17th October is an important date for the Digital India. It was on this day in 2000, that India notified the Information Technology Act 2000 and brought for the first time, Legal Recognition for binary expressions or electronic documents.
As a result of this, just as Independent India came into being on August 15, 1947, a Judicially recognized “Digital Society of India” came into being from 17th October 2000. Prior to this an “Electronic Document” was not recognized in law. Hence whether it was a web page or an e-mail or a computer generated document, they had no validity as a legal evidence. Crimes done with electronic documents could not be proved under the normal laws. Business could not go to Court with their disputes based on electronic documents.
All this changed on 17th October 2000 when electronic documents or more specifically, binary expressions which the computer like devices could read and interpret became as valid as a “Paper” writings on which could be seen and interpreted by law. This legal recognition of electronic document along with legal recognition of authentication through digital signatures brought in the possibility of valid digital contracts into business transactions and gave a legal support to E Commerce.
Though there has been a further amendment to ITA 2000 in 2008, and one more is now under consideration, the fundamental change in the society could be ascribed to the ITA 2000 providing recognition to Electronic Document and authentication with which we have a “Digital Person”, “Digital Identity” and “Digital Transaction” that has the recognition in law.
Recognizing this important change in the society, Naavi has been advocating that this day namely the 17th October should be recognized and celebrated by India as the “Digital Society Day” and each of us should undertake such activities as would be beneficial to the Digital/Cyber Society of India.
Unfortunately, the Government is yet to recognize the importance of this day and hence we donot see any focussed activity to celebrate this day just as we celebrate other important days such as the “Privacy Day” etc. This itself indicates that we are yet to fully appreciate what a great change was brought to India on 17th October 2000. Today’s “Digital India” concept would not be a reality but for the laws that came into being on 17th October 2000.
We hope, if not this year, at least in the coming years, Government of India declares 17th October as the “Digital Society Day” and undertake special projects across law colleges and other academic institutions that highlight the motto “Let’s Build a Responsible Cyber Society”.
Naavi.org has been highlighting different aspects of the Cyber Society for focus each year. Last year it was an year in which we said we need to fight Ransomware.
This year we dedicate ourselves to working for the “Improvement of the Cyber Crime Complaint Management System in India “.
Improving the Cyber Crime Complaint Management System recognizes that the present system where Cyber Crime victims lodge their complaints with the Police and wait for the resolution is not working well.
There is definitely the problem of “Awareness” of law both with the public, the Police or the Judiciary. This is being addressed by various institutions including the NPA and Judicial Academy. But awareness is not the whole problem.
However, beyond the creation of awareness, the next goal should be to check how the knowledge and awareness converts into practical benefit to the society and how the Cyber Crime victims are responded to by the Police when they approach the Police Stations.
We should ask ourselves, whether it is only the lack of awareness which is causing a displeasure for the Cyber Crime victims or the “Reluctance” to handle the complaints that is increasingly becoming a cause of concern.
Naavi uses the Pentagon Model theory of Information Security Motivation in implementation of Information Security in organizations which includes five elements to be present simultaneously for Information Security practices to emerge in an organization. They are
a) Awareness: of Why, What and How
b) Acceptability: that it is required for self and society
c) Availability: of tools required to implement
d) Mandate: By law and internal policies
e) Inspiration: Created by specific programs
These five principles are like the five walls of a pentagon which should close properly for Information Security to be implemented.
The same principle also applies to the implementation of proper methods to improve the Cyber Crime Complaint Management System in our Law enforcement.
It is Naavi’s observation that we need to improve this system of quick and effective response from the Cyber Crime Policing System if public are to be satisfied.
I urge academic institutions across the Country and the NGOs to undertake projects to identify the problems of Cyber Crime Victims in getting their disputes heard and resolved through as many activities as possible during the year so that we can move towards a better management of Cyber Crime complaints in the coming days.
Any suggestions and papers received in this regard for publications on Naavi.org is welcome.