Definition

Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008)

What is the IT Amendment Act (ITA-2008)?

The Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act 2008) is a substantial addition to India's Information Technology Act (ITA-2000). The IT Amendment Act was passed by the Indian Parliament in October 2008 and came into force a year later. The Act is administered by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).

The original Act was developed to promote the IT industry, regulate e-commerce, facilitate e-governance and prevent cybercrime. The Act also sought to foster security practices within India that would serve the country in a global context. The Amendment was created to address issues that the original bill failed to cover and to accommodate further development of IT and related security concerns since the original law was passed.

Changes in the Amendment include: redefining terms such as "communication device" to reflect current use; validating electronic signatures and contracts; making the owner of a given IP address responsible for content accessed or distributed through it; and making corporations responsible for implementing effective data security practices and liable for breaches.

The Amendment has been criticized for decreasing the penalties for some cybercrimes and for lacking sufficient safeguards to protect the civil rights of individuals. Section 69, for example, authorizes the Indian government to intercept, monitor, decrypt and block data at its discretion. According to Pavan Duggal, a cyber law consultant and advocate at the Supreme Court of India, "The Act has provided Indian government with the power of surveillance, monitoring and blocking data traffic. The new powers under the amendment act tend to give Indian government a texture and color of being a surveillance state."

This was last updated in January 2010
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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