Cabinet Amends IT Act to Increase Cyber Security

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 17, 2006

The Union Cabinet has given approval to the amendments proposed in the Information Technology Act, 2000. The move comes in the wake of concerns raised in the IT industry regarding adequacy of data protection and privacy laws in the country, especially in the light of allegations by a UK-based TV channel about data theft from Indian call centers.

The new provisions come with a greater emphasis on digital signatures, new security practices and procedures for e-governance, and other technology applications.

A GOI release quoting P.R. Dasmunshi, union parliamentary affairs minister says that the amendments in the IT Act, 2000 applying to corporates and other organizations will be tabled for Parliament’s approval in the upcoming winter session.

These amendments follow government reassurance to foreign investors that data security would be taken note of in the future. Legal authorities have pointed many a times to the government that there were many loopholes in the IT act.

Arvind Kumar, IT Secretary, Maharashtra Government says, “This ensures that corporates are no longer lax when it comes to data security and related issues. They will have to become more stringent internally and become increasingly responsible to the government.”

“The amendments will chiefly impact the BPO/KPO industry. The IT industry will be generally unaffected by these changes,” asserts Zoeb Adenwala, CTO, Pidilite.

In line with the recommendations made by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, a model law on electronic signature, an effort will be made to promote development of alternative technologies to authenticate electronic records. Frequent legislative changes will not be needed each time a new and equally effective technology is evolved, is the added benefit.

The amendments detail the security practices and procedures that need to be followed by body corporates and organizations, while seeking personal information of customers.

The amended act seeks to address issues like video voyeurism, identity theft, e-commerce frauds like phishing, frauds on online auction sites, sending offensive e-mails and multimedia offences.

Besides, proliferation of e-governance and other IT applications, security practices and procedures are going to be prescribed in the amended act.

CIOs in general feel that effective implementation of the provisions of the IT Act and increased awareness of it would be the way ahead.