Saturday, October 31, 2009

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DrTabrez Ahmad
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Life term for cyber-terror crimes

Cyber-terrorism is now punishable with life imprisonment as per the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 that came into force on Tuesday.

 

However, the rapid increase in the use of computers and the Internet has led to newer forms of crime such as child pornography and cyber terrorism. So, new provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000. Accordingly the new Rules pertaining to various sections such as procedure and safeguards for interception, monitoring and decryption of information, procedure for monitoring and collecting traffic data or information have also been notified (The IT  Amendment  Act, 2008 ) , recognises new-age cyber offences such as identity theft, cyber-stalking, cyber harassment, among others.

 

It is a "giant leap forward" in dealing with cyber-terrorism, but it is felt by various cyberlaw experts that the amended legislation had "gone soft" on cyber criminals and cyber crimes, overall. Barring cyber-terrorism and certain other offences, cyber crime is now a bailable offence. This was not the case under the original IT Act. The amendments have raised the quantum of fine involved, but reduced the punishment that gives out a mixed signal.


--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Amended Information Technology Act comes into force

 Amended Information Technology Act 2008, of India, now enforced.
 
The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 has come into force on 27th October, 2009.

Almost Nine years and 10 days after the birth of cyber laws in India, the new improved cyber law regime in India has become a reality. The Information Technology Act initially came into force on 17th October 2000 on the model UNCITRAL of UNO 1996. Major changes to the IT Act 2000 have now come into force with effect from 27th October 2009.

There are around 17 changes and out of that most of the changes relate to cyber crimes. The last decade has seen a spurt in crimes like cyber stalking and voyeurism, cyber pornography, email frauds, phishing and crimes through social networking. All these and more are severely dealt with under the new laws.

Some of the major modifications  are:

1. A special liability has been imposed on call centers, BPOs, banks and others who hold or handle sensitive personal data. If they are negligent in "implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices and procedures", they will be liable to pay compensation. It may be recalled that India's first major BPO related scam was the multi crore MphasiS-Citibank funds siphoning case in 2005. Under the new law, in such cases, the BPOs and call centers could also be made liable if they have not implemented proper security measures.

2. Compensation on cyber crimes like spreading viruses, copying data, unauthorised access, denial of service etc is not restricted to Rs 1 crore anymore. The Adjudicating Officers will have jurisdiction for cases where the claim is upto Rs. 5 crore. Above that the case will need to be filed before the civil courts.

3. The offence of cyber terrorism has been specially included in the law. A cyber terrorist can be punished with life imprisonment.

4. Sending threatening emails and sms are punishable with jail upto 3 years.

5. Publishing sexually explicit acts in the electronic form is punishable with jail upto 3 years.  This would apply to cases like the Delhi MMS scandal where a video of a young couple having sex was spread through cell phones around the country.

6. Voyeurism is now specifically covered. Acts like hiding cameras in changing rooms, hotel rooms etc is punishable with jail upto 3 years. This would apply to cases like the infamous Pune spycam incident where a 58-year old man was arrested for installing spy cameras in his house to 'snoop' on his young lady tenants.

7. Cyber crime cases can now be investigated by Inspector rank police officers. Earlier such offences could not be investigated by an officer below the rank of a deputy superintendent of police.

8. Collecting, browsing, downloading etc of child pornography is punishable with jail upto 5 years for the first conviction. For a subsequent conviction, the jail term can extend to 7 years. A fine of upto Rs 10 lakh can also be levied.

9. The punishment for spreading obscene material by email, websites, sms has been reduced from 5 years jail to 3 years jail. This covers acts like sending 'dirty' jokes and pictures by email or sms.

10. Refusing to hand over passwords to an authorized official could land a person in prison for upto 7 years.

 11. Hacking into a Government computer or website, or even trying to do so in punishable with imprisonment upto 10 years.

12. Rules pertaining to section 52 (Salary, Allowances and Other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members),

13. Rules pertaining to section 69 (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information),

14. Rules pertaining to section 69A (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public),

15. Rules pertaining to section 69B (Procedure and safeguard for Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data or Information) and

16. Notification under section 70B for appointment of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.

17. Rules Rules pertaining to section 54 (Procedure for Investigation of Misbehaviour or Incapacity of Chairperson and Members),

Important links to the IT Act and Amended law:

Official announcement - "Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 comes into force"
http://pibmumbai.gov.in/scripts/detail.asp?releaseId=E2009PR1153

Information Technology Act, 2000:
http://mit.gov.in/download/itbill2000.pdf

 For other relevant notifications, please visit:
http://mit.gov.in/default.ASPX?id=191

IT (Amendment) Act 2008:
http://mit.gov.in/download/it_amendment_act2008.pdf

--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indian corporate law firms seem to have come of age globally.

Indian corporate law firms seem to have come of age globally.

According to a recent report on legal firms' services sought in M&A (Merger and Amalgamation).

The report says that between January 1 and September 22, 2009, China topped M&A activities in the region with a 38.8% marketshare. It was followed by Japan (23.1%) and Australia (12.7%), while India stood fourth with a 9.7% share.

India ranks fourth in the Asia-Pacific region with three Indian law firms doing deals in excess of $3 billion this year.  Many international investors are looking at new opportunities. All those deals which were abandoned or jeopardized because of the slowdown are now being revived because of increased confidence in the India Story.

