P4LO is managing a techno legal Cyber Crimes Investigation Centre of India (CCICI) that is providing unique cyber crimes related investigation, training and legal services. As per CCICI and P4LO, the cyber law trends and developments of India 2014 are as follows:
(1) Cyber Law Of India: The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) still governs the cyber law of India and related issues. IT Act 2000 has become an outdated and draconian law that needs to be repealed. The telegraph and cyber law of India remained outdated, colonial and draconian in the year 2014 as well.
India must ensure techno legal measures to regulate Indian cyberspace. Similarly, regulations and guidelines for effective investigation of cyber crimes in India is also need of the hour. The Indian Government has assured in the year 2014 that the IT Act 2000 could be amended to accommodate e-commerce concerns.
(2) Cyber Crimes Prevention Strategy: Cyber crimes have significantly increased in India in the year 2014. Reacting to the same, Indian Government has now decided to formulate a cyber crimes prevention strategy for India. However, till the end of December 2014, the proposed strategy has not been formulated.
(3) Cyber Crimes Investigation Training: with increased cyber crimes in India, a need was felt to provide cyber crimes investigation training to law enforcement agencies of India. We at P4LO and CCICI believe that India needs to enhance cyber crimes investigation capabilities so that cyber crimes can be effectively tackled. Similarly, modernisation of police force of India is urgently needed with a special focus upon techno legal skills development for them.
(4) Encryption Laws: Almost three years back the Standing Committee on Information Technology pulled Department of Telecommunication (DOT) over encryption issues. However, dedicated encryption laws in India remained missing in the year 2014 as well. The encryption laws and regulations in India need clarity. Legal risks for websites development companies in India would also increase due to improper use of encryption for such websites. A dedicated encryption policy of India (PDF) and techno legal encryption law in India is need of the hour.
(5) International ATM Heist: Recently, the RAKBANK and Bank of Muscat Oman became victims of international ATM heist. The hacking prompted authorities in the US and Europe to launch an international manhunt. Authorities made arrests soon after in Germany and the US, and most of the money was recovered. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of India has even started investigation in this international ATM heist case as it has Indian connections as well. The Karnataka police have speeded up their investigation into the international ATM heist case and it has been investigating the possible involvement of Enstage software’s staff in this regard.
(6) Corporate Scam Investigations: Although the Indian Companies Act, 2013 (PDF) has been formulated to curb corporate frauds yet a dedicated fraudulent MLM regulations is need of the hour. The powers of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) were also enhanced so that they can effectively deal with corporate frauds and crimes in India. SEBI has also notified the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Procedure for Search and Seizure) Regulations, 2014 (PDF). The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has also speed up Rs 425 Crore QNet Scam Investigation.
(7) Cyber Insurance: Cyber insurance in India has become a reality in the year 2014 and many companies and individuals have started taking cyber insurance policies in India. However, the business of cyber insurance would raise many novel techno legal issues in this regard that all stakeholders must be well prepared to deal with.
(8) Cloud Computing: The cloud computing legal issues in India are still not clear and this has resulted in limited adoption of cloud computing in India in the year 2014. The cloud computing legal and regulatory requirements in India for businesses and entrepreneurs must be analysed in advance before launching a project. Cloud computing service providers in India are Internet intermediary within the meaning of IT Act, 2000 and they are also required to comply with cyber law due diligence requirements (PDF).
(9) E-Mail Policy: The e-mail policy of India has still not been implemented despite strict warnings by Delhi High Court. So bad is the situation that the Delhi High Court has accused central government of sitting over e-mail policy of India. The Delhi High Court has also directed Central Government to issue notification regarding electronic signature under Information Technology Act 2000. The encryption policy of India is also missing till date though it is need of the hour. However, Madhya Pradesh has given legal recognition to e-mail communications among Government Departments.
(10) Online Payments: Online and mobile payments witnessed an increase in India in the year 2014. However, legal and regulatory issues were not taken seriously by various mobile payment providers in India in 2014. There are many legal issues of e-commerce in India that various online payment service providers of India must comply with. P4LO has already specified the cyber law due diligence requirements for Paypal and online payment transferors in India. Similarly, we have also outlined the e-commerce and online business legal compliances for online payment market of India. Further, payment gateway and POS terminal services providers must also keep in mind the cyber law due diligence requirements in India.
(11) Online Gambling In India: Online gambling laws in India remained in a state of suspension in the year 2014. Online gambling in India is still punishable in almost all of the cases with few selective exceptions. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court of India and it has referred the matter for the opinion of Central Government. However, the Central Government has not given a conclusive opinion on this issue so far and the matter has been postponed for hearing in the month of January 2015.
(12) Illegal Online Pharmacies: Illegal online pharmacies operating from India were in news throughout the year 2014. Maharashtra FDA has even requested the Central Government to formulate policy regarding online pharmacies operating in India. Many online pharmacies websites in India are controlled by underworld and organised criminal networks. Illegal online pharmacies are on hit list of Google and Federal Authorities of United States.
There are many legal requirements that online pharmacies operating in India are required to comply with. However, most of the online pharmacies operating in India are not following these laws and regulations. As a result they are incurring and exposing themselves to various forms of legal risks.
(13) Websites Blocking In India: Websites blocking in India was another development that resulted in many protests as well. For instance, Tamil website Savukku was ordered to be blocked by Madras High Court. However, immediately after the blocking of the Savukku website, it became available through proxy servers making the blocking redundant. In the year 2013, the Indian Government blocked 39 Internet sites on ground of pornography. The Supreme Court of India also sought the response of Indian Government in this regard in 2013. However, Indian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) told the Supreme Court that they cannot block pornographic websites unilaterally and voluntarily.
(14) Bitcoins: The legality of bitcoins in India was a major questioning the year 2014. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched and raided few Bitcoin exchanges to see whether they were violating Indian laws or not. ED believed that Bitcoins can be used for criminal activities including money laundering, hawala transactions and funding of terrorist activities. Indian Laxmicoin had even sought clarifications from regulatory authorities of India before its launch. We at P4LO and CCICI believe that Bitcoin Exchanges operating in India must comply with Indian Laws to be legal and safe. Cyber attacks also targeted Bitcoin users and Bitcoin Exchanges in the year 2014. According to some reports, Bitcoin website Mt. Gox’s disappeared due to sophisticated cyber attacks and stealing of Bitcoins.
(15) Mobile Applications: Mobile applications also saw a tremendous increase in India in 2014. However, most of the mobile application developers are violating Indian Laws and may be prosecuted in future.
P4LO and CCICI hope that our readers and various stakeholders would find this cyber law development in India 2014 research work useful.