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Naavi.org

Building a Responsible Cyber Society…Since 1998

The fact that Technologists have scant regard for law is well known. The developments in the Bitcoin scenario is an indication.

Despite Bitcoin is the established “Currency for the Criminals” and “Black Money Hoarding Tool”, technologists say “So What?… I will do what I want.. Let Modi catch me if he can”. Some will say it is “Innovation for Disruption”.

RBI does not have the courage to do what it knows is good for the society…that is banning private Crypto Currencies like Bitcoins like we ban drugs and arms trading.

One of the ways by which Crypto Currency is trying to establish itself is by making Block Chain technology creep into Banking transactions and gain a level of respect that will latch onto Bitcoin as well in due course.

Few in the public will realize that Block chain is a technology and Bitcoin is a product and Blockchain may be acceptable but Bitcoin is not. Bitcoin will be promoted on the adoption of Block chain as a technology under the pretext “Block Chain is adopted by Banks and hence Bitcoin is also likely to be adopted by them soon”… The myth will be corroborated by the news about the price of Bitcoins soaring.

We need to therefore to ensure that Block chain technology does not have an unfettered entry into the system. If Bitcoin has to be blocked, Block Chain’s limitations need to be exposed.

Now we have the dangerous tendency creeping into the Banking system where “Block Chain Technology” is being implemented for different transaction recording. ICICI Bank has reportedly made transfers of Bitcoins from Gulf though the legality of Bitcoin is itself not settled. As long as Bitcoin is being treated as a currency, it is illegal and any Bank indulging in activities related to Bitcoin is violating the RBI Act.

Today, it is reported that InfosysFinacle  has launched a new product “Finacle Trade Connect” incorporating the blockchain based trade finance solution for banks.

Mr Sanat Rao, Chief Business Officer speaking at the time of launch has stated ” the new solution will provide higher automation, increase transparency and enable real-time availability of data”.

Significantly, he has also said

“The framework is ledger agnostic and is capable of working with most industry leading blockchain platforms such as Bitcoin, Hyperledger, Ethereum and Corda”.

This is therefore to be construed as a promotion of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other “Criminal Currency” and Infosys will today join the ranks of terror sponsor organizations like People Front of India (PFI) in radicalizing the Indian Monetary system.

It is unfortunate that the business case made out by Infosys Finacle is to provide a platform for use of Bitcoins and other private Crypto Currencies which are an alternative to holding of Black money.

This is a direct affront to Mr Modi’s fight against corruption and fight against Black money and today Infosys Board including Mr Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani has to explain the statement of Mr Sanat Rao.

I also state yet again, Mr Urjit Patel the Governor of RBI is allowing these developments because he has chosen to remain silent without showing the guts to oppose Bitcoin. I have no expectation from Mr Arun Jaitely and the Finance Ministry because I feel that they are actually in support of Bitcoins and are only held back by RBI’s opposition and possible Supreme Court intervention.

Where does Mr Modi and Amit Shah stand on this? As of now it is not clear. Though I have sent many communications to the PMO, Mr Modi and the PMO has chosen to remain silent because they donot want to go against Mr Arun Jaitely’s advise. I presume that Mr jaitely is still reeling under the pressure of managing the fall outs of demonetization and GST and is unable to take any other hard decisions and will be happy to procrastinate and keep “Observing” how Bitcoin creeps into our economy.

We Indians did the same mistake of allowing terrorism creep into Kashmir and today Kashmir is a problem that has become too difficult to handle politically. Same way Bitcoin if not killed today will eat into Indian Economy and devour our system.

While the politicians wait for the Gujarat elections to be over, I would like to ask some questions to RBI and IDRBT.

