History of cyber law in India

The information Technology Act is an outcome of the resolution dated 30th January 1997 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which adopted the Model Law on Electronic Commerce, adopted the Model Law on ElectronicCommerce on International Trade Law. This resolution recommended, inter alia, that all states give favourable consideration to the said Model Law while revising enacting new law, so that uniformity may be observed in the laws, of the various cyber-nations, applicable to alternatives to paper based methods of communication and storage of information.

The Department of Electronics (DoE) in July 1998 drafted the bill. However, it could only be introduced in the House on December 16, 1999 (after a gap of almost one and a half years) when the new IT Ministry was formed. It underwent substantial alteration, with the Commerce Ministry making suggestions related to e-commerce and matters pertaining to World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. The Ministry of Law and Company Affairs then vetted this joint draft.

After its introduction in the House, the bill was referred to the 42-member Parliamentary Standing Committee following demands from the Members. The Standing Committee made several suggestions to be incorporated into the bill. However, only those suggestions that were approved by the Ministry of Information Technology were incorporated. One of the suggestions that was highly debated upon was that a cyber café owner must maintain a register to record the names and addresses of all people visiting his café and also a list of the websites that they surfed. This suggestion was made as an attempt to curb cyber crime and to facilitate speedy locating of a cyber criminal. However, at the same time it was ridiculed, as it would invade upon a net surfer's privacy and would not be economically viable. Finally, this suggestion was dropped by the IT Ministry in its final draft.

The Union Cabinet approved the bill on May 13, 2000 and on May 17, 2000, both the houses of the Indian Parliament passed the Information Technology Bill. The Bill received the assent of the President on 9th June 2000 and came to be known as the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Act came into force on 17th October 2000.

With the passage of time, as technology developed further and new methods of committing crime using Internet & computers surfaced, the need was felt to amend the IT Act, 2000 to insert new kinds of cyber offences and plug in other loopholes that posed hurdles in the effective enforcement of the IT Act, 2000.

This led to the passage of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 which was made effective from 27 October 2009. The IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 has brought marked changes in the IT Act, 2000 on several counts.

More Topics

  1. Need for Cyber law
  2. Cyber crime on the rise
  3. Important terms related to cyber law
  4. Cyber law in India
  5. History of cyber law in India
  6. Information Technology Act, 2000
  7. Salient features of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008
  8. Rules notified under the Information Technology Act, 2000
  9. Overview of other laws amended by the IT Act, 2000 - India Panel Code 1860
  10. Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  11. National Policy on Information Technology 2012
  12. Applicability and Scheme of the INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000
  13. Digital signature and Electronic signature
  14. Digital Signature under the IT Act, 2000
  15. Electronic Signature
  16. E-Governance
  17. Attribution, Acknowledgement and Dispatch of Electronic Records
  18. Certifying Authorities
  19. Root Certifying Authority of India (RCAI)

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