The amended Indian IT Act 2000 has gone effective from October 27th. The original Act had effectively just one criminal Section 66 for cyber crime and it was widely worded, but vague. The new Act covers a range of crimes that attracts punishment from a three-year jail term to a life sentence.
The Act was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in December last year and was notified in February this year.Besides monitoring and interception, the amended Act also deals with the appointment of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, which deals with computer security and situations arising from cyber attacks.
Under Section 69A of the amended IT Act, Government can block any website, if found violating the following:
- Interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
- Defence of India
- Security of the State
- Friendly relations with foreign States
- Public order
- For preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above
These orders will be carried out by government-appointed officers, not below the rank of a joint secretary (details here).
The missing link in the entire process is provision for one to contest the decision. Designated officers have all the right to block what they feel violates the rule and given how archaic and illiterate the entire system is, expect some learnings along the way.
Also see: IT Act Amendment Bill – Publishing Obscene Material Punishable