Monthly Archives: May 2011

India Is Becoming A Hub For Spam Communications

India is becoming a hub for Spam communications these days. Whether it is telemarketing or Spam e-mails, Indian share of this Unsolicited and Privacy Violating communications is increasing fast.

Thanks to our Department of Information Technology (DIT), Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that actively “Support and Encourage” these Tele Marketing Companies and Spam Producing Companies through abstaining from taking any action against them.

The Telemarketing and Spam Lobby is very powerful and that is preventing the DIT/DOT/TRAI from taking a pro active action in this regard. Further, India has no Privacy, Data Protection and Data Security Laws.

Even the Cyber Law of India, incorporated in the Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000), is useless in this regard. Further, almost all the Cyber Crimes in India are “Bailable” hence there is “No Deterrence” at all for Telemarketing and Spam Companies. Even the Telecom policy of India is not appropriate in this regard.

With an increased penetration of Wireless and Broadband Connections in rural and other sub urban areas of India, things would be more complicated. There is an urgent need to “Streamline” various issues that have been totally neglected so far.

GPS Based Tracking For Strauss Kahn While On Bail

GPS based tracking has become a trend these days. In US some Indian students were forced to wear GPS based devices till they were deported back to India. Similarly, the Haryana police proposed use of the same for criminals convicted of heinous crimes like murder while releasing them on parole or for some exceptional reasons.

Now the latest to add to this series is the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who would be wearing a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet tracking his every move. This is a part of his terms of release by a New York judge on $1 million bail. These GPS devices are capable of providing a minute-by-minute log of a wearer’s movements.

The GPS based devices can provide accurate information of their wearers. Their settings can allow the observers to watch the movements of wearer within feet to within yards.

Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn will plead not guilty in the court. French interior minister said on Sunday France would support any request from Strauss-Kahn to serve jail time back home if he is convicted in New York.

GPS based monitoring has both positive and negative sides. On the negative side it has privacy violation issues whereas on the positive side it meets the needs of law enforcement adequately.

Let us see how GPS base monitoring devices would be used for legal and judicial purposes in India.

Parliamentary Standing Committee On IT Angry With DOT

Second generation (2G) spectrum irregularities took entire India for a shock. Even an entire session of Parliament of India was wiped out protesting against 2G scam and for raising a demand for formulation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).

After much discussions and protests, a JPC was constituted that finished its enquiry. Simultaneously, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) also submitted its report in this regard.

Now the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has found the Department of Telecom (DoT) guilty of not cancelling 74 licences for the Unified Access Services (UAS) as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). It suspects something basically wrong with DoT in favouring the defaulters instead of punishing them.

The defaulter companies include those who were given licences tweaking the rules and who are now facing the CBI probe. The committee is understood to have noted in its report that the telecom firms that faulted in rolling out the services should have been dealt with sternly.

Meanwhile, Minster of Department of Information Technology and DoT Kapil Sibal has decided to streamline the telecom policy of India. The current national telecom policy of India was badly drafted and dishonestly implemented. After the 2G scam a need was felt to have a new telecom policy for India. In this background, the national telecom policy of India 2011 was proposed.

Further, a draft National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) of India 2011 has also been proposed to effectively utilise the scarce frequency of India. Kapil Sibal is definitely doing a good job in bringing order in the otherwise chaosed Indian telecom world.

Glendora Police Department Is Using Innovative Methods

Law enforcement agencies around the world are increasingly using information technology for efficient law enforcement delivery. In India as well projects like crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) has been proposed by Home Ministry of India. Even projects like national intelligence grid (Natgrid) have been suggested by Home Ministry.

Further, a proposal to establish a system where first information reports can be filed online has also been proposed. However, till now all of these are just proposals and not even a single project has been implemented in India.

Law enforcement agencies of India are still afraid of information technology related issues like cyber law and use of computers and other technological instruments. Of course, they are catching up with the new technology but the pace is very slow.

The Glendora Police Department has launched a new feature on the Glendora Police Department’s website. Now anyone who has access to a computer can see the calls that come into the police department in almost real time.

A department official said keeping the public informed about police activities serves two purposes. On one hand, he hopes it will reduce the work load for his employees. If people can see why a police helicopter is circling overhead with a few mouse clicks, they’ll be less likely to flood police dispatchers with calls asking `why,’ so the thinking goes.

On the other hand, it satisfies people’s growing appetite for non-stop information. To that end, the department has also created its own online crime-mapping system. The official said there are also some big changes in store for the website, including an online log that shows whom the department has arrested.

