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, Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.
An expert committee will be set up with members from the government as well as the industry for discussion on the new IT Act.
“Discussions are on in the department to revisit the IT Act... 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,” Mr. Prasad said.
The Minister added that one of the major challenges was the scale of users that consume technology. “The biggest challenge is the number of consumers we have to handle. Plus, 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,” he said.
Mr. Prasad said that the new Act will also factor-in larger issues, including Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy.
Noting that cyber issues have not been adequately responded to in the present IT Act, the Minister said the government may even look at including a separate chapter on cyber issues in the revamped Act.
The Minister was speaking to reporters after his meeting with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was on a three-day visit to India. “We had a very good meeting, it was a courtesy meeting. I wish to thank him for his observations on Digital India, in particular digital inclusion...We also discussed a whole range of issues around IT,” he said with regards to the meeting that lasted for about 20 minutes.
The Minister added that he had suggested to Mr. Nadella that Microsoft should consider adopting some digital villages and mentor them to make them beacons.
“I am happy that he has readily responded,” he added.
The Minister also pointed out that the issue of data sovereignty was discussed at the meeting. However, he did not share further details.