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|March 31, 1999||
Y Bala Murali Krishna
The Information Technology Bill, India's first attempt at a comprehensive legislation to counter online crimes, is ready to be introduced in this Budget session of Parliament.
The Bill is being formulated to meet legal requirements that will better facilitate electronic communication, trade and commerce across global networks. The legislation is expected to be consistent with international standards that are emerging on such issues.
Formulated by an inter-ministerial standing committee, the cyber laws enable authorities to amend suitably the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code so that computer crimes are treated as cognisable offences, attracting punishment including jail terms.
Apart from providing legal framework covering all computer transactions including electronic contract, electronic fund transfer and electronic commerce, the proposed laws seeks to facilitate electronic communications by means of reliable electronic records, provide link between trade and commerce and eliminate barriers to electronic commerce, sources claimed.
The legislation also seeks to facilitate electronic filing of documents with government agencies and statutory corporations to promote efficient delivery of government services.
This, the sources said, could minimise forgery of electronic records, intentional or unintentional alteration of records and falsification in electronic commerce.
The legislation also attempts establishment of uniform rules, regulations and standards for authentication and integrity of electronic records or documents.
Besides laying down rules for acknowledgements of receipts and the time and place of dispatch and receipt, it gives cognisance to digital signature where the law requires a signature.
The laws further define computer crime, unauthorised access to computer data networks, tampering with computer source document, equipment, specific violation by college or university students and lays down punishment on the lines of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Besides, the Bill also proposes to empower the controller to direct any subscriber to deposit the private key of the encrypted message under certain circumstances.
It seeks to amend several existing acts to bring about a comprehensive legislation as suggested by the ''commission of review on administrative laws'' and the committee of secretaries, sources added.
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