Naavi has been pointing out that the increasing use of IT in E Governance and E Commerce and the embracing of the Digital India policy which includes the Internet of Things and Big Data, there is a need for a revision of Information technology Act 2000.
A “Cyber Law Vision-2018” was suggested by Naavi which included some thoughts on the direction that the Indian Cyber Law of the future should pursue. The vision document was released before the Supreme Court verdict but anticipated the possibility of Supreme Court holding the section unconstitutional.
Naavi has also repeatedly drawn the attention Modi Government on the unsavoury experience of Mr Chandrababu Naidu who lost a political election despite his glorious achievements in the IT sector and warned the Government of a possibility of similar nature for Modi. ( Refer: An Open Letter to Mr Modi) Now unfortunately this prediction has come through in the form of a debacle in the Bihar election.
Scrapping of Section 66A by the Supreme Court, had already forced the hands of the Government to start a process of revisiting ITA 2008 and the Bihar debacle has added the urgency.
In order to ensure that Government gets the right inputs on amending the ITA 2008 which not only satisfies the Supreme Court but also provides a base for Secure Digital India without a political backlash, Naavi invites interested specialists in Cyber Law to come together into a Virtual Special Interest Group that can recommend a comprehensive revision of ITA 2008.
It may be remembered that when an “Expert Committee” was formed by the then Government in 2005 to amend ITA 2000, it had no representation of Netizens and it came up with a highly controversial amendments. Though some of the mistakes were corrected by the Parliamentary Committee before it was passed in 2008 (what we recognize now as ITA 2008), many of the weaknesses remain.
Over the period we have pointed out how the Government officials themselves are flouting ITA 2000/8 out of sheer ignorance. In particular, we have pointed out the Karnataka IT Secretary who ruled “Person” in Section 43 means only an individual and not a company. Karnataka Legislature passed the amendment to Indian Registration Act 1908 which is ultra vires the ITA 2000/8. Even the Central Government in its notifications for the Digital Locker project violated ITA 2000/8.
In view of the above, we the Citizens of India who are being forced to be also Netizens because of the rapid digitization of the country, but firmly believe that ICT has the potential to transform India for the better if the policies are implemented in a proper manner, need to participate in the process of this transformation of Cyber Laws.
We presume that the Government may not invite the public to contribute their ideas until it is too late for making any positive contributions and hence need to move now before the Government pushes ahead its own efforts in this matter.
The objective is to ensure that the amendments when made are “Citizen Centric” and even the Biharis and Uttar Pradeshis who would vote in the elections should be able to appreciate the benefits and does not derail the Digital India vision.
We shall call this the “VSIG on Cyber Laws for Digital India” and collate recommendations from the private sector for amending ITA 2008 in such a manner that it becomes an instrument of development which does not face the opposition either from the politicians or the general public who only feels the effect of IT but does not understand the intricacies or the limitations.
Looking forward to participation from the Cyber Law stalwarts of India.