|HOME | INFOTECH | HEADLINES|
September 22, 1999
Speaker after speaker touches upon cyber lawsNeena Haridas at Pragati Maidan
Consider this: In 1997 India had 300,000 users. In 1998 these were 750,000 and in 1999 these are 1.9 million.
This is only a fraction of the connections in the United States and Europe.
Things get worse because no government lasts long enough to take a decision on the laws related to cyber space and the Internet.
Though B Chandrashekhar, secretary, Department of Electronics, assured delegates that the cyber laws bill would be introduced in the winter session of the Parliament, there are still many questions that seek answers.
"This bill is jinxed. We had the draft ready to be introduced in the Parliament when the government fell. After that I had an ordinance on cyber laws prepared. When the cabinet was about to take a decision on it, the Election Commission intervened. But I assure you that the bill will be passed in the winter session of the Parliament," an exasperated Gupta said.
Anand Sundarshan, president, Planetasia.com, feels that India is concerned with issues of cyber laws that are not really issues.
Says he, "Whenever we talk about cyber laws we think of cyber crimes involving credit cards. But that is just a tiny tip of the iceberg. What we really need to look at is evolving a practical policy on cyber laws and ensuring its implementation."
Says Sundarshan, "At the heart of the matter is the philosophy of free spirit. A section of the cyber junkies believe that since Internet is freedom of expression, it should remain so. But this freedom of expression creates problem when crime too becomes a form of expression. This gives rise to issues such as protection and preservation of intellectual property, individual privacy and promotion of global trade."
So how do we usher in the future quickly while letting off the past smoothly? "For this we need to realise that the Internet is not just a business movement, it is a social movement," says Sundarshan.
It is not just books, music, films and advertising that happen on the Net. The transport layers such as technology and communication too needs to be taken care off in the law books.
For, it has been clearly defined that the power has shifted in favour of the consumer for he knows a lot about the seller even before the salesman does his hard sell.
There is a separate economy on the Net, explains Sundarshan. And hence, policymakers should touch upon issues such as taxation, cross-border taxation, regulatory bodies etc while penning Net laws.
These are also the legal challenges that India must face. But the problem in India is that even today the IT Bill that takes care of e-commerce, cyber crime and electronic evidence cannot come into force until a host of other policies such as the telecom policy, the Telegraph Act etc are not amended.
And amendments don't happen in a day in India, not with governments falling every year, says Sundarshan. Besides, the policy should also look at the Internet from the cultural point of view, as it is a huge community out there in cyber space.
However, it is irrational for the users of the Net to wait for the government to take action. "The businesses must act upon themselves and take measures and set standards. Only this will help us to move faster towards setting up a definitive cyber law in place," says Sundarshan.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK