Friday, January 1, 2010

A to Z of Cyberlaw, 2009.

The past twelve months in Cyberlaw were exceptionally active, with the amendment in Information Technology Act 2000, Cyberlaw as a field grew tremendously in the year 2009, and faced different battles over various law and technology issues. The struggle between the rights of sovereign nations to preserve national security and integrity vis-a-vis the personal private rights of individuals pertaining to privacy continued to grow and Cyber terrorism as a phenomenon firmly established itself as an important challenge before national governments and sovereign nations. The issue of distribution of content and data over computer resources located in different territorial jurisdictions connected to the cloud managed to gain enough significant recognition. My blogs for e.g Cyberlaw, Technolex, Technolexindia, and, IPLex, take a re-look at 2009 from A to Z:


A.                 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the secret copyright treaty that generated opposition in India and abroad as details on proposed language leaked out.

B.                 Barring a few offences, almost all cyber crimes in India have been made as bailable offences where the accused is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

C.                 Cyber terrorism was declared as a heinous crime punishable with life imprisonment and fine under the terms of the amended Information Technology Act 2000.

D.                 Deviation from stringent punishment for cyber criminals by enacting the Information Technology Amendment Act.2009.

E.                  Electronic evidences have been destroyed by some cyber criminals after released on bail. They have gone ahead of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2009.

F.                  Facebook, agreed to make significant privacy changes following a well-publicized investigation by Privacy Experts.

G.                 Google Street View, which launched, but not before a House of Commons committee probed the likely impact of the new mapping feature.

H.                 Harassment is specifically brought within the ambit of the Indian Cyberlaw.

I.                    i4i, the tiny Toronto firm that scored a big patent victory over software giant Microsoft, Identity theft continued to be a major cyber crime mover in various jurisdictions.

J.                   Jonathan Zitterain, chair Professor of Internet Law and Society, has done good contribution to growth of cyberlaw.

K.                K is for CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein, who was in the spotlight with hearings on regulation of new media, Internet traffic management, and broadcast fees.  

L.                  Legislative initiative, recently taken by the Govt. of India although laudable in its objectives, is likely to have counter-productive consequences if it is not regulated properly.

M.               Misuse of confidential data and information is have good recognition under IT Amendment At 2009.This subject was continuously engaged the attention of the relevant stakeholders in different jurisdictions.

N.                Notification and implementation of Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008, defamation, cyber and nuisancenow specifically brought within the ambit of Cyberlaw in India.

O.                One-click, the controversial business method patent that was denied validity by the Canadian Patent Appeal Board.

P.                  Psion, the Toronto-owned firm that threatened Dell over the use of the term "netbook."

Q.                Queen v. Vasic, a criminal case in which an Ontario court ruled that combining Internet provider customer name and address information with IP address data could render the information sensitive.

R.                 Reduction of the quantum of punishment of cyber crimes by the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, gives virtually a signal to cyber criminals to come and explore the fertile soils of India for perpetuating the cyber criminal designs and intentions.

S.                  Statistics of cybercriminal convictions are against India. A country of more than a billion populations and only a couple of cyber crime convictions is a question mark on the way cyberlaw in India being implemented.

T.                  TV Tax and Local TV Matters marketing campaigns that irritated various peoples from coast to coast. Tremendous improvement in cyberlaw over the earlier cyberlaw yet it brought forward its own practical peculiar problems and drawbacks.

U.                 Unwanted telemarketing calls that kept coming despite the existence of a various national do-not-call list.

V.                 Veit Joanne, an Alberta judge who ruled that Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work was wrong when he concluded the City of Edmonton can't force pawnshops to upload personal client details to an outside company's database.

W.               WindMobile, the operating name of Globalive, a new wireless carrier that was told by the CRTC that it did not comply with foreign control restrictions, only to have the federal Cabinet overrule the regulator weeks later.

X.                 "X" on electronic voting technologies, which Election authorities of various countries reportedly considering.

Y.                 YouTube, which received a video takedown demand.  The crown corporation objected to a union-inspired video about the mail carrier's CEO.

Z.                  Zoocasa, the real estate search site that was sued by Century 21 for scraping listings from its website.

After going through A to Z developments in the field of cyberlaw in 2009, it is evident that Information technology issues are growing faster than expected. These developments are posing challenges before cyberlaw policy makers at international level in general and national level in particular. Let us just not wait and watch but be ready with better regulation, control, protection and management of rights and liabilities in fast growing digital world to have better knowledge economy.

Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Research Papers:

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