Things were quiet from January to May. Starting June, a significant increase is seen  in the flow of transactions," the second half of the year will witness more deals. Among other Indian firms, Khaitan & Co was involved in 13 deals aggregating $3.23 billion, while Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co worked on nine deals worth $3.03 billion.


Indian law firm, Desai & Diwanji & Co (D&D ) also features in the top ten across the region. By sealing 14 deals accounting  for over $3.6 billion, it is ranked eight in the region.D&D advised Quippo Telecom Infrastructure in its acquisition of Wireless TT Service.

The firm was also involved in advising Avendus Capital and W.L. Ross in the acquisition of Satyam Computer Services by Tech Mahindra. The other large transactions where D&D was involved was Shantha Laboratories' acquisition by Sanofi Pasteur and the sale of SPS Ltd's steel facility's sale to Essar Steel. Law firm Khaitan & Co. was a part of Bahrain Telecom's investment into S Tel as well as NTT DoCoMo's investment in Tata Teleservices. It was also involved in Sterlite Industries' acquisition of Asarco. It seems that the effect of slowdown is almost over and India is witnessing large foreign investment in the domestic market. This will help to the law professionals in getting good opportunities in coporate law firms.But the point to be noted is that this will benefit to the competent professionals only who are well versed with the international and national coporate laws including cyberlaw and IPR.
--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008 of India

Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008 which has been approved by the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha is still awaiting approval of the President.

Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA-2000) is by and large, an Act of the Indian Parliament notified on October 17, 2000. It is worthwhile to mention that the United Nations General Assembly by means of resolution A/RES/51/162, dated the 30 January 1997 did accept the Model Law on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. This is referred to as the UNCITRAL Model Law on E-Commerce.

It has to be stated that the Government of India, by now, has proposed major amendments to ITA-2000 in form of the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006, passed by the Cabinet Committee of the Government of India and are prepared for being placed before the Indian Parliament for discussion. Nevertheless some substantial developments have taken place in all these years and the bill is known as, at the moment, Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008 which has been approved by the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The Bill is still awaiting approval of the President along with the formal notification.

There has been the inclusion of many changes, as already said, and at the same time it does incorporate the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.  What surprises many persons is the dearth of media recognition afforded to the amendment. Apart from this the amendment was passed in 26 minutes the 22nd of December 2008 along with 4 other bills, and another 8 in just 17 minutes the next day. This indicates that there was hardly any debate on what should have been very contentious laws.

--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blog:http://tabrezahmad.technolexindia.com, http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Swine Flu (H1N1virus) means big business to the lawyers

Due to havoc created by the media on Swine Flu most of the clients are seeking advice of lawyers from around the world and mostly in USA about what to do if the H1N1 virus surfaces in the workplace.  Could they mandate employee vaccinations? Could they require families of workers to be vaccinated? Did they have to pay workers sent home who lacked sick leave? Could they ask people to work from home if they are sick? What about workers who had to stay home and attend to sick kids?

The potential for an H1N1 outbreak puts pressure on businesses to plan and act prudently. They have an obligation to provide a safe environment and to address risks ahead on and in a reasonable manner. So It is advised to the businesses to have policies in place about missing work, working from home and tending to sick kids. This is also important to make sure that employees know what those policies are before they need to stay home to recover or attend to members of their family. The biggest concern about working from home, aside from  the logistics, is the issue of hours and getting paid for time worked. If you're in the office, it's easier to track the number of hours worked. For those working at home, employers need to instill in employees the need to keep accurate track of their time. Such detailed and well-defined policies provide a defense if legal challenges arise.  

There have been several deaths in the world this year due to the H1N1 virus and schools have been reporting higher-than-average absences due to flu-like symptoms. So public attention is focused on the pandemic flu. Employers have known for a while that they could face poor work attendance.

Sick employees need to stay home to protect the workplace, but what protections do these employees have for keeping their jobs? Corporate law interests, protecting employers, but where's the mention of protecting employees

Employers should post signs about the importance of hand washing and providing Lysol spray in bathrooms and antiseptic wipes for common use areas such as conference rooms. They are required to show flexibility with policies governing paid time off. They might want to pay for that day off, even if sick time is exhausted. I recommend giving employees an advance on their sick time and letting them pay it back later.

A lot of these decisions are driven by company culture. Some say they'll make sure workers won't lose pay, but others are more policy driven and if an employee doesn't have sick time, they won't get paid.

Employers also will face issues with employees who travel as part of their jobs, particularly those in sales. Airports and airplanes are notorious for acting as human petri dishes when it comes to the transmission of airborne diseases. The solution may lie in more teleconferencing and Web visits. You want to have those folks producing, but there's a lot of tension over travel.

The notion of working from home also is open to debate because not all job duties can be performed off site. Retail and manufacturing operations, for instance, need bodies on the floor. To guard against workforce shortages, many businesses have done cross training so they can get by with fewer workers for short periods.

It is submitted that employers need to treat people consistently because if employees are aware of what the rules are, they know the consequences if they miss work and there will be no surprises.



--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Monday, October 26, 2009

Call for Papers

Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots) seeks short reviews of (very) recent scholarship related to the law that the reviewer likes and thinks deserves a wide audience. The ideal Jotwell review will not merely celebrate scholarly achievement, but situate it in the context of other scholarship in a manner that explains to both specialists and non-specialists why the work is important.