And the Glendora Police Department isn’t the only agency responding to that need. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has taken a huge leap into the Information Age in the past year and a half.

I hope Indian law enforcement agencies may also take a leaf out of these activities from their foreign counterparts. Although electronic delivery of services in India has been proposed yet it is far from being actual implementation. Let us see how our law enforcement agencies would perform in future.

Electronic Service Delivery In India Proposed

One of the main problems with Indian e-governance initiatives is that mandatory electronic delivery of services is missing in India. We have no mandatory e-governance services framework in India. Till now there is no provision under which citizens could ask for mandatory electronic delivery of services from the Indian government.

However, with the proposed draft Electronic Delivery of Services Bill 2011 (EDS Bill 2011) Indian government has for the first time shown its willingness to provide e-governance services in India. However, the real problem with Indian e-governance initiatives in general and proposed ESD Bill 2011 in particular is that legal framework for mandatory electronic services delivery in India is still missing from it.

The Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the Central Government has, through a written communication, sought suggestions of the State Government on the draft Electronic Service Delivery Bill-2011.
The proposed ESD Bill 2011 would make it mandatory for all government departments to deliver public services in electronic mode within a stipulated period of time.

As per the ESD Bill 2011, it would be required by all government departments to identify the basket of citizen centric services to be delivered through electronic means alongwith the stipulated timelines and service levels for each service. Each department would have to fix the timelines for mandatory electronic service delivery. However, no department would exceed a cutoff date fixed for the country. Its benefits would include efficient, transparent and reliable delivery of web enabled public services in a definite and time bound manner to citizens, thereby transforming Governance.

The implementation of the Act would be monitored by Electronic Services Delivery Commissions to be constituted at both Central and State levels. The ESD Bill 2011 has been proposed as a direct consequence of the e-delivery of public services development policy loan by the World Bank.

Recently the World Bank and Indian government signed a loan agreement of $150 million for the e-delivery of public services in India. The loan has been granted as the e-delivery of public services development policy loan to be utilised under the national e-governance plan of India (NEGP). However, till now neither a policy nor a legal framework has been established by India in this regard.

CBI Director Stresses Upon Technology Awareness Among Bank Officers

Recently the third conference of chief vigilance officers (CVOs) of public sector banks and financial institutions was held at the new central bureau of investigation (CBI) headquarters building. The director of CBI Shri Amar Pratap Singh advised the CVOs of banks and financial institutions to adapt to changing technology and sensitise staff to new methods of frauds.

Delivering the Key Note Address, Director CBI Shri Amar Pratap Singh said that CBI’s role is to investigate the criminality in bank frauds and it does not interfere in cases of prudent commercial judgement, even if such decisions involve risks or have resulted in losses to banks.

The Director, CBI called upon banks to adapt to changing technology and to sensitise its officers to new methods of fraud which are of late, noticed in electronic payments, technology related payments like RTGS, Credit Cards, ATM, Cell Banking, Internet Banking etc. Director CBI said the Banking Sector has lost as much as Rs.1883 crore and Rs. 2017 crore during 2008-09 and 2009-2010 respectively. These include over 200 frauds of above Rs One crore during each year.

Shri A.P. Singh stated that banking officials are guiding Investigating Officers in scrutiny of financial statement, credit appraisal etc which has enhanced the professionalism of CBI, in detecting bank frauds.

The Conference discussed important issues such as Preventive Vigilance, E-Tendering/E-Procurement and Forensic Auditing. The services of bank officers are being utilised in various branches of CBI such as Bank Security and Fraud Cell, Economic Offences Unit and Anti Corruption Units in the CBI Headquarters as well as regions.

The call from CBI director came after G Gopalakrishna, the executive director of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that all Banks would have to create a position of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) as well as Steering Committees on Information Security at the Board Level at the earliest. The idea is to use information technology to the maximum possible extent while maintaining the cyber security of banks.

While RBI and CBI have done a great job yet banks and financial institutions in India are not taking these directions and recommendations seriously. Till now the directions of RBI to appoint CIOs and steering committee has not been followed by banks of India. Similarly, banks of India are also at fault for ignoring the cyber security requirements. The RBI has even said that mobile banking in India is not yet popular due to low adoption of technology by banks. Let us hope the banks and financial institutions would take cyber law, cyber crimes and cyber security issues seriously very soon.

UK Looking Forward For Cyber Crimes Fighters

Till now it is an established fact that government of any nation by itself is not capable of dealing with cyber crimes and cyber security related issues. This is the reason why public private partnerships (PPP) is often adopted as a model to enhance capabilities of various national governments.

