Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA 2000) was notified on 17th October 2000 and today is the 18th year after India legally recognized the Electronic Document as equivalent to Paper Document and Digital Signature as equivalent to physical signature leading to the possibility of a legally valid contracts being formed entirely with electronic documents. For all legal purpose, the Digital Society of India took formal birth on that day and therefore we have been recognizing this day therefore as the “Digital Society Day”.
Naavi has been tracing the developments in this field first through the domain name naavi.com and then through naavi.org.
The year that has gone by has been eventful with “Privacy” hogging the limelight. The year started in the background of the Privacy Judgement from Supreme Court holding “Privacy as a Fundamental Right”. The Justice Srikrishna Committee came up with its white paper, sought public comments and towards the end of the year came up with its report and the draft Personal Data Protection Act 2018. This is one of the biggest changes in the Cyber Law environment in India since ITA 2000 was born since PDPA 2018 is entirely about “Informational Privacy” and “Data Protection”.
The year 2019 promises to be a continuation of the Privacy and Data Protection issues and we will see many developments including the establishment of the Data Protection Authority of India. Section 43A of ITA 2000/8 would be deleted and PDPA 2018 would take over the concept of “Reasonable Security”.
The Cyber Crime scenario was dotted with two big Banking frauds namely the PNB fraud and the Cosmos Bank fraud which indicated how the digital banking system could be easily defrauded if Bankers donot manage security as is expected of them. Hopefully they would learn their lessons and fortify their defences.
The Supreme Court through its Aadhaar Judgement has given a small jolt to the industry and hopefully the situation would ease out with the use of Virtual ID as a means of e-KYC and e-Sign, once necessary formalities are completed.
During the year, the Government notified some agencies under Section 79A and activated the concept of the Digital Evidence Examiner. However, a two member bench of the Supreme Court muddied the waters under Section 65B by trying to over turn an earlier 3 member bench decision in the Basheer case.
Technology continued to pose new challenges with Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing making further strides. This raises the concern that if the Indian Supreme Court cannot properly appreciate the Section 65 B concept of electronic evidence after 18 years, will it be able to tackle disputes such as the Uber Self driven car accident, or the activities of the humanoid robots like Sophia. The concepts of Super Positioning and Entanglement in Quantum Computing could be a real challenge for the Indian judiciary in the days to come.
On the home front, Naavi.org continued its fight against Bitcoin to an extent that it appears that the Government has reined in the growth of this black money instrument. We are awaiting a proper burial of the system in due course as the trend has reversed across the world in this regard disfavouring the Bitcoin recognition as an proxy for currency.
Additionally Cyber Law College conducted two offline Cyber Law Courses in Bengaluru, first in BMS Law College and then in St Joseph Law College (presently in progress). Naavi also continues to engage himself with NLSUI and NALSAR in the Cyber Law courses conducted under their banner as guest faculty. Cyber Law College has also extended its use of the Apnacourse online platform with the introduction of a course on GDPR.
Now the biggest step of the year taken by Cyber Law College is the launch of a course on Personal Data Protection Act 2018 (PDPA 2018) to support the movement of PDPA 2018 awareness in India. The launch has just now been announced and hopefully, some professionals and students would take advantage of the opportunity to be the early learners of the emerging Privacy law in India. This course not only covers PDPA 2018 but also another emerging law called DISHA 2018 (proposed) besides discussing the impact of GDPR on Indian companies. These courses are intended to develop a truly knowledgeable Privacy professional in India who is equipped with the knowledge of laws as applicable in India.
Yet another step which is significant for Naavi personally is the promotion of a Section 8 Company namely the “Foundation of Data Protection Professionals in India” to bring together a larger section of stake holders in ensuring that Data Protection Industry in India would be represented by and managed with an Indian perspective rather than importing the perspective from the foreign markets.
The current activities of Naavi and Cyber Law College are much relevant for an organization like FDPPI and could also help FDPPI to blossom faster than it otherwise would. Some of the current activities of Cyber Law College could therefore be pledged and used for the benefit of FDPPI in the coming days.