Although critique is welcome, reviewers should choose the subjects they write about with an eye toward identifying and celebrating work that makes an original contribution, and that will be of interest to others. Please see the Jotwell Mission Statement for more details.

Reviews need not be written in a particularly formal manner. Contributors should feel free to write in a manner that will be understandable to scholars, practitioners, and even non-lawyers.

Ordinarily, a Jotwell contribution will

  • be between 500-1000 words;
  • focus on one work, ideally a recent article, but a discussion of a recent book is also welcome;
  • begin with a hyperlink to the original work — in order to make the conversation as inclusive as possible, there is a strong preference for reviews to focus on scholarly works that can be found online without using a subscription service such as Westlaw or Lexis. That said, reviews of articles that are not freely available online, and also of very recent books, are also welcome.

Initially, Jotwell particularly seeks contributions relating to:

We intend to add more sections in the coming months.

References

Authors are responsible for the content and cite-checking of their own articles. Jotwell editors and staff may make editorial suggestions, and may alter the formatting to conform to the house style, but the author remains the final authority on content appearing under his or her name.

  • Please keep citations to a minimum.
  • Please include a hyperlink, if possible, to any works referenced.
  • Textual citations are preferred. Endnotes, with hyperlinks, are allowed if your HTML skills extend that far.
  • Authors are welcome to follow The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed. 2005), or the The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style (2d Ed.) or indeed to adopt any other citation form which makes it easy to find the work cited.

Technical

Jotwell publishes in HTML, which is a very simple text format and which does not lend itself to footnotes; textual citations are much preferred.

Contributors should email their article, in plain text, in HTML, or in a common wordprocessor format (Open Office, WordPerfect, or Word) to ed.jotwell@gmail.com and we will forward the article to the appropriate Section Editors. Or you may, if you prefer, contact the appropriate Section Editors directly.



--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Call for Papers



--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Legal Dimensions of Cybertrespass

In common language the word 'trespass', means to go on another's property without consent. Though it is ordinarily a civil wrong, if trespass is done with criminal intention, it is treated as criminal trespass. Thus, as trespass actions are stranded in the idea of protecting an owner's control over his property and as even the websites should be considered as a species of property. As like in the case of trespass, when just cracking is there by the cracker, it is of a civil nature but once the intention to cause harm or rather damage the system is proved, the liability becomes that of a penal nature. Now it is not just criminal trespass, which can be done by cracking but cracking may also result in many other crimes which are mentioned in the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Like, if a cracker cracks a banking website and transfers money into his own account, this may constitute a crime under Sec.378 of the Penal Code, which in this case may also be termed as Cyber Theft. The IT Act tries to achieve this by providing civil and penal consequences for cracking and other wrongful activities. The development of new-age technology in the form of computers and other such instruments is the cause of rampant tort of cyber-trespass. The computer may be used as a tool in the following kinds of activity, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, cyber stalking. It is necessarily the breach of personal information of a person and his personal identity details, website databases etc. The computer may however be target for unlawful acts in the most of the cases for e.g. unauthorized access to computer/ computer system/ computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, data didling, salami attacks, logic bombs, Trojan attacks, internet time thefts, web jacking, theft of computer system, physically damaging the computer system and other such confidential information. As the capacity of human mind is unfathomable. It is not possible to eliminate cyber trespass from the cyber space. But it is quite possible to check them As computer data often contain personal information a cracker can also infringe one's right to privacy guaranteed by Art.21 of the Constitution of India. The paper will try to analyse the issues that whether there is an exclusive right of any of the parties in respect of the data base of the list of clients and service providers, and opinion and advices in respect of which the parties had an obligation to maintain confidentiality which they have created or whether it was a joint right of all the parties' How much consistent is IT Act in India while defining Hacking and setting its dimensions while dealing with other matters related to cyber trespass: Spamming and Cracking and Indian law. Cyber-stalking and the liability under Indian Law . Remedies for cyber-trespass: Spamming is not only lucrative but is also unregulated to a greater extent. The laws for the prevention of spam in India are missing. Even the IT Act, 2000 fails to address this issue directly and we have to take recourse of "Purposive and Updating Interpretation" to punish the offenders. It can be concluded that the provisions of the cyber law are not made so stringent that it may retard the growth of the industry and prove to be counter-productive.
Details of the paper will be available soon at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1460599


--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

First Technology Court Inaugurated in India

Justice KG Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India, who inaugurated the CRAT court room recently, said during the inauguration that the increase of computers pose question for legal system. Union Law Minister of India Dr. M Veerappa Moily has opined that he would like to see more Acts to deal with the increasing volume and variety of cybercrimes. In December 2009, Government amended IT Act 2000, which was mainly intended to give legal recognition to e-commerce, including electronic filing of documents. It is only chapter 11 of the said Act that covers a few offences relating to use and abuse of computer system which invites penalty of fine or imprisonment or both. While other developed states for e.g. USA has several Acts including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Computer Misuse Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Child Online Protection Act. We require well defined laws to deal with the fast emerging issues of cyber crimes in future.  Present Indian Penal Codes are quite helpful in tackling IT related offences, but that may not be enough,

Information Technology Act 2000 of India addresses some basic aspects such as legal recognition of electronic cards and digital signature for the purpose of entering in to contract. There are grey areas in forming contract in cyberspace. We are still trying to apply the Indian Contract Act 1872 in the contract entered through Internet. Of course there are some provisions in IT Act 2000, but those are not sufficient to deal with cyber contracts.

