Recently, Mr Amit Shah, the honourable Home Minister of India collected information from across the country on the amendments that are required to the law to effectively counter Cyber crimes. Information coming out of the ministry seems to suggest that a new “Cyber Crime Act” may be in the anvil to supplement and partially replace the provisions of Information Technology Act 2000 as amended in 2008 (ITA 2000/8).
According to this report in Times of India the new approach would be to amend the ITA 2000/8 to keep most of the civil offences under the present act and create a new Cyber Crime Act to address the issue of Cyber Crimes.
One of the features being considered is to ensure that there will be no inter state jurisdictional barrier for Cyber Crime investigations. This would be a good move if it is extended to the full extent including the creation of the National Cyber Crime Police cadre which is a long term necessity in India.
Other than this provisions of Chapter XI of ITA2000/8 may be shifted into the new Act. In the earlier act there was no recognition of “Cyber Squatting” as an offence and this is due. Section 66A which covered Cyber harassment was wrongly scrapped by the Supreme Court and requires to be reinstated in some form.
The Intermediary guidelines which were sought to be amended and were opposed by some activists may now find a place in the new Act.
Hopefully some of the evidentiary issues including Section 65B of IEA that affect prosecution may get tampered with.
Let us wait and watch what more changes are going to be proposed. We hope the law will be stringent and at the time fairly implemented with checks and balances to prevent misuse by the Police and clever criminals and harassment of honest Netizens.
We need to specially watch out for lobbyists specially from the Banking sector will try to influence the changes in their favour.
Hopefully the draft would be available for public comments during the winter session along with the revised Data Protection Bill.