Further, contests and tournaments are also good source of talent mobilisation. For instance, the UK’s computer security industry has been conducting a series of games and tournaments to acquire fresh talents that can fight against the growing cyber crimes in UK.

UK will launch the Cyber Security Challenge next week that would bring out the best brains in the cyber security industry and common people. The search for new cyber security professionals follows warnings from chancellor George Osborne earlier this month, that government offices such as the Treasury were being bombarded with cyber attacks on a daily basis.

The government allocated £650m additional funding to fight cyber crime last autumn, indicating how tacking online crime had become a priority issue. However, 99 per cent of computer security companies surveyed last year said they could not recruit enough people for the work they were doing.

This is not a UK specific problem. In India as well Indian companies are finding it difficult to get talented workforce in IT field. Keeping in mind the international trend, India urgently needs to upgrade its skill development initiatives. There is an urgent need to develop techno legal skills development initiatives in India. Further, ICT skill development initiatives are also urgently required in India. There is also a need to club skill development and technical education in India.

Cyber security is an area that has not received much attention of Indian policy makers. Even private companies and industry is looking forward for skilled workforce in India. It is high time for India to invest in cyber security both in terms of technology and capacity development.

National Intelligence Grid Of India In Doldrums

National intelligence grid (Natgrid) is a pilot project of Home Ministry of India. Natgrid has been launched to tackle growing terrorist attacks and terrorism cases in India. Besides, Natgrid can also be used to prevent serious crimes and cyber crimes.

Natgrid project is accompanies by national counter terrorism centre (NCTC) of India. However, till now neither Natgrid nor NCTC has been able to see the light of the day. Bureaucratic hurdles and lack of proper planning is the main reason why these crucial projects are not even able to take a start.

After 26/11, India vowed it would never be caught napping again and the ambitious idea of National Intelligence Grid was born. It was widely believed to be Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s visionary plan, a powerful real-time 24X7 networking of 21 databases to stitch all information and raise alarm. It has now been almost two years and there is no sign of any implementation of Natgrid project.

There seems to be two main reasons for non functional Natgrid and NCTC projects. The first is the fear that Home Ministry would become all powerful Ministry to deal with intelligence related works. If sensitive information is left at the disposal of Home Ministry other Ministries may not like the idea. Further, this is the reason why NCTC project has not moved an inch forward.

The second reason for the failure of Natgrid and NCTC projects is absence of privacy, data security and data protection safeguards in these projects. In a zeal to deal with terrorism related cases, Home Minister P Chidambaram ignored the civil liberties requirements altogether. To make the matter worst we have no e-surveillance policy in India and our intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies are practically governed by no law and without any Parliamentary oversight. Thus, fears of privacy violations have also plagued Natgrid and NCTC projects.

Although the intentions of Home Ministry are good yet they have not been executed in a planned and coordinated manner. In these circumstances the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) may not clear these much needed projects. I wish the Home Ministry would take care of all these issues so that both Natgrid and NCTC may be operational in India.

International Cyber Crime Fight Getting Serious

The biggest hurdle before the fight against international cyber crimes is the lack of coordination and collaboration among various nations and international organisations. There is no universally acceptable cyber crime treaty and India has yet to become a part of any international treaty or convention in this regard.

Although cyberspace is not a safe place for any person yet children are more vulnerable to the evils of cyber crimes. Protecting children in cyberspace is of utmost importance. Now the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are expected to jointly work in this direction.

They have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would enable the two bodies to work together and to make available the necessary expertise and resources to establish legal measures and legislative frameworks at national level, for the benefit of all interested countries. It is the first time that two organisations within the UN system have formally agreed to cooperate at the global level on cyber crimes and cyber security.

This can also be seen as a coordinated global effort towards harmonisation of legal framework and fight against cyber crimes. We at Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have been suggesting ICT Policies and Strategies in general and need for International Cyber Crime Treaty and International Cyber Security Treaty in particular.

It seems that nations across the world must concentrate upon a coordinated and focused approach towards cyber crimes and cyber security. The national approach alone cannot solve the growing dangers that are lurking at large in the cyberspace.

Indian Companies Are Facing Shortage Of Skilled Workforce

According to a recent survey, Indian companies are finding it difficult to fill in key positions in research, sales and IT due to lack of training and experience. The main reason for such supply shortage is the lack of training and the required experience for the positions which are in very high demand by the industry.

This is no surprise as studies in the past have also indicated that only 25% management students and 20% engineers are fit to be absorbed in to mainstream industry. The main reason for this poor performance is the highly academic nature of Indian education system. Further, little emphasis is given to practical trainings and education in India.

