The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Bill to amend the Information Technology (IT) Act, cleared by Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill, awaiting the President’s nod, would make way for stringent punishment against illegal use of Internet and misuse of computers for terror-related crimes and transmission of obscene material.
Now those using the Internet to send e-mails related to terror attacks could soon be sentenced to life. “For those indulging in cyber terrorism with the intention to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of the country or to strike terror in the people, the offence would be punishable for life,” the Bill states.
Also those involved in publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form can be jailed for five years along with a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. Similarly, publishing or transmitting, in electronic form, sexually explicit material involving children would also invite a punishment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
Moved by Communications Minister A. Raja, the Bill provides the central government the power to issue directives for intercepting, monitoring or decryption of any information through computer. It also enables the government to intercept computer communication in any investigation. However, telephones and letters may be intercepted only in national interest.
It also provides for setting-up of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal to decide the cases arising out of violation of the existing law.
The Bill also seeks for addition of provisions to deal with new form of cyber crimes like publicising sexually explicit materials in electronic form, video voyeurism, breach of confidentiality, leakage of data by intermediary and e-commerce frauds.