  1. Finacle Trade Connect is meant to be a product to be used in the Banking system. Is it not necessary for IDRBT to clear the software? Has it been done?
  2. Block chain is a technology of ledger keeping where there is no central authority for authenticating any transaction. It is a peer to peer authentication. Our Banking system involves a Banker-Customer contractual relationship. If I as a customer of a Bank propose a transaction to the Bank how can some Tom Dick and Harry operating a block chain node approve my transaction? Is it not a power of attorney holder of the Bank alone who has the right to approve my transaction?
  3. Why should every block chain node at all be aware of my transaction even if it is encrypted?
  4. How does Banking law permit disclosure of my confidential transaction to be published on the block chain?
  5. Who will take the liability if the approval is defective?
  6. What if the block chain forks?
  7. Since Block chain is a public chain, is it not amenable for DDOS attacks and malware injection?.. Who will be responsible for such malware attacks?
  8. Is the statement of Finacle indicative that IDRBT has approved Bitcoin as a technology and Banks are preparing for use of Bitcoins in their transactions?
  9. Since Infosys is the organization behind GST which had many technical glitches thanks to their inefficiency, will Infosys also push the Block Chain technology to GST as well?
  10. Dear Mr Modi, are you aware of the implications of remaining silent on Bitcoin introduction into our economy?. I donot see any difference between this and the poisoning of the Indian minds by organizations like Zakir Naik and PFI. Why are you shying away from taking control of this Black money alternative called Bitcoin?

I look forward to agencies like RBI and Finance Ministry to respond to these questions. Honest India wants to know if Corruption has grown so big that even Mr Modi has to bow his head before Bitcoin?

Naavi

P.S: As an honest Citizen of India, Naavi has done enough to highlight the dangers of Bitcoins and why it needs to be banned in India. If the Government, RBI and informed members of Public still wants to embrace Bitcoins it is their choice.

However, if the Indian economy collapses, then even people like us will have to suffer. But if this is the future of India we have to suffer and the concept of Achche Din, perhaps Naavi has to also accept defeat that Corruption in India is the king and Bitcoin which is the most effective tool of corruption cannot be defeated…. 

Hope this is the last article on Bitcoin that I need to write…

Naavi

 

On 27th, November 2017, a talk had been arranged by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce, in the FKCCI building, K.G.Road, Bangalore. The gathering consisting mainly of members of the chamber was addressed by Mr Satvik Vishwanathan, CEO of Unocoin.com, one of the early entrants into the Bitcoin trading in India. He made an excellent presentation on why Bitcoin is a great investment. As could be expected, the talk focused on how Bitcoin price has grown by 9000% in the last few years and how it is a good substitute for fiat currency holding etc.

Many in the audience were perhaps impressed and decided that part of their export sales should be collected in Bitcoins.

After the meeting, promotional vouchers of Rs 500/- were distributed free to all the participants as seed money in the form of “Bitcoins” if they register in the Unocoin.com website.

There was a brief discussion at the end of the talk in which the undersigned cautioned the participants that until RBI and SEBI approve legitimacy of the Bitcoin, investment should not be considered. Some aspects such as the possible use of Bitcoins for Black Money hoarding was also briefly pointed out by some members.

However, the event itself being held in the FKCCI building under the patronage of the Chamber , and the recent two page ad in Sunday Express, indicate that the Promotion of Bitcoins is going unabated while the RBI and the Government is dithering and not coming out with a decision to ban crypto currencies.

Many in the audience were perhaps sold on the dream of Bitcoin soaring to the Moon/Mars faster than NASA’s rockets. The meeting was therefore successful in its objective of promoting Bitcoins as an investment and as an alternative to currency. Mention was also made about some entities in Bangalore receiving Bitcoin as a payment for goods and services as if the practice is welcome.

Will the  dreams of a Bitcoin investment soaring to the skies be a reality? only time will tell. But if people invest their hard earned money and lose, all responsible persons particularly in the regulatory structure in the country should take responsibility.

One of the participants mentioned that when a Malaysian Company made a marketing tour of India and sold the concept of investing in their Gold Coins, many lost money and about 56 persons committed suicide. I recalled that when that meeting was held in Chennai, I had shot off a letter to the DGP there predicting that it would be a scam one day. Ofcourse, DGP did not heed to the caution and investments were made by many. Similarly, today we are looking at another dream called Bitcoin and perhaps one more set of suicides in the coming days.

The RBI Governor and Mr Arun Jaitely will perhaps wake up when there is some major calamity that will result in a number of people losing their investment in Bitcoins. Until then, the dream of a $10000 value per Bitcoin will be attracting greedy people like moths take to light.

On our part, it is a fair speculation that some of the decision makers in the Government are sold out to Bitcoin industry because it represents the cumulative strength of all the black money which Mr Modi wanted to remove from the system. The Politicians, Criminals as well as Business men and IT evaders have all got vested interests in ensuring continuation of Bitcoins in use and are happy with the RBI not coming up with a ban but continuing to make ridiculous statement that “They are observing”.

