Question – Describe the flaws of the IT Act-2000, citing recent relevant examples. How can better and effective control be put on social media? – 10 July 2021
Following the United Nations resolution, India passed the Information Technology Act, 2000 in May 2000 and made it into force by notification on 17 October 2000. The Information Technology Act, 2000 has been substantially amended through the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008.
Objectives of the Act:
The Information Technology Act 2000 addresses the following issues:-
- Legal recognition of electronic documents
- Legal recognition of digital signature
- offenses and violations
- Justice system for cyber crimes
Jurisdictional Provisions in Cyberspace under the Information Technology Act, 2000:
- Attempt to tamper with computer resources
- Attempt to hack by tampering with the data stored in the computer
- Penalty for sending restricted information through communication services
- Penalty for wrongly obtaining stolen information from computer or any other electronic gadget
- Penalty for stealing someone’s identity
- Penalty for accessing personal data with the help of a computer by concealing one’s identity Provision for punishment for breach of privacy
- Provision of punishment for cyber terrorism
- Provisions related to publication of objectionable information
- Penalty for publishing or transmitting sex or obscene information through electronic means
- Publishing or broadcasting through electronic means objectionable material that depicts children in an obscene state
- Penalty for interception or withholding of information by arbitrators
- Provisions relating to unauthorized access to secure computers
- misrepresentation of data
- Provisions relating to breach of mutual trust and privacy
- Provisions relating to disclosure of information in violation of the terms of the contract
- Publication of fake digital signature
Drawbacks of the Act:
While the Act has been successful in establishing a regulatory framework in cyberspace, and addresses some of the major concerns of misuse of the technology, it suffers from some serious shortcomings that have not been discussed. Many experts, such as Supreme Court lawyer and cyber rights activist Pawan Duggal, argue that the Act is a toothless law, which is not fully effective in issuing penalties or sanctions against criminals who misuse access to cyberspace. There are certain areas of cyber laws that need attention.
Suggestions for improvement:
- The IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 reduced the quantum of punishment for majority of cyber crimes. It needs to be rectified.
- Most cyber crimes need to be made non-bailable offences.
- The IT Act does not cover most of the offenses committed through mobile phones. It needs to be rectified.
- A comprehensive data protection regime needs to be incorporated into the law to make it more effective.
- Detailed legal system necessary to protect the privacy of individuals and institutions.
- Cyber crime needs to be covered under the IT Act as a crime.
- Certain parts of Section 66-A of the IT Act go beyond reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution of India. These need to be removed to make the provisions legally sustainable.