Justice Rajesh Tandon  the would be presiding officer of CRAT ( first cyber court room  ) in India very rightly expressed concern to organize  an international conference for the enforcement of cyber laws as most of the cyber crimes originate outside the country.

Probably the next world war would be fought in cyber space. Cyber terrorist and Mafias are emerging, whose activities are growing to threaten the sovereignty of India and the world over. Terrorists often take over us in the cyber space, which is a product of technical innovation. This we can only prevent by putting proper regulation everywhere.

An appellate tribunal at national level and cyber courts in various states will also be established soon.

--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/tabrezahmad7.
Blogs: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15337756250055596327
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281

Nature and Scope of Cyberlaw

The biggest challenge before Cyber Law is its integration with the legacy system of laws applicable to the physical world. Since Cyber Space has no geographical boundaries, nor the Netizens have physical characteristics of Sex, Age etc, several conflicts surface when the rights of Netizens are viewed in the eyes of Citizens of a physical space. This is well reflected in the conflict between the Trade mark Laws and system of Domain Names.

The unique structure of the Internet has raised several legal concerns. While grounded in physical computers and other electronic devices, the Internet is independent of any geographic location. While real individuals connect to the Internet and interact with others, it is possible for them to withhold personal information and make their real identities anonymous. If there are laws that could govern the Internet, then it appears that such laws would be fundamentally different from laws that geographic nations use today. Since the Internet defies geographical boundaries, national laws will no longer apply. Instead, an entirely new set of laws will be created to address concerns like intellectual property and individual rights. In effect, the Internet will exist as its own sovereign nation. Cyber law encompasses a wide variety of legal issues which   includes intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression, and jurisdiction. As the law of Cyber Space, as envisioned by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer , Cyber Law addresses the issues of Virtual Property and Virtual Persons. It covers rights of Netizens who are the citizens of Cyber Space and regulation of the Cyber Space for a peaceful and harmonious existence of Netizens. There are several countries which have enacted special laws for regulating Cyber Space Transactions of Citizens within their Physical Jurisdiction and these are recognized as the Cyber Laws of the Physical Jurisdiction. Yet, as more physical locations go online, the greater the potential for physical manifestation of electronic misdeeds.  

Free Speech in Cyberspace
In comparison to traditional print-based media, the accessibility and relative anonymity of cyber space has torn down traditional barriers between an individual and his or her ability to publish. Any person with an internet connection has the potential to reach an audience of millions with little-to-no distribution costs. Yet this new form of highly-accessible authorship in cyber space raises questions and perhaps magnifies legal complexities relating to the freedom and regulation of speech in cyberspace.

In many countries, speech through cyberspace has proven to be another means of communication which has been regulated by the government. The Open Net Initiative, whose mission statement is "to investigate and challenge state filtration and surveillance practices" in order to "…generate a credible picture of these practices," has released numerous reports documenting the filtration of internet-speech in various countries. While China has thus far proven to be the most rigorous in its attempts to filter unwanted parts of the internet from its citizens , many other countries – including Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia – have engaged in similar practices. In one of the most vivid examples of information-control, the Chinese government for a short time transparently forwarded requests to the Google search engine to its own, state-controlled search engines . These examples of filtration bring to light many underlying questions concerning the freedom of speech, namely, does the government have a legitimate role in limiting access to information? And if so, what forms of regulation are acceptable? The recent blocking of "blogspot" and other websites in India failed to reconcile the conflicting interests of speech and expression on the one hand and legitimate government concerns on the other hand.

In the UK the case of Keith-Smith v Williams confirmed that existing libel laws applied to internet discussions.

Recently, these complexities have taken many forms, three notable examples being the Jake Baker incident, in which the limits of obscene Internet postings were at issue, the controversial distribution of the DeCSS code, and Gutnick v Dow Jones, in which libel laws were considered in the context of online publishing. The last example was particularly significant because it epitomized the complexities inherent to applying one country's laws (nation-specific by definition) to the internet (international by nature). In 2003, Jonathan Zittrain considered this issue in his paper, "Be Careful What You Ask For: Reconciling a Global Internet and Local Law". Leaving aside the most obvious examples of internet filtering in nations like China or Saudi Arabia (that monitor content), there are four primary modes of regulation of the internet:

Architecture: West Coast Code: these mechanisms concern the parameters of how information can and cannot be transmitted across the internet. Everything from internet filtering software (which searches for keywords or specific URLs and blocks them before they can even appear on the computer requesting them), to encryption programs, to the very basic architecture of TCP/IP protocol, falls within this category of regulation. It is arguable that all other modes of regulation either rely on, or are significantly supported by, regulation via West Coast Code.  2. Law: Standard East Coast Code, and the most self-evident of the four modes of regulation. As the numerous statutes, evolving case law and precedents make clear; many actions on the internet are already subject to conventional legislation (both with regard to transactions conducted on the internet and images posted). Areas like gambling, child pornography, and fraud are regulated in very similar ways online as off-line. While one of the most controversial and unclear areas of evolving laws is the determination of what forum has subject matter jurisdiction over activity (economic and other) conducted on the internet, particularly as cross border transactions affect local jurisdictions, it is certainly clear that substantial portions of internet activity are subject to traditional regulation, and that conduct that is unlawful off-line is presumptively unlawful online, and subject to similar laws and regulations. Scandals with major corporations led to US legislation rethinking corporate governance regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

