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
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.