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India’s Information Technology (Amendment) Bill Passed By Lok Sabha


The lower house of the Indian Parliament – the Lok Sabha – yesterday, hurriedly passed the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill without a debate; the melee in the Lok Sabha centered around political oneupmanship, rather than legislation. According to media reports, the law allows:

– Interception of messages from mobile phones, computers and other communication devices
– Blocking of websites in the interest of national security
– Measures to tackle cyber crime: fraud, phishing, terrorism, pornography
– The setting up of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal

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We’re trying to locate an updated version of the bill; here’s a copy of the THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2006 (via PRS India), and a copy of the Standing Committee report on the IT (Amendment)  Bill, 2006.

We’ll update with more on the specifics of the IT Act; we’re looking, in particular, for the following:
– Interception of person-to-person communication, and the situations under which the government may be allowed to do the same
– Incorporation of a “Safe Harbor” provision, like the one that exists in the DMCA. This will free platform service providers like YouTube from the liability that accrues from users who upload infringing content.
– Liability in case of copyrighted transfer of data via P2P – with the person downloading, uploading or both?
– Provisions for blocking of websites: The Indian government did try to block access to certain websites two years ago. My views on the same: How Can A Few People Decide What We View Online? and Uncert-in Reasoning.

Note: the Rajya Sabha is going to take up the bill today, and if passed, it will be made into a law.

  • http://www.naavi.org Naavi

    The secrecy around this final draft which was passed and the hurry as well as lack of debate raise suspicions on the intentions of the ruling party.

    The critical thing to note is that the Parliamentary standing committee had proposed substantial changes from the original draft presented on 15th Dec 2006 in the Parliament. We need to know if these proposals were honoured or ignored.

    For a detailed analysis based on the earlier draft one can refer http://www.naavi.org/naavi_comments_itaa/index.htm

  • http://google.com Raj

    This is the change wrt previous

    Liability of intermediaries
    –PREVIOUS VERSIOn–
    An intermediary shall not be responsible for any third party information, data made available by him.
    To avail of this protection he shall have to prove that data or content which led to the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
    -END PREVIOUS VERSION–

    –NEWER VERSION —
    An intermediary shall not be responsible for any third party information, data or communication link made available by him.
    This protection shall be available if the intermediary only provides access to information and if he does not (a) initiate/ select the receiver of the transmission, and (b) select or modify the information contained in the transmission. The protection is not available if the intermediary conspires or abets in the commission of the unlawful act. Upon receiving actual knowledge or being notified by the government authority about unlawful data or content the intermediary is required to remove such data or content or disable access to it.
    –END NEWER VERSION–

    Also see chapter 12 of the bill
    http://www.prsindia.org/docs/bills/1192012012/1192012012_96_2006.pdf

    A comparision
    http://www.prsindia.org/docs/bills/1168510210/bill93_2007112393_Legislative_Brief___Information_Technology_Bill.linkpdf.pdf

  • http://google.com Raj

    #1) BTW Nikhil we had a discussion on this at your contentsutra blog post
    http://www.contentsutra.com/entry/419-interview-with-ram-shriram-founder-of-sherpalo-ventures/

    #2)The definition of intermediary is interesting
    “(w) “intermediary”, with respect to any particular electronic records, means
    any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that
    record or provides any service with respect to that record and includes telecom
    service providers, network service providers, internet service providers, web-hosting
    service providers, search engines, online payment sites, online-auction sites, onlinemarket
    places and cyber cafes, but does not include body corporate referred to in
    section 43A;’.”

    they should have added – sponsored by airtel, google,ebay, paypal :)

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  • http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/misuse-of-information-technology-amendment-bill-2006 Syed Tanveeruddin

    Petition: Stop the likely misuse of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill 2006

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/misuse-of-information-technology-amendment-bill-2006

    Tanveer
    Syed Tanveeruddin

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  • http://www.naavi.org Naavi

    In order to prevent abuse of powers given to the Government agency under ITA 2000 there is a need for an agency such as National Netizen’s Rights Commission. Details are indicated in this article
    http://www.bloggernews.net/119210

    Naavi

  • ashok pai

    in the name of security the politicians want more control, and easier ways to dispose off those who are critical of the politicians. the mainstream media will not bat an eyelid towards this, i’m pretty sure!

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    I have personally think that, India is now one of the biggest IT capitals in the modern world.The United States’ technological lead was driven in no small part by the brain power of brilliant immigrants, many of whom came from India. The inestimable contributions of thousands of highly trained Indian migrants in every area of American scientific and technological achievement culminated with the information technology revolution most associated with California’s Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s.

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    This protection shall be available if the intermediary only provides access to information and if he does not (a) initiate/ select the receiver of the transmission, and (b) select or modify the information contained in the transmission. The protection is not available if the intermediary conspires or abets in the commission of the unlawful act.