 Markets: Closely allied with regulation by virtue of social norms, markets also regulate certain patterns of conduct on the internet. While economic markets will have limited influence over non-commercial portions of the internet, the internet also creates a virtual marketplace for information, and such information affects everything from the comparative valuation of services to the traditional valuation of stocks. In addition, the increase in popularity of the internet as a means for transacting all forms of commercial activity, and as a forum for advertisement, has brought the laws of supply and demand in cyberspace.

 Norms: As in all other modes of social interaction, conduct is regulated by social norms and conventions in significant ways. While certain activities or kinds of conduct online may not be specifically prohibited by the code architecture of the internet, or expressly prohibited by applicable law, nevertheless these activities or conduct will be invisibly regulated by the inherent standards of the community, in this case the internet "users." And just as certain patterns of conduct will cause an individual to be ostracized from our real world society, so too certain actions will be censored or self-regulated by the norms of whatever community one chooses to associate with on the internet.

Issues of jurisdiction and sovereignty have quickly come to the fore in the era of the Internet. In general, a crux of "cyber law" lies in whether to treat the Internet as if it were physical space (and thus subject to a given jurisdiction's laws) or to act as if the Internet is a world unto itself (and therefore free of such restraints). Those who favor the latter view often feel that government should leave the Internet community to self-regulate. John Perry Barlow, for example, has addressed the governments of the world and stated, "Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different" (Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. A more balanced alternative is the Declaration of Cybersecession ("Human beings possess a mind, which they are absolutely free to inhabit with no legal constraints. Human civilization is developing its own (collective) mind. All we want is to be free to inhabit it with no legal constraints. Since you make sure we cannot harm you, you have no ethical right to intrude our lives. So stop intruding!").

Jurisdiction is an aspect of state sovereignty and it refers to judicial, legislative and administrative competence. Although jurisdiction is an aspect of sovereignty, it is not coextensive with it. The laws of a nation may have extra-territorial impact extending the jurisdiction beyond the sovereign and territorial limits of that nation. This is particularly so where the medium of Internet is used which recognizes no sovereignty and territorial limitations. The jurisdictional issues regarding internet are governed by "Private International Law" or "Conflict of Laws" as there is no uniform law of universal application. Thus, two countries may have different jurisdictional mandates. This is more so where the contents of a web site are legal in one country and illegal in another. The absence of geographical boundaries may give rise to a situation where the material legal in one country where it is posted will violate the laws of another country. This process is further made complicated due to the absence of a uniform and harmonized law governing the jurisdictional aspects of disputes arising by the use of Internet. An international cyber law treaty prescribing a harmonized standard may be its solution otherwise we have to rely upon "conflict of laws" to resolve cyber space disputes.

In practical terms, a user of the Internet is subject to the laws of the state or nation within which he or she goes online. Thus, in the U.S., Jake Baker faced criminal charges for his e-conduct (see Free Speech), and numerous users of peer-to-peer file-sharing software were subject to civil lawsuits for copyright infringement. This system runs into conflicts, however, when these suits are international in nature. Simply put, legal conduct in one nation may be decidedly illegal in another. In fact, even different standards concerning the burden of proof in a civil case can cause jurisdictional problems. For example, an American celebrity, claiming to be insulted by an online American magazine, faces a difficult task of winning a lawsuit against that magazine for libel. But if the celebrity has ties, economic or otherwise, to England, her or she can sue for libel in the British court system, where the standard of "libelous speech" is far lower.
The aim of this segment is to explore how far a person can use the retaliation tactics of aggressive defence  in India or elsewhere, whose computer has been targeted for a wrong, nuisance, virus attacks, etc. The opinion in this context is sharply divided across the globe and some advocate for its use while others considers it to be an illegal act. It would be interesting to analyse whether the traditional concept of "private defence" can be used in cyberspace?
Cyber law in India is incorporated in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). The IT Act, 2000 chiefly covers: (a) E-commerce in India, (b) E-governance in India, (c) Cyber contraventions, (d) Cyber crimes, etc. The IT Act has made major amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act, Bankers Book evidence Act. The landmark amendment made by IT Act 2000, which was came into force on 17th October 2000, is Sec. 56 B of The Evidence Act which made electronic records as an admissible evidence in a court of Law. Due to this amendment transactions of in the electronic form got legal recognition and has given fast growth in e-commerce, m-commerce and e-governace. Still Indian law requires lot of changes to have more teeth for regulation of cyberspace accordingly amendments were proposed in December 2008, but still those amendments are not came into force.

Let us wait and watch and see that what way the horse of cyberspace strides to us and mandates for legal regulation.