India urgently needs to upgrade its skill development initiatives. There is an urgent need to develop techno legal skills development initiatives in India. Further, ICT skill development initiatives are also urgently required in India. There is also a need to club skill development and technical education in India.

However, India is a big country with diverse languages and culture. It is not possible to accommodate the gigantic population of India through institutional education mechanism. India must use e-learning and online education and skill development model as much as possible.

Similarly, India must also pay more attention to higher research and education. More PhD candidates must be enrolled so that research in India can be strengthened. Finally, a special emphasis must be given to lifelong learning in India and continuing legal education in India.

European Union India Free Trade Agreement May Be Tough

India and European Union (EU) have been trying really hard to formulate a comprehensive free trade policy to apply to both goods and services, and facilitate more European investment in India. EU and India now believe that they are getting closer to an agreement which would be more fruitful for both parties.

This is so despite the differences between EU and India regarding intellectual property rights (IPRS) especially regarding pharmaceutical patents. IPRs in India are governed by respective legislation and at the International level they are governed by TRIPS Agreement. Now EU is insisting upon “TRIPS Plus Conditions” that India is not interested in agreeing to. India’s stand on highly sensitive IPRs issues has been formulated by the high-powered Trade and Economic Relations Committee (TERC) at its recent meeting Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, EU’s Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, has announced plans to slash the number of countries, from 176 to 80, that benefit from the generalised system of preferences (GSP) scheme, whereby eligible nations enjoy reduced or zero customs tariffs on imported goods. He said that the action is aimed at large emerging economies like India, Brazil and Russia, which did not require continued specialised assistance, given their newly muscular economies.

Bilateral trade in goods and services between India and the EU was estimated at €72bn ($103bn, £63bn) in 2009, a figure that could rise to an estimated €160bn by 2015 if the pact is completed.

But, with both Brussels and New Delhi keeping the precise details of the deal a closely guarded secret, the talks have aroused serious concern in both Europe and India. In February, Corporate Europe Observatory, a research and campaigning group, sued the European Commission over its conduct of the free trade talks. The lawsuit accused the commission of violating rules on transparency and democracy by refusing to disclose details of the negotiations publicly, despite sharing them with powerful European business groups.

A more rigorous stand has been taken by NGOs and other dealing with healthcare. If TRIPS Plus provisions are pushed by EU and accepted by India, it would hamper the ability of developing countries to fight against life threatening diseases. The EU, in the face of the protests, has backed away from some of its demands, including its request for protection of multinational drug companies’ clinical trial data, which Indian companies use to get their own low-cost generic copies approved. It seems the EU India free trade agreement would not be an easy ride especially due to large public interest attached to healthcare and affordable medicines.

Phil Reitinger Resigns From Homeland Security’s Post

United States (US) has recently declared its international strategy for cyberspace. With this it has also shown its willingness to take cyberspace issues like cyber law, cyber crimes and cyber security seriously. This is a good step in right direction for any country including India. However, nothing is more beneficial than a harmonised and international standard in this regard.

US is also entering into bilateral agreements with countries like India in this regard. For instance, India and US are going to have a homeland security dialogue very soon. Further, a greater India US cyber security cooperation is also on the cards.

In a significant development, Phil Reitinger, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) top cyber and computer crimes official, is resigning just days after the administration launched its most ambitious cyber security initiative.

The DHS cyber team has monitored a surge of major cyber attacks in the private sector, with crises like the penetration of Google by Chinese hackers, aggressive attempts to break into NASDAQ’s computers, and most recently, an audacious but simple infiltration of RSA, a top cyber security company perhaps best known for its SecurID computer security product.

DHS’s National Cyber Security Division provides warning and advice to the government and private sector about potential threats through its National Cyber Security and Communications Integration Center, runs exercises to test the government’s response to major intrusions, and has completed guidelines for the feds to follow in the event of a cyber-emergency.

Reported friction between DHS and other government agencies has diminished under the watch of White House senior director for cyber policy Howard Schmidt, who was charged by President Obama with de-conflicting and streamlining cyber response and policy priorities associated with it. Last week, Schmidt sent to Congress detailed guidance from the White House about legislation to establish a formal way to protect and certify the nation’s critical private infrastructure, as well as formally give DHS authority over the domain.

Massachusetts Unemployment Agency Infected By Worm

Malware are becoming a growing nuisance and cause of concern world over. Viruses and worms have transformed into potential tools of exploitation and damage. Whether it is critical infrastructure or cyber espionage, malware are increasingly used to exploit weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the networks and computer systems.

