Governance & Risk Management , Legislation & Litigation , Standards, Regulations & Compliance

Why India's Cyberlaw Must Rapidly Evolve

Duggal: Legislation Should Keep Pace with Technology
Why India's Cyberlaw Must Rapidly Evolve
Pavan Duggal

Jurisprudence in the cyber domain has never been as active in India as it is today. With the government repealing Section 66A of the IT Act, the judgment reflects the germane and nuanced fashion in which technology issues may be looked upon by the Indian judiciary going forward. While such precedents are sure to act as catalysts, the legal frameworks to support the government's massive thrust in the domain, including Digital India and Smart Cities, are not in place, says Pavan Duggal, a cyberlaw expert and Supreme Court advocate.

"This is so because there is just one mother legislation dealing with the digital format, the IT Act 2000, which does not give the support required by these programs," he says. "Furthermore, issues pertaining to cybersecurity as well as governance in the digital and mobile ecosystems have not been addressed in legislation."

India needs to quickly get out of its complacency and wake up to the emerging realities, Duggal says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. The last amendment of the law was in 2008, and since then, there have been major changes in the landscape and the technology paradigms, he says. Not only does the IT Act need to be amended, but India needs new enabling frameworks to help effectively implement the government's vision, Duggal contends.

"It is clear that a lot of work needs to be done first on strengthening the law, second on effectively implementing the law and third on trying to identify and understand nuances pertaining to effective detection, investigation and prosecution. ... We need to keep revisiting technology legislation to keep it relevant," he says.

In this interview, Duggal shares insights on his vision for the comprehensive overhaul of India's cyberlegislation. He also shares his thoughts on:

  • The areas in India cyberlaw that need immediate attention;
  • Initiatives to keep pace with evolving technology;
  • Data privacy and breach disclosure in India.

A practicing advocate in the Supreme Court of India, Duggal has an international reputation as an expert and authority on cyberlaw and e-commerce, having done pioneering work in the field of convergence law and mobile law. He is a consultant to UNCTAD and UNESCAP on cyberlaw and cybercrime respectively. He is a member of ICT Policy and Governance Working Group of the UNICT Taskforce and has been a member of the Nominating Committee, Membership Advisory Committee and Membership Implementation Task Force of ICANN.

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