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Welcome to my blog by post

--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law, KIIT Law School,
KIIT University,PATIA,
Bhubaneswar, Orisaa, India, Pin- 751024
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

GOVERNMENT LAW COLLEGE, Mumbai INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT

GOVERNMENT LAW COLLEGE, Mumbai INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT

In the pursuit of achieving its basic goal being promotion of
international law at a global level and with an aim to bring together
the colossal legal knowledge in the world under one roof SPIL, Mumbai
organizes “The Government Law College International Law Summit”
The Government Law College International Law Summit is a forum where
the legal minds from the various fields of law and from different
parts of the world will explore the ocean of thoughts and ideas on
different legal issues while speaking out their minds. At this Summit
one will not only be able to share his experience and knowledge with
the world and the global legal community but will also be exposed to
the issues faced and enlightened by the solutions developed by his
counterparts from the various corners of the world. Here the global
legal community will be able to analyze the various aspects of India’s
domestic law with a realm of international law around it. This summit
will not only help enrich one’s understanding of various international
legal regimes but also enable him to witness the implicit link between
the Indian domestic legal scenario and international law.

The Summit has been designed to suit the interest of every individual
belonging to the legal community right from a law student up to a law
firm. It is also designed for the benefits of students and
professionals belonging to various other professions who deal with
legal issues in their day to day work. It provides to be an
appropriate forum to facilitate healthy interactions between foreign
firms, domestic firms, corporate houses, students and various legal
luminaries from all over the world.

DETAILS ABOUT SUMMIT 2010

The Government Law College International Law Summit, 2010 is spread
over a period of four days. Each day consists of a specific theme
attached to it. The theme and the relevant dates as follows:

1. 4th February, 2010: International Trade Law, International Taxation
and Intellectual Property Rights

2. 5th February, 2010: Securities, Derivative and Investment Laws

3. 6th February, 2010: Shipping Laws, Aviation Laws and International
Arbitration

4. 7th February, 2010: Criminal Law, Human Rights, Environmental Law
and CSR.
The Summit for the first three days will commence with a legal
luminary setting the theme of the day by delivering a key note speech.
It will be followed by four presentations on the topics related to the
theme by international and national law firms who will by sharing
their practical knowledge in the field throw light on the varied
aspects such as the confluence of domestic and international law,
practice and procedures followed by national and international forums,
steps to be taken so as to pursue a particular field as a career, etc.
This will be followed by 2 paper presentations by participating
authors on issues related to the theme of the day. Finally the day
will fold with a panel discussion which will comprise of 5
participating authors as panelists.

The final day will commence with an opening speech on the confluence
of Human Rights Criminal Law and Environmental Law with the
convergence of domestic and international law. It will be followed by
presentation on corporate social responsibility by CSR consultancies
experts. The day will then see a working session for formulation of a
CSR Policy by 5 selected drafters. The day will conclude with a
closing ceremony along with a valedictory function.

The lunches, high teas and banquets will make one on one interaction
easier for the participating delegates, law firms, corporate houses
and legal luminaries with each other.
The Summit will also be webcasted live to Government Law College from
the venue where it will be witnessed by the students and learned
professors of the college who fail to make it to the conference. It
will also be shown at various other locations as chosen by the
sponsor.

Thus the Government Law College International Law Summit, 2010
promises to be an appropriate forum to allow people from all parts of
the world to come under a single banner and share their legal
knowledge.

SCHEDULE

Day 1

Theme : International Trade Law, International Taxation and
Intellectual Property Rights.

Day 2

Theme : Securities, Derivative and Investment Laws

Day 3

Theme : Shipping Laws, Aviation Laws and International Arbitration.

Day 4

Theme : Criminal Law, Human Right, Environmental Law and Corporate
social responsibility.

REGISTRATION OF DELEGATIONS

Registration form available here

The International law summit is your unmatched option for education.
This grand-scale event offers 13 focused sessions addressing topics
important to business laws and niche industry specialization. The
conference provides opportunities for collaboration and networking, as
well as an environment that builds a sense of pride and unity. You’ll
value conversations that inspire you to think creatively in the
existing legal scenario and sessions that will help to answer the
questions you’re facing, workshops that provide new strategies for
success in the legal field.
Top notch lawyers will guide you as you attempt to sail smoothly
through uncharted waters. Peer connections in the legal fraternity
will prove invaluable as you share experiences and successful ideas.
Attending this conference will give you what you need to be successful
today and into the future.

Fee structure for students and faculty wishing to attend the summit

Government Law College, Mumbai

India

NO of Delegates 1 : Rs. 2000 INR

NO of Delegates 3: Rs 5000

NO of Delegates 5: Rs. 8000 (INR)


** Students/faculty wishing to attend the banquet will have to pay an
additional amount of Rs. 2000 (INR) / $40 (USD) each.
** The last date for registration for the Summit is 20th January, 2010
(subject to availability)
**Accommodation will not be provided to the delegates. For suggested
accommodations log on to www.spilmumbai.org
** No online registration is available for the delegates form must be
sent along with the fees.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Registration form available here

Rules

The Government Law College, International Law Summit, 2010 is not only
a platform for law firms and corporate houses to come forward and
express their views on various issues, but also an opportunity for
authors to present their papers to the legal community that has come
together from the world over.
The entries are open to all, studying at any level in India or abroad.
The two best authors in every category, as adjudged by an esteemed
panel, will be given an opportunity to present their papers at the
Summit. Participants must submit papers on one of the 9 topics
specified in the 3 categories. The paper must be a convergence of any
two topics mentioned in each category. It should necessarily discuss
the international scenario of the topics chosen by the author. The
author has the discretion to include the domestic scenario if he
wishes to do so. However, the author retains the freedom to interpret
and define the scope of the topics.
Papers must be the original work of the participants. Plagiarism will
invite immediate disqualification. Papers are invited on the following
broad topics, but contributors are free to identify and analyze the
specific questions involved. However, the topics must either be viewed
in light of international law or the confluence of international and
Indian domestic law. The word limit of the paper must not exceed 5000
words. (Excluding footnotes).

