Monitoring and regulating the cyberspace will be easier and faster, with the Union government notifying the amendments to the Information Technology Act last week.
Among other things, the amended IT Act empowers the government to intercept and block information traffic for purposes of cyber security and prevention of cyber crimes such as offensive emails and child pornography. The amendments were passed by Parliament in December 2008.
The growth of cyber crimes in the country has an international dimension, as developed countries that are keen on moving IT functions to India, are concerned.
A recent study at the University of Brighton in UK, estimated that cases of spam, hacking and fraud have multiplied 50-fold from 2004 to 2007 and India ranks fourteenth in the world for hosting phishing websites.
“The rules of the amended IT Act make a creative legislative framework to deal with cyber crime and cyber terrorism. The legislative framework anticipates technological innovations and has the capability to adapt to emerging situations,” said Sachin Pilot, union minister for IT.
At present, cyber crimes are mostly prosecuted under the generic penal codes, often leading to undue delay. “What does one do when a website carries, for instance, communally inflammable content? The action will have to be quick and decisive. The new legal framework provides for that,” said the minister.