The T K Vishwanathan Committee on ITA 2000 amendments is presently working on amendments to the ITA 2000. ITA 2000 was notified with an intention to “Enable and Promote E Commerce”. However, the amendments of 2008 shifted the focus from E Commerce Enablement and Promotion to “Information Security”.
Now the proposed 2017 amendments may have to keep in mind both E Commerce promotion as well as Information Security However, there is a need to enlarge our focus and recognize that “Computer” and “Information” has acquired a much larger meaning in 2017 than it ever had and hence the thrust of the law should also shift its focus.
The theme of the ITA 2017 (proposed) should be to “Enable”, “Promote”, “Regulate” and “Secure” …. “Digital India” as it emerges.
The “Digital India” that we need to Enable, Promote, Regulate and Secure consists of amounts other things, the IOT world, Big Data, Globalized Cyber Crime Syndicates and the Dark Web, the FinTech Companies, the Digital Payment Systems and so on. The IPR regime as applicable to Cyber Space which covers the domain name disputes, the copyright on social media disputes and the Patents of cyber processes, the issues such as Data Protection, Privacy etc all need to be kept in the radar.
Will the proposed amendments recognize this larger role of regulation of Digital India in an emerging Digital World? or will it be another attempt at simply tinkering the existing legislation with some new Cyber Crime definitions, changing the punishments from 3 years to 2 or five etc (many of which are also required) needs to be seen.
While it is easier to look at the changes to be made to the current framework, it requires a “Vision” of the “Future India” if we need to amend ITA 2000/8 in such a manner that it will be respected and complied with by the industry in the coming days. If the amendments are not handled with “Vision”, the law will become messy. A messy law will not be complied with voluntarily and will be abused both by the crooked and the corrupt.
We, the people of India need to do whatever is required to ensure that the proposed amendments are an improvement of the current regulatory regime and does not become a wasteful exercise complicating the law further.
It is however the duty of every Citizen of India on this 68th Republic Day to take a pledge that in the spirit of “Ask Not what the Country has done to you, but Reflect what you have done to the Country” to keep expressing what they think is good for the country in the form of the “New” and “Improved” ITA 2000/8.
Some of the general principles that the “Amended ITA 2000” should incorporate is
a) It should be simple and understandable by the common man
b) It should lay down the broad principles and leave the detailing to the rules
c) It should cover the interests of all stake holders such as the Citizens, Netizens, Cinizens (Citizens who are also Netizens), Information Intermediaries including Internet and Mobile service providers, Banks, E Commerce Companies etc as well as the Government.
It is important to ensure that the law should be “Cinezin Centric”, because in the coming days there will be no pure Citizens or no pure Netizens.
We should recognize that Citizens who are not Netizens may continue to exist for some more time and we need to give suitable time for them to transform from the Physical world to the Digital World.
At the same time Netizens who exist in the borderless Cyber Space to the extent they influence and interact with Citizens need to understand that law cannot be entirely made for the benefit of Netizens only.
Naavi.org invites “Visionaries” and thought leaders to contribute their thoughts on the required amendments through these columns.
Of course we cannot assure that these thoughts will be taken into consideration by the ITA 2000 amendment committee, but we hope the committee does give a glance to it.