Catagories

Catagory 1:

[Topic 1] International Trade Law
[Topic 2] International Taxation
[Topic 3] Intellectual Property Rights

Catagory 2 :

[Topic 4] Securities Laws
[Topic 5] Derivatives
[Topic 6] Investment Laws

Catagory 3 :

[Topic 7] Shipping Laws
[Topic 8] Aviation Laws
[Topic 9] International Arbitration

Two papers in each category will chosen and the authors will be given
a chance to make a Paper Presentation during the Summit on the day
under which their paper falls. Thus in total there will be six papers
selected for presentation.
Panel Discussion

The top five authors in every category, including the two chosen for
paper presentation, will be selected for the panel discussion of the
day. The panel discussion topics will be a confluence of the topics of
the paper, but not necessarily the topic of the author’s paper. The
topic, rules and invitations for the panel will be resealed after the
papers are shortlisted. Invitees should revert back within 48 hours as
to whether they would be interested in being part of the panel and
Paper presentation. Failure to do so or declining the aforementioned
invitation will entitle the next ranked author to be a part of the
panel.

Other specifications

A certificate from the Registrar/authorized officer of the
contributor’s University/ college, confirming that he/she is a bona
fide student of that University must accompany each paper.
Participants are requested to refer to the rule book provided by the
Summit for writing their papers.[link].

Four hard copies of each paper along with a summary (summary should be
a separate file) and a covering letter must be sent to PR Co-
ordinator, Nazaqat Lal, Students for the Promotion of International
Law, 23 Amber Apartments, Napean Sea road, Mumbai 400 006, post-marked
no later than the date mentioned below. A soft copy must also be sent
to papers@spilmumbai.org along with a covering letter having details
of the author and his institution.

Registration fee for submission of papers

Registration form available here

Fee per paper :

India : Rs. 500

Mode of payment

All payments should be made in favour of Principal, Government Law
College, Mumbai, by demand draft, cheque or international demand
draft.

Timeline


Last date for online registration for paper submission.15th November,
2009 (11.59 pm IST)

Last date for submission of paper. The registration fee must be sent
by this date.(Soft Copy and post mark date)10th December, 2009 (11.59
pm IST)

Announcement of results

1st January, 2010

**Copyrights of the papers submitted lie exclusively with SPIL Mumbai

For more details: log on to www.spilmumbai.org

With Regards,

Socio Legal Review : Call for Papers

Socio Legal Review : Call for Papers

About the Journal

The Socio-Legal Review (SLR) is a student-edited, peer-reviewed
interdisciplinary journal published annually by the Law and Society
Committee, National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The
Journal aims to be a forum that involves, promotes and engages
students and scholars to express and share their ideas and opinions on
themes and methodologies relating to the interface of law and society.
SLR thus features guest articles by eminent scholars as well as
student essays, providing an interface for the two communities to
interact.


The Journal subscribes to an expansive view on the interpretation of
“law and society” thereby keeping its basic criteria for contributions
simply that of high academic merit, as long as there is a perceivable
link. This would include not just writing about the role played by law
in social change, or the role played by social dynamics in the
formulation and implementation of law, but also writing that simply
takes cognizance of legal institutions/ institutions of governance/
administration, power structures in social commentary and so on.
Through this effort, the journal also hopes to fill the lacunae
relating to academic debate on socio-legal matters among law students.

For more information on the Journal please visit www.sociolegalreview.in


Socio-Legal Review welcomes contributions for its sixth volume to be
released in 2010.


Submission Guidelines

1. All contributions submitted to the journal should be original and
should not be simultaneously considered by any other publication.

2. The Editorial Board has refrained from imposing a theme. A
submission is welcome as long as it fits within the general mandate of
the Journal, as outlined above.

3. Contributions should be mailed only in a soft copy to
slr@nls.ac.in, the subject of the mail being ‘Submission for 2010
volume’. Biographical information is to be provided in a removable
title page.

4. The Journal is accepting contributions for Articles and Short
Articles. With reference to Articles, contributions should not
ordinarily exceed 8000 words. With reference to Short Articles,
contributions should not ordinarily exceed 3000 words. The Editorial
Board reserves the right to reject without review manuscripts that
exceed the word limit substantially.

5. The last date for submission is January 31st, 2010. Submissions
may, nevertheless, be made after this date. They will be considered
for publication in the next volume.

6. All submissions are to be made via e-mail as .doc documents
(preferably Microsoft Word 2003).

7. SLR follows the Harvard Blue Book – A Uniform System of Citation
(18th edn.) style of referencing. Contributors are requested to comply
with the same.

8. For any clarifications, please mail at slr@nls.ac.in.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We have lost one of the great Professor of Intellectual Property Law

Berkeley Law School Professor Dies at 73
By Stephanie Baer October 19, 2009 | 2:09 pm
Posted in: Obituary, University
Stephen Barnett, professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, died, at age 73, of complications resulting from cardiac arrest on Oct. 13.

