Govt. can block websites (and you cannot contest the decision) – IT Act Bill

The Indian govt. has donned Talibani hat and is gearing up to control Internet and information disseminated in the upcoming IT bill.

The last updated IT bill was passed in 2008 and the latest changes sounds like an attempt to control information.

Here are a few points from the amendment:

  • The Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India shall designate and notify in official Gazette, an officer of the Central Government, not below the rank of a Joint Secretary, for issuing directions for blocking for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource
  • The designated officer may by order direct any Agency of the Government or intermediaries to block for access by the public any information or part thereof generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource for any of the reasons specified in sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act.
  • Any person may send their complaint to the concerned Organisation for blocking of access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource.
  • In the event of approval of the Request by the Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India, under Rule (14) and Rule (15), the Designated Officer will direct the Intermediaries to block the offending information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in their computer resource for public access within the time limit specified in the direction.

The missing link in the entire process is provision for one to contest the decision. Designated officers have all the right to block what they feel violates the rule.

Reasons to block (if you violate the following):

  • Interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Defence of India
  • Security of the State
  • Friendly relations with foreign States
  • Public order
  • For preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above

New Agency – Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Govt. is planning to start a CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) which shall function as the trusted referral agency for cyber users in India for responding to cyber security incidents and will assist cyber users in the country in implementing measures to reduce the risk of cyber security incidents.

Essentially, CERT can ask service providers to share any data it wants!

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Before things get on to you and your site, you can mail your views to Dr. Gulshan Rai at grai@mit.gov.in

More details here

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