

 Respected Honourable Chief Justice of Karnataka, Sri Cyriac Joseph, Respected Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri H.D.Kumaraswamy, Respected Chief Mentor of Infosys, Sri N.R.Narayana Murthy, Respected Banking Ombudsman, Sri K.R.Ananda, and all of you who have  assembled here on this occasion of the launch of the International Institute of Information Technology Law, 

As the Director of the Institute, I am here to share some of my thoughts and indicate some of our specific plans which we intend  taking up for implementation in the immediate future.

 Before I proceed further, I would like to  express my special respects to Honourable Justice B.K.Somasekhara, the Founder Trustee and Chairman of the Institute, Mr Vidyashankar, the Secretary and to all the luminaries who are participating in this project as Trustees and Governing Council members. Their Vision, Encouragement and Participation has given us the  inspiration to visualize a truly International Institute of Higher Learning in a niche area of knowledge as reflected in these thoughts.

 At IIIT Law we have two principle objectives namely,

a)       Making a positive difference to the Information Society through Cyber Law Knowledge  to make the society prosperous

b)       Making Bangalore a global node for Cyber Law related activities.

 Let me elaborate. 

Today, A large part of the society’s wealth is held in the form of “Information” inside a Computer. Even our personal wealth such as Bank Deposit or the Share Certificates can be found today only as information inside a computer. When Citizen ID  Card is introduced, even our personal existence will become a piece of information.

With such a large stake of the society in the form of “Information”, all of us are concerned with “Security of the Information”. If  we feel that there is inadequate security, then people will reduce using IT and the progress of the society will be slowed down. On the other hand, If we have Trust and Confidence in “Information as an asset”, then there would be a greater usage of IT by the community and more prosperity of the society.

Security is therefore the key to the prosperity of the Information society and we would like to make a difference to the society by upgrading the  “Concept of Security” in the IT scenario. 

Presently, when we think of IT Security, we think of protecting our Information Assets with Firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems. In the event of a security breach IT Security ensures restoration of data to its original state through a Disaster Recovery Plan. A significant part of all international security standards is also focused on  setting bench marks for technical security in an operating scenario. 

However, I believe that there is a need to shift the Central security focus from the Information Asset to the Information Asset owner. Though the security of the Information Asset is also an integral part of the security of the Information Asset owner, the changed approach to security recognizes that when a security breach occurs, legal liabilities arise on the Information Asset owner and he needs to be secured against it. If possible, he should also have a right to recover compensation from those who caused the security breach. 

This requires that there should be a law to protect the Information Asset owner  protecting him from liabilities arising out of a Security breach and also provide him the right to recover compensation. Such laws which deal with the rights and liabilities of the ownership of  “Information” are what we refer to as “Information Technology Laws” or more fashionably,  “Cyber Laws”. 

If an Information Asset owner follows the provisions of law, he gets the protection under law. This is what we refer to as “Legal Security” which when complimented by the Firewalls and Intrusion Detection System becomes the “Techno Legal Security”. 

Our focus is therefore to make IT users realize that they need to move from the present Technical Security approach to Techno Legal Security approach. The present security standards such as the BS 7799 or ISO 27001 should also move to the upgraded concept of “CyLawCom” or Cyber Law Compliance standards. 

We feel that this transformation will make a fundamental change in the IT Security industry in the world.  It will also immediately pave the way for operation of “Information Asset Insurance” and develop this new segment of industry. “Security” becomes an insurable subject and I and you can pay a premium and forget our concerns  arising out of any type of  Cyber Crime. 

To move towards this transformation, we feel that a five step process is essential consisting of  

  1. Cyber Law Awareness to be created at all ICT user levels…. individual, IT and Non IT industries, Governments, Hospitals, Colleges etc.
  2. Cyber Law Compliance to be embedded into software systems
  3. Cyber Law implications to be built into the strategy of Business management .
  4. Preparation of the legal, law enforcement and judicial community for securing the rights of Netizens
  5. Preparation of the Governments for Cyber Law Compliant e-governance implementation.

 We therefore endeavor to act as a “Cyber Law Nodal Education Center” and work with each of the traditional educational streams in Law, Engineering, Commerce, Management as also the industry and other IT user community and ensure that Cyber Law awareness is created in each of these educational streams and at all user organizations.

 We propose to achieve this initially through  seminars, workshops   designed for different target audiences and later adopt other means of focussed education.

 We would also endeavor to create content both in English as well as in Kannada and other languages both in print in the form of books and on the web so that the common man can be brought into the awareness building programme.

 We would initiate research work that would help in the development of the Information Society. Such work could be in the field of Cyber Law or Cyber Crimes or Cyber Forensics or Cyber Sociology or any of the connected fields. 

We would conduct “Round Tables” to generate inputs from experts and the industry when changes in law become necessary, be it the enactment of a new Data Protection Act or Optical Disk Protection Act or modification of an existing act like ITA-2000.

 Additionally We would  like to work with the local Government and industry to make Bangalore the “Cyber Law Capital of India” and take up necessary  initiatives in this regard most of which may be catalytic in nature.

 In particular we humbly urge the State Government  to take necessary steps for a Cyber Regulation Appellate Tribunal to be set up in Bangalore. This would be the first such Tribunal in India envisaged in the ITA-2000 and can energise the city into a beehive of Cyber Law related activity.

 We also would like a truly online dispute resolution facilitation center to be set up in Bangalore which would be the first of its kind in the world.

 We believe that if Karnataka becomes  a leader in Cyber Law  it will also be a leader in Information security and in the coming days, whoever is the leader in Information security will also be a leader in IT. If India wants to be a super power in IT, one path is by being a super power in IT security. What we are planning is to drive Bangalore to be the center of such activity. 

The launch of the Institute today in your presence and in the hands of the leaders who represent the Judiciary, the Government and the Industry is a significant first step in realizing some of these dreams.

 Hopefully, by the next Rajyotsava day, our dream of the City making an exclusive mark as the Center of Higher Learning in Cyber Laws would have made a significant progress.

Our vision is that by 2012, we would have made sufficient progress to be recognized as an International center of learning in Cyber Law and the related fields such as Information Security and attract students from other countries. 

We hope to see a day when a Cyber Law initiative is taken in New York,   people there  would say New York is becoming the Bengalooru of USA … just as we today call Bangalore as the Silicon Valley of India.

 To make this a reality, we need your good wishes and support which I hope you would all give us in plenty.

 Thank You



June 02,2006

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