Barnett was an expert on intellectual property law, the news media, the legal institutions of California—principally the California Supreme Court—and First Amendment issues.

Berkeley Law Associate Dean and professor Stephen Sugarman said Barnett was probably California’s leading analyst and critic of the state’s supreme court.

Barnett started teaching classes in copyright and trademarks, torts and California legal institutions at Boalt Hall in 1967 .

From 1977 to 1979, Barnett took a leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Justice Department as a deputy solicitor general, briefing and arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He then returned to the Berkeley Law and was awarded the Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Chair in 1990.

“Steve became the leading critical commentator on the problems generated by federal legislation allowing the newspaper industry to enter into production and revenue-sharing agreements under the umbrella of antitrust immunity,” said Berkeley Law professor Richard Buxbaum. “In legislative hearings, participation in litigation, and innumerable op-ed pieces, he kept this problematic exception under constant public scrutiny.”

Buxbaum added that Barnett also maintained a leading role in shaping public policy concerning the structure and regulation of media.

“He was an important participant in the academic studies that influenced new European regulations of these sectors in the 1980s,” Buxbaum said.

In 1988, Barnett co-authored the book Law of International Telecommunications, which gave the first comparative evaluations of national data on the subject and analyzed the role of international organizations in facilitating such communications.

Barnett continued his scholarly writing in 2000 as a contributing commentary writer to California Lawyer magazine, and served as nonresident dean of the law department at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia. He retired from Berkeley Law in 2003.

Barnett is survived by his wife, Karine, their son, Alexander and his stepson, Levon. He also leaves behind his sister, Linda Beizer and three nephews.

Resident Fellowships, Yale Law School Information Society Project 2010-2011

Resident Fellowships, Yale Law School Information Society Project 2010-2011

Applications are being accepted for Resident Fellowships for 2010-2011, at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. The application deadline is February 1, 2010. According to the announcement, the fellowship “is designed for recent graduates of law or Ph.D. programs who are interested in careers in teaching and public service in any of the following areas:

law and innovation,
media studies,
Internet and telecommunications law,
intellectual property law,
access to knowledge,
First Amendment law,
social software,
digital education,
privacy,
cybersecurity,
standards and technology policy,
biotechnology and law,
technology and culture generally.”
For more information, please see the announcement.
HT Dr. Laura E. DeNardis.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whether there is a need for stricter regulation on Cyber Cafes?

During the Bangalore Cyber Security Summit 2009, held on October 8th and 9th, several issues were discussed including the impact of the proposed amendments to ITA 2008 on various Intermediaries.
While several speakers argued for the increasing security threats and therefore a strict regulation on Cyber Cafes, and how to ensure that Cyber Cafes donot lose business as a result of either the stricter regulations or because the internet availability has now gone mobile with GPRS enabled mobile phones as well as the ubiquitous laptops.
A survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB indicated that that the Cyber Cafe users as a percentage of overall Internet users had declined from 52% in 2003 to 39% in 2006. A more recent survey by A C Nielsen is also provides that the usage has declined further to 34 %.
Though the per hour browsing rate has also declined, it appears that the actual gross revenue downfall has not been as steep as the fall in the numbers indicating that revenue is also being realized through value added services including printing, video and photo uploading , online gaming etc.
In the light of the above observations, it may appear that with the ITA 2008, there should be greater regulatory pressures. One reason is that there were a few instances in India where key Loggers had been installed in the Cyber Cafes leading to loss of Bank passwords and Credit Card information of some of the customers who became victims of cyber crimes. This projected accessing through Internet as “Insecure” and hence people have stopped using Cyber Cafes for financial transactions.
One of the reasons why Cyber Cafes have found regulations difficult to handle was that the regulations were too stringent. Complete Compliance was almost impossible in some cases or anyway not feasible without high costs.
Now that the Cyber Cafe regulations are likely to be revisited when the ITA 2008 is notified, there would be at least uniformity in the regulations in different states. This may remove certain impractical regulations but nevertheless, at a time that Terrorism is a threat and Cyber Cafes are definitely the access points used by terrorists, it is not possible for the regulations to be any lighter than what it is now.
This could mean that ID management would be more strictly enforced along with data retention under Sec 67 C or otherwise. The penalties for non compliance would be much stricter. It is therefore necessary for Cyber Cafes to consider planning for proper compliance to reduce the risk related costs.
In this context the technology solutions discussed during the Summit appeared to hold promise for Compliance without the need for manual intervention. It was demonstrated that technology need not be expensive and also that the use of technology itself can open up new avenues of revenue so that instead of the revenue declining, we may actually see revenue of Cyber Cafes increasing.
Another aspect of the technology discussed was that it could enable the unorganized sector of Cyber Cafe owners majority of whom own one or two units can come on a common service platform and together harness the benefits which today are available only for large corporate cyber cafes.
There is a plan to create “E Bridge Centers” out of the Cyber Cafes and proivde them with new avenues of revenue. The trial run of the new technology is going to happen in Karnataka over the next few months and it is expected that the Cyber Cafe owners can look forward to being compliant of Cyber laws, friendly with the Police and at the same time increase their revenue.