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Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 comes into force

New Delhi: October 27,2009

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 has come into force today. The Rules pertaining to section 52 (Salary, Allowances and Other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members), section 54 (Procedure for Investigation of Misbehaviour or Incapacity of Chairperson and Members), section 69 (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information), section 69A (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public), section 69B (Procedure and safeguard for Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data or Information) and notification under section 70B for appointment of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team have also been notified.

The Information Technology Act was enacted in the year 2000 with a view to give a fillip to the growth of electronic based transactions, to provide legal recognition for e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, to prevent computer based crimes and ensure security practices and procedures in the context of widest possible use of information technology worldwide.

With proliferation of information technology enabled services such as e-governance, e-commerce and e-transactions; data security, data privacy and implementation of security practices and procedures relating to these applications of electronic communications have assumed greater importance and they required harmonization with the provisions of the Information Technology Act. Further, protection of Critical Information Infrastructure is pivotal to national security, economy, public health and safety, thus it had become necessary to declare such infrastructure as protected system, so as to restrict unauthorised access.

Further, a rapid increase in the use of computer and Internet has given rise to new forms of crimes like, sending offensive emails and multimedia messages, child pornography, cyber terrorism, publishing sexually explicit materials in electronic form, video voyeurism, breach of confidentiality and leakage of data by intermediary, e-commerce frauds like cheating by personation - commonly known as phishing, identity theft, frauds on online auction sites, etc. So, penal provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000. Also, the Act needed to be technology-neutral to provide for alternative technology of electronic signature for bringing harmonization with Model Law on Electronic Signatures adopted by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

Keeping in view the above, Government had introduced the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2006 in the Lok Sabha on 15th December 2006. Both Houses of Parliament passed the Bill on 23rd December 2008. Subsequently the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 received the assent of President on 5th February 2009 and was notified in the Gazette of India.

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