New Delhi : As governments the world over realise the urgent need to tame the anarchic world of the Internet – dominated by a couple of tech giants – and begin to write new rules pertaining to users’ rights, data privacy and spread of false news and extremist content, India too must shun archaic regulations and implement New-Age cyber laws.
The debate is now growing about exercising some form of control over the web when billions are communicating daily over social media platforms, smartphone use is on the rise and data consumption is breaking all previous records.
Look at how the Unites States has brought Facebook under intense scrutiny over Russian ads on its platform during the 2016 US presidential election, or how the European Union in June slapped a record $2.7 billion fine on Google after it found that it “abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors”. Speaking at the United Nations last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May said technology companies must go “further and faster” in removing extremist content from their platforms.
In the meanwhile, there is widespread criticism across the world, including in India, over sharing of user data between WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook.
Like the Western world, the time is ripe for India to wake up from its slumber in terms of cyber regulation and come up with appropriate strategies to tighten its cyber policies vis-a-vis the Internet, say experts, adding that the existing cyber law is not adequate to deal with current realities.
“India does not have any detailed legislation on data privacy on Internet/social media platforms. India also does not have a data protection law. The Information Technology Act, 2000, which got amended only in 2008, is neither a data privacy law nor a data protection law,” Pavan Duggal, the nation’s leading cyber law expert, told IANS.
According to him, Indians are slowly beginning to discover that they have no effective remedy once they are targeted in the anarchic system on Internet, including social media platforms.
Data intermediaries and data repositories need to be made responsible for ensuring data privacy of their customers, stressed Duggal, also a Supreme Court advocate.
“India can come up with dedicated new legislation on data protection as well as data privacy. The Supreme Court has already expressed the hope in the landmark judgment of Justice K.S. Puttaswami vs Union of India that the Government would take into account the fundamental principles concerning privacy which have been laid down by the Supreme Court and enshrine them in new provisions of law,” Duggal informed.