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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

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.

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