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Public initiative needed to fill policy vacuum
The Indian government has accepted the recommendations of Praveen Dalal again and announced the amendment of the Information Technology Act (IT Act) 2000, India’s only cyber law, keeping in mind the requirement of cyber forensics in India.
Policy-making and policy implementation are the government’s job. There is always a big gap between the desired policies and the policies that obtain. This naturally affects the nation at large but the consequences are mostly borne by citizens. Although there are many policy lapses in India, the most glaring are those pertaining to Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

According to Praveen Dalal, a leading techno-legal ICT, cyber law, cyber security and cyber forensics specialist of India, “India is ignoring the importance of cyber security and cyber forensics. ICT trends in India-2006, ICT trends in India-2007, Cyber Security Trends by PTLB-2007, etc, are examples of faulty ICT/E-governance strategies and policies of India. Further, Cyber Forensics Trends in India-2008 are also not conducive to the growth of legal enablement of ICT systems in India. The obvious result is that law enforcement agencies, lawyers, judges, etc, find it difficult to deal with issues concerning ICT. The position is worse when it comes to investigation of cyber crimes committed through wireless networks. We cannot blame the law enforcement agency, prosecution and judiciary in this regard as there is an absence of proper legislative and policy support in India.”

The natural question that arises in this situation is: can ’public initiatives’ fill the ’governmental policy vacuum’? There is no doubt that the government does consider inputs from experts and specialists in the respective fields. For instance, the government of India has recently accepted the recommendations of Dalal once again and announced amendment of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000), the only cyber law in the country, keeping in mind the requirement of cyber forensics in India. A very interesting ’national consensus-building exercise’ on the development of capacity for legal enablement of ICT systems in India is taking place. It is spearheaded by Dalal and leading techno-legal platforms of India like PTLB, PTLITC, etc. All of us must extend our support to this ’national cause’. Similarly, on public request, a ’Working Group on Cyber Law in India’ is in the process of being constituted that would take care of the legal enablement of ICT systems in India. It would be comprised of leading organisations, institutions, industrial and professional bodies, members of civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governmental representatives, lawyers, judges, etc, who have sound knowledge of and expertise in the field of ICT. At the same time, assistance and services of ’volunteers’ and ’associates’ would also be sought; they may not be part of the working group but could nevertheless be capable of providing a ’good shape’ to the ICT policies of India.

The answer to the main question posed seems to be that ’public initiatives like consensus-building and working groups can fill the governmental vacuum’. We need good people who can take the challenging task of building a ’safe and strong India’. The ultimate question is ’are you the one’? Yes, we think you are.

Praveen Dalal is the Managing Partner of Perry4Law and heads its PTLB, PTLITC and other Techno-Legal Divisions which provide cyber law, cyber security and cyber forensics assistance and services. Perry4Law is the first and exclusive techno-legal and ICT law firm in India and has been in operation since 2002. It deals with the legal issues associated with ICT and the use of ICT for legal purposes. PTLB and PTLITC are a few of the techno-legal ICT initiatives of Perry4Law and are in the process of upgradation and formalisation. Dalal’s specialisations include areas like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, digital evidencing, corporate ICT compliances, etc.

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Public initiatives are absolutely necessary in India. For instance, Cyber Law Database of India intends to provide a comprehensive and holistic resource base at a single place. All possible information has been provided at a single platform so that public can have maximum benefit. This effort of the Law Firm Perry4Law is not only unique but also intends to be the best in India as well. This initiative of ours becomes more important because besides various grey areas in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) India is also facing problems of lack of Cyber Security in India as well as ICT Security in India. A techno-legal base is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, we do not have a sound and secure ICT Security Base in India and Cybersecurity in India is still an ignored World. If opening of Cyber Cells/Cyber Units/ Cyber Security Labs alone is Cyber Security then perhaps India is best in the World at managing Cyber Security issues. Unfortunately ICT Security in India is equated with face saving exercises of false claims and redundant exercises. The truth remains that ICT Security in India is a myth and not reality. The Cyber Law in India requires a dedicated and pro active approach towards ICT and Cyber Security in India. In the absence of a dedicated and sincere approach, the CyberLaw in India is going to collapse. Let us hope that this effort of ours will provide Cyber Law of India in general and ICT in particular a new direction and dimension.
merinews for RTI activists

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