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explain the salient features of information technology act 2000

by Guest12559107  |  4 years, 9 month(s) ago

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explain the salient features of information technology act 2000

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  5. Ali Abdullah
    Hi, The Parliament of India passed its first Cyberlaw, the Information Technology Act, 2000. This not only provides the legal infrastructure for E-commerce in India but it simultaneously awards draconian powers to the Police to enter and search, without any warrant, any public place for the purpose of nabbing cyber criminals and preventing cyber crime. The salient features of the said IT Act are as follows:- It legally recognizes email as a valid form of communication in India. Also, acceptance in an electronic form of any offer, culminating in an electronic contract, has also been declared legal and enforceable. The new act has recognized digital signatures for the first time in Indian Law. The said new law has also granted a hierarchy of infrastructure, consisting of a Controller for certifying authorities, Adjudicating Officers and Cyber Appellate Tribunal. The most disappointing aspect of the new IT Act 2000 is its absolute trampling of cyber liberties and freedom. A police officer of the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police has been granted arbitrary powers to do almost anything for the purpose of nabbing a cyber criminal. The said unrestricted power, given to a police officer, is in the form of absolute discretion given to the police officer to enter and search any public place and arrest any person-- without a warrant --who is 'reasonably suspected' of having committed or, of committing a cyber crime or, if he is about to commit a cyber crime. The discretion of the police officer further extends to defining exactly who is going to be 'reasonably suspected' of a cybercrime. Also, Indian Cyber law talks of the arrest of any person who is about to commit a cyber crime. It is indeed difficult to fathom as to how any police officer is going to decide as to whether a person is about to commit a cyber crime. Also, the requirements of cyber crime are very different from the Ordinary criminal law. Most often, it is difficult to decide whether any cyber crime is about to be committed till the last moment. The IT Act, 2000 gives immunity to the Central Government and its officials, including the police, from any suit, prosecution and other legal proceedings for any act, done in good faith, in pursuance of the provisions of the Act. Effectively, this rules out any remedy for any person, who is made a target of abuse and misuse of discretion by the police. Another anomaly is that Indian law makes itself applicable to not only the whole of India but also to any contravention or offence committed outside India by any person of any nationality throughout the world. Internet is about abolishing boundaries and not about creating them. The said new law will lead to numerous conflicts of jurisdiction. The said Indian law further takes immoveable property out of the ambit of electronic commerce as immoveable property. It is excluded from the Applicability of the Act. The Government of India further claims immunity from judicial review in its power of appointing the Presiding Officer of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal, a feature unknown to Indian jurisprudence. Further, it hits at the root of the established procedure of law. Another surprising feature of the new Indian law is that it begins by granting a legal infrastructure for e-commerce, without touching on other important legal issues for the corporate sector like Intellectual Property Rights, Domain Names, Internet Policy, Linking or Disclaimer. Another clause of the new law takes a contrary stand from emerging Global Cyber law trends, relating to liability of Internet Service Providers for third party data and information. Contrary to global trends, ISPs, as a matter of principle, are made liable for third party data and information, made available by them through their service. However, the ISP is not liable in two exceptional cases. (i) if the ISP proves that he had no knowledge of the commission of any offence or contravention of the provisions of the Act; (ii) if the ISP proves that he acted with due diligence to prevent the commission of any offence or contravention of the provisions of the Act. However, both these exceptions are extremely loosely defined and may well become one more tool that is available to the authorities for the harassment of companies. The biggest concern about the new Indian Cyber law relates to its implementation. The said Act does not lay down parameters for its implementation. In any case internet penetration in India is extremely low and Government and Police Officials, in general are not at all computer literate. The only way this law is going to be able to make any positive contribution is if the infrastructural and support systems are drastically upgraded to create an environment conducive to effective and smooth implementation.

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