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.
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Website: www.kls.ac.in, www.technolexindia.com
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281