On 17th October 2000, India notified Information Technology Act 2000. With the notification, for the first time in India, “Binary Expressions” processed in “Computers” were recognized as Electronic Documents and equivalent to written documents (Subject to exceptions in Section 1(4) of ITA 2000).
Simultaneously, digital signatures were recognized as a form of authentication and digital contracts recognized in law became feasible.
This was the birth of Digital Society in India. Today, the 17th October 2021 is the 21st anniversary of this momentous day.
Naavi has been advocating that this day has to be commemorated as the Digital Society Day of India since it marked a significant change in the history of India. If we are today talking of Digital India and taking pride in our achievements in digitization, the origin of this Digital India was in the legal recognition of digital documents.
The importance of October 17, increased when ITA 2000 was upgraded with the amendments of 2008 which incidentally became effective from 27th October 2009. With this amendment, ITA 2000 fortified its provisions on “Personal Data Protection” and “Non Personal Data Protection” with the introduction of sections 43A, 72A, etc.
Even after Section 43A is replaced with PDPB 2019 passed into an Act, the remaining provisions for data protection in ITA 2000 continue to make it the principal Cyber Law of India.
Let’s remember this day therefore as the day Indian Digital Society was born. Hope some day in future, MeitY will recognize the importance of October 17 for the Digital future of India and start commemorating the day officially.
It may be recalled that Naavi along with KLE Law College, Bangalore conducted a major event on Privacy way back on 17th October 2008 which was inaugurated by the then Law Minister of Karnataka, Mr Suresh Kumar.
That was the time when the Personal Data Protection Bill had been presented in the Parliament along with the ITA 2000 amendment Bill. ITA 2000 amendment bill became a law and created the ITA 2008 version of ITA 2000. The Personal Data Protection Bill however lapsed and we are still struggling to bring a law for Privacy Protection in India.
Today’s Privacy Activists need to refer to the events of this seminar available here and see how the Digital Society Foundation of India started as a trust tried to establish an organization which inter-alia was interested in developing education on Cyber Law in India. However this imitative could not be sustained. The current day FDPPI is a new incarnation of the DSFI which appears to have taken off because the environment is more conducive today to Privacy and Data Protection.
A Copy of the Personal Data Protection Bill 2006 presented in the Parliament at that time is available here and is worth looking into when analyzing the legislative history of PDPB 2019.
Some more photographs of the event are here:
When the Indian Data Protection Summit 2021 (IDPS 2021) discusses the Past, Present and Future of Privacy Law in India, it is necessary to remember this 2006 version of the Bill which faded into oblivion.