What is the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008)?
The Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008) is a substantial addition to India’s Information Technology Act 2000.
The Information Technology Amendment Act was passed by the Indian Parliament in October 2008 and came into force a year later. The law is administered by the Computer Emergency Response Team India (CERT-In) and corresponds to the Indian Penal Code.
The Information Technology Amendment Act has been widely hailed as a step forward in protecting India’s cyber infrastructure and citizens.
It is one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation dealing with computer-related issues and sets a strong precedent for other countries trying to update their own laws.
Why was the Information Technology Amendment Act created?
The original version of the law was developed to promote the IT industry, regulate e-commerce, facilitate e-governance and prevent cybercrime.
However, he also sought to foster security practices in India that would serve the country in a global context.
Additionally, the Information Technology Amendment Act created the office of the Cyber Appeal Tribunal to hear appeals from anyone aggrieved by an order made under the act.
What does the Information Technology Amendment Act cover?
The Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 has nine chapters and 117 sections and covers a wide range of topics relating to IT, cybercrime and data protection.
The law includes provisions for the following
Amendments to the law were created to address issues that the original bill did not cover and to accommodate the further development of computer security and related issues since the original law was passed.
How was the Information Technology Amendment Act updated?
Changes to the amendment over the years have included the following:
- redefine terms such as communication devices to reflect current usage;
- validate electronic signatures and contracts;
- hold the owner of a given IP address responsible for content viewed or distributed through it; and
- make companies accountable for implementing effective data security practices and responsible for data breaches.
In recent years, the Computer Law has also been updated to include provisions for the regulation of intermediaries, penalties for cybercrime, and restrictions on certain types of speech.
These changes included expanding the definition of cybercriminality and adding new penalties for offenses such as identity theft, posting private images without consent, cheating by impersonation, and sending messages that are offensive or contain sexually explicit acts by means electronics.
Who does the Information Technology Act apply to?
The Information Technology Amendment Act applies to any person, firm or organization that uses computer systems, computer networks or other information technology in India.
This includes, but is not limited to the following:
This includes foreign companies and organizations with a presence in India, as well as Indian companies and organizations with operations outside India.
What are the penalties for violating the Information Technology Amendment Act?
Penalties for violating the Information Technology Amendment Act can range from a fine of 1 lakh rupees (about $1,250) to imprisonment for up to three years.
More serious offenses can expose a person to damages of up to 5 lakh rupees (about $6,300) and include a prison term of up to seven years.
Cyberterrorism offenses carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
In addition to these penalties, the court may also order the offender to pay compensation to the victim of the offence.
Challenges Related to the Law Amending the Information Technology Law
The amendment has been criticized for reducing penalties for certain cybercrimes and for lacking sufficient safeguards to protect the civil rights of individuals.
Subsection 69, for example, allows the Indian government to intercept, monitor, decrypt and block data at its discretion.
According to Pavan Duggal, IT Law Consultant and Advocate to the Supreme Court of India: “The Act has given the Government of India the power to monitor, monitor and block data traffic. The new powers under the Act of amendment tend to give the Indian government a texture and color of being a watchdog state.”
Yet, the IT Act has been instrumental in shaping a comprehensive legal framework for IT in India.
It has succeeded in implementing electronic governance and cybercrime prevention procedures.
The law will likely continue to be amended as needed to reflect the ever-changing IT landscape.
See also: CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team).