It is depressing to note that Corruption is showing its strength and even Mr Modi is unable to kill Bitcoin which is the alter ego of Black money.

Hope Mr Modi will wake up from his slumber atleast after the Gujarat elections and talk about demonetization of crypto currencies in his next Man Ki Bat.

Naavi

Justice B.N. Srikishna Committee constituted on 31st July 2017 to draft a “Privacy Act” for India has come out with a white paper for pubic comments. The 243 page report is now in public domain and seeks public response to every angle of the proposed legislation.

The white paper draws heavily from the GDPR as could be expected and has made frequent references to the Supreme Court judgement on Privacy in the Puttaswamy case.

The deadline for submission of comments is 31st December 2017. Presently the web link suggested for online submission returns a 404 error and hopefully it would be corrected soon.

Written responses can be sent to : In case you wish to submit written comments/feedback, same may be sent to: Shri Rakesh Maheshwari, Scientist G & Group Co-ordinator, Cyber laws, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY),Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi- 110003.

Naavi.org will be analysing the suggestions made and provide its comments and suggestions on the website in due course.

Public are welcome to send their responses for the comments.

Naavi

ITA 2008 already has a provision.. if Sophia breaks our law

Posted by Vijayashankar Na on November 25, 2017
Posted in Cyber Law  | Tagged With: , , , , , | 1 Comment

The advent of the “Humanoid robots” and “Artificial Intelligence” is posing a challenge to the law makers and interpreters on how does the current laws affect the actions of these machines. Saudi Arabia has created a complication by granting “Citizenship” to a humanoid robot called “Sophia”.

The stories about and interviews of Sophia by journalists (Refer one article here) indicate that we may be in for some interesting debates on whether Sophia can raise a “Family” etc., but we as observers of Cyber Law need to also discuss whether Sophia can commit a Cyber Crime and if so how should our law deal with it.

While Sophia may be a good girl now and take some time to learn the bad habits of humans, commission of “Offences” through misuse of so called “Artificial Intelligence” or even the malfunction of AI or a simple automated functionality is a day to day problem to be dealt with.

When E Commerce Act 1998 was drafted in India or when ITA 2000 was enacted or when it was modified in 2008, we could not think of a “Humanoid Robot” as a citizen of a country a reality. But within two decades of the sprouting of the first thoughts of Cyber Laws in India, we are now staring at a possibility that a humanoid robot can claim the rights of a citizen. While some Islamic fundamentalists are already asking why this citizen of Saudi Arabia is not wearing a hijab or a burkah, we need to ask, what happens if Sophia commits an offence knowingly or unknowingly.

It is to the credit of our law drafters that we can still consider that ITA 2000/8 can address such a situation since knowingly or unknowingly a provision was created in the law to meet such contingencies.

Under Section 11 of ITA 2000 it is stated that “An electronic record shall be attributed to the originator if it was sent by an information system programmed by or on behalf of the originator to operate automatically”.

Since all actions of the robot has to be by means of an “Electronic Document” (which is an aggregation of binary impulses), and each such document can be attributed to the person who originated the binary impulse/s, the actions of the robot can be legally attributed to the person who caused the information system (i.e. the robot) to behave in that manner.

Hanson Robotics, the company which has created Sophia will therefore be firstly liable for all actions of Sophia. However, since Sophia has been “Adopted” by the Saudi Arabian Government, one can argue that the responsibility for the actions of Sophia shifts to the Saudi Arabian Government. Hence Sophia becomes a “Government Property” of the Saudi Government and actions against her would be a war against Saudi and actions from her could be an action of the Saudi Government.

If therefore Sophia breaks any law of India, we should be prepared to launch an international litigation against Saudi Government which is considered a “Friendly Country” for India. I urge Ms Sushma Swaraj to think if we need a special “Treaty” with not only Saudi Government but also any other Government which in future would adopt such “Robots” as citizens so that any intended or unintended transgressions of Indian law by these robots would be considered as actions of the respective Governments and India retains the right to take actions against such Governments.

There is also a threat that sooner or later, just as Drones have become tools of terrorism, Sophia and her family may be taken over and radicalized by muslim terrorists and commit terror acts. We need to be prepared for such contingencies.

In this context, I would also like to warn all AI professionals that any AI device created by them will also be creating liabilities to the creators and they need to take necessary steps to ensure that what they consider as “Technical Snags” donot result in “Cyber Crimes” and put the creators behind bars.

