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Focus: GS-II Governance, GS-III Industry and Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Prelims

Why in news?

The government will soon kick-start the process of revamping the nearly 20-year old Information Technology Act, 2000, with an aim to bring it in tune with the technological advancements with a focus on stronger framework to deal with cybercrimes.

An expert committee will be set up with members from the government as well as the industry for discussion on the new IT Act.

Why is the Change Needed?

  • The IT Act is now 20 years old, and during this time, the IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition.
  • New technology has become very pronounced, the whole ecosystem of consumers has changed vastly and so have the challenges.
  • One of the major challenges was the scale of users that consume technology.
  • Today, in India, technology has become the centre of digital payment and delivery of services such as GST and UPI. This also raises the question of misuse of technology.
  • The vastness of these platforms was not even contemplated when the IT Act came into being

Background: What is the IT Act?

  • May 2000 saw the rise of IT Bill, it received assent of President in August 2000 and became an Act.
  • Cyber laws are contained under the IT Act, 2000.
  • The Aim of the Act was to provide legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 also aims to provide for the legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means. The Act states that unless otherwise agreed, an acceptance of contract may be expressed by electronic means of communication and the same shall have legal validity and enforceability.

Amendment to the IT Act

  • The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 –  An act to amend the IT Act 2000 received the assent of the President on 5th February 2009.
  • It dealt with various changes such as
    • Data Protection –with no specific reference to Data Protection in 2000 Act, the ITA 2008 introduced two sections addressing Data Protection, Section 43A (Compensation for failure to protect data), and Section 72A (Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract.
    • Information Preservation – Section 67C refers to the Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries. According to Central Government, any intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and shall not be liable to fine.
    • Section 69 gives power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer source.
  • Section 69B authorizes to monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for Cyber security.

February 2024