IT Act 2008 and its Amendments
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Press Information Bureau , Government of India

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 has come into force today. The Rules pertaining to section 52 (Salary, Allowances and Other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members), section 54 (Procedure for Investigation of Misbehavior or Incapacity of Chairperson and Members), section 69 (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) , section 69A (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public), section 69B (Procedure and safeguard for Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data or Information) and notification under section 70B for appointment of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team have also been notified.

The Information Technology Act was enacted in the year 2000 with a view to give a fillip to the growth of electronic based transactions, to provide legal recognition for e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, to prevent computer based crimes and ensure security practices and procedures in the context of widest possible use of information technology worldwide.

With proliferation of information technology enabled services such as e-governance, e-commerce and e-transactions; data security, data privacy and implementation of security practices and procedures relating to these applications of electronic communications have assumed greater importance and they required harmonization with the provisions of the Information Technology Act. Further, protection of Critical Information Infrastructure is pivotal to national security, economy, public health and safety, thus it had become necessary to declare such infrastructure as protected system, so as to restrict unauthorised access.

Further, a rapid increase in the use of computer and Internet has given rise to new forms of crimes like, sending offensive emails and multimedia messages, child pornography, cyber terrorism, publishing sexually explicit materials in electronic form, video voyeurism, breach of confidentiality and leakage of data by intermediary, e-commerce frauds like cheating by personation - commonly known as phishing, identity theft, frauds on online auction sites, etc. So, penal provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000. Also, the Act needed to be technology-neutral to provide for alternative technology of electronic signature for bringing harmonization with Model Law on Electronic Signatures adopted by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Keeping in view the above, Government had introduced the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 in the Lok Sabha on 15th December 2006. Both Houses of Parliament passed the Bill on 23rd December 2008. Subsequently the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 received the assent of President on 5th February 2009 and was notified in the Gazette of India.

  • Section 69A and the Blocking Rules: Allowing the Government to block content under certain circumstances

    Section 69A of the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, allows the Central Government to block content where it believes that this content threatens the security of the State; the sovereignty, integrity or defence of India; friendly relations with foreign States; public order; or to prevent incitement for the commission of a cognisable offence relating to any of the above. A set of procedures and safeguards to which the Government has to adhere when doing so have been laid down in what have become known as the Blocking Rules.

  • Section 79 and the IT Rules: Privatising censorship in India

    Section 79 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 regulates the liability of a wide range of intermediaries in India. The section came in the limelight mostly because of the infamous Intermediary Guidelines Rules, or IT Rules, which were made under it. The IT Rules constitute an important and worrying move towards the privatisation of censorship in India.

  • Sections 67 and 67A: No nudity, please

    The large amounts of ‘obscene’ material that circulate on the Internet have long attracted comment in India. Not surprisingly, then, in the same way as obscenity is prohibited offline in the country, so it is online as well. The most important tools to curtail it are sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act, prohibiting obscene and sexually explicit material respectively.

  • Section 66A: Do not send offensive messages

    Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 prohibits the sending of offensive messages though a communication device (i.e. through an online medium). The types of information this covers are offensive messages of a menacing character, or a message that the sender knows to be false but is sent for the purpose of ‘causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will.’ If you’re booked under Section 66A, you could face up to 3 years of imprisonment along with a fine.

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  • Cyber security and human rights

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