Be Aware, Be compliant, Be Safe.

Naavi

More on Section 65B..from Madhya Pradesh..election petition

Posted by Vijayashankar Na on November 17, 2017
Posted in Cyber Law  | Tagged With: , , , | 4 Comments

In the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur, (S.Tiwari Vs Arjun Ajay Singh) in an order dated 17th January 2017, regarding E.P. no 01/2014, an important confirmation of a process has been added to the Cyber Jurisprudence of Section 65B of Indian Evidence Act.

In this case, there was a video shot by sub contractors of Election commission during an election campaign which was handed over to the election commission. After the election, one of the parties has raised an election petition in which he has produced a copy of the CD obtained from the Election Commission as a “Certified Copy” and produced it in the Court. Initially, it was not having Section 65B certificate and the petitioner again approached the Election Commission, obtained another set and presented it to the Court.

However, the Court observed that the original document in this case was contained in the memory card (Ed: or the tape) of the Camera and this was first transferred to a CD when it was handed over to the Election commission and then this was again transferred by the Election Commission onto another CD and handed over to the petitioner.

The Court held that at each transfer point there has to be what it called a “Contemporaneous Certificate under Section 65B”. In this case the video grapher should have given the first certificate to EC and EC should have given the second certificate to the petitioner. Since this was not properly done, the Court refused to entertain the evidence.

The contention of the Court is on the right lines even though it may surprise many. The undersigned has been advocating it to some where necessary.

It is good that Courts have been deliberating on the issue of Section 65B certification in great detail and this will be discussed again and again in the days to come.

Naavi

Making a mockery of Background checks

Posted by Vijayashankar Na on November 16, 2017
Posted in Cyber Law  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Recently there is news about many relatives of known international terrorists as well as those who are openly advocating secession from India for Kashmir as well as other terror sympathizers being provided with plush Government jobs (besides security at Government cost).

While we leave the political debate of the issue to Arnab Goswami, Rahul Kanwal or Zakka Jacob and others, there is one aspect of this accommodation which I feel creates a problem for private sector in rest of India.

We emphasize as part of “Due Diligence” in any Company under Section 79 of ITA 2000 as well as other laws, that a Company must conduct a proper background check on people whom they recruit as employees. We believe that failure of a proper back ground check could result in “Vicarious liabilities” on the organizations.

In such background check it is not only checking of educational qualifications and previous employment details which are checked but also any information available on the “Character” of a person and his likely involvement directly or indirectly in any offences. Now if some body is a son a known terrorist or even a petty criminal, it is often considered as a disqualification for employment. In such a scenario, it is unthinkable for some body to be employed in any part of India if he says that he is the son of Yasin Mallick or Dawood Ibrahim or Hafeez Sayeed.

Now when we learn that the J&K Government does not consider such relationship as a disqualification, a precedent is being created that even in other parts of India, some of these tainted persons may claim a constitutional right to employment under the Indian constitution and seek Government jobs. State Governments like Kerala and West Bengal may even provide reservations and privileges to the kith and kin of the freedom fighters of Kashmir.

If therefore we donot oppose the recruitment of such persons in Government employment in J&K Government, we will create a very undesirable precedent for the entire country of which J&K is an integral part. Continuation of these practices would result in making the present back ground checks and any adverse action based on past involvement in fraud or other crimes completely untenable. This will make a mockery of our current back ground check policies.

I therefore urge the Government of India to take a strict view of the recruitment of alleged sympathizers of the secession of Kashmir by the Mehbooba Mufti Government and also send out a general circular across the country that

“Any person suspected to have been involved in any anti social activities including terrorism or sedition shall not be recruited in any Government or Private sector jobs without a specific clearance by the Central Government Home Ministry”.

Any violation of the above rule should be treated as an “Abatement” to the associated anti social act. The Home ministry should create a proper administrative set up to approve requests in eligible cases where there is a “Rehabilitation program” under a proper Government initiative and a proper monitoring of such individuals.  Rules should also be laid down on what kind of employments can be provided to such persons and whether any specific types of jobs such as “Police or Security or Judiciary” should be barred for such persons.

Even when we await Government action in this regard, a clause as indicated above should be part of the HR policy of every private organization with the proviso that the clearance would be required by a high level body at the Director’s level in the Company.

Looking forward to the response from the Government.

Naavi