The present era is an era of sophisticated malware that are at times not detectable for many months. Computers at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of India were infected with a worm for many months before it was detected. Similarly, defence forces computers are occasionally infected with malware in India. The same applies to other countries as well.

For instance, an aggressive worm known for stealing sensitive information was recently found on the computer network for the agencies handling unemployment claims in Massachusetts. According to the agency cyber criminals may have used malware to steal personal information from the Massachusetts unemployment offices.

The department is currently contacting all affected residents and has already notified “all relevant and necessary” state and federal agencies for assistance in remediating the breach.

Cyber security has become an indispensable requirement these days. When organisations are handling sensitive information, both legal and technical measures are needed to keep it intact.

Income Tax Criminal Investigation Would Be Revamped In India

Income tax, especially direct tax, is an important revenue source for government of India. Black money and its safe deposit in foreign jurisdiction is also a big problem for India. Since many jurisdictions are involved in this case, even criminal investigation cannot be done properly. Further, as more information technology is used by tax criminals these days, income tax authorities find it difficult to investigate technological crimes.

The income tax department of India is planning to revamp its tax collection mechanism. Among other crucial initiatives, there is also a proposal to create a directorate of criminal investigation (DCI). The directorate will maintain a centralised repository of data collected from telephone and Internet intercepts, banking and market transactions, cross-border deals, ATM transactions, etc. The department will also develop cyber forensics capabilities and obtain latest forensics tools.

DCI would also be required to tackle the data security cyber security issues. Data and information collected by DCI must be tamper proof and immuned from leakages and cyber crimes. Good and effective cyber security must be put at place to keep the sensitive and secret data out of the reach of cyber criminals.

Media reports indicate that income tax department is currently probing a host of high-profile financial irregularities from and to overseas destinations and is of the view that the next decade will see an increased role on its part in scrutinising such transactions and fund flows.

This will require the income tax department to deploy considerable resource and energy on criminal investigation. Effective criminal investigation will necessarily include a comprehensive international strategy to combat offshore tax evasion, and fund flows that threaten security of the country.

The roadmap seeks to strategise the policies of the department as new technological development, accelerated globalisation, exchange of information between revenue authorities. The department also proposes to hone its cyber forensic skills, keep tab on fund flow relating to money laundering, narcotics and terror and ensure exemplary enforcement against abusive schemes and corporate tax frauds.

The income tax department must stress upon techno legal skills development of its officers dealing with financial crimes, income tax investigations, cyber crimes, tax evasion cases, etc in order to achieve the abovementioned objectives.

Mobile Banking In India Still Not Popular Says RBI

Electronic banking in India is still at the infancy stage. Whether it is electronic banking, Internet banking, mobile banking or any other form of e-banking, Indian banks have yet to take the lead. Further, in the context of mobile banking, mobile security in India is also emerging as a roadblock. This has also made mobile banking in India risky. Absence of encryption laws in India has further made the mobile security very weak in India.

Recently, G Gopalakrishna, the executive director of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that all Banks would have to create a position of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) as well as Steering Committees on Information Security at the Board Level at the earliest. The idea is to use information technology to the maximum possible extent while maintaining the cyber security of banks.

However, banks in India are shying away from using technology assisted banking. Indian banks have shown little progress in the areas of mobile banking and cash at point-of-sales (PoS) terminals, even after nearly two years of the RBI allowing banks to run such facilities.

According to G. Padmanabhan, chief general manager, RBI, though the number of users who registered for mobile banking is substantial in absolute numbers, it is very low vis-à-vis the number of mobile phone subscribers. Implementation of some of the policy directives, which were emanated largely on the demands of stakeholders, has been far from satisfactory, he said.

Earlier this month, RBI had raised the limits on mobile-based transactions without end-to-end encryption from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000. The limits on mobile-based semi-closed prepaid instruments issued by non-banks were also raised from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000.

RBI has been taking many pro active reforms for the banking sector of India. RBI is not only ensuring strict compliance with various laws, regulations and norms but is also prescribing various policies and strategies for effective and secure banking in India. Further, deviant behaviour of banks is also punished by RBI from time to time. It seems RBI needs to be stricter regarding implementation of its policies and recommendations.

Greater India US Cyber Security Cooperation Anticipated

India and United States (US) are entering into many bilateral agreements regarding issues like homeland security, cyber security, clean energy and so on. US has also recently released its international strategy for cyberspace.

These initiatives would definitely improve the cyberspace cooperation between India and US. However, bilateral agreements can have limited effect on cyberspace. Till now we have no uniformly acceptable treaty or convention on cyber crimes and cyber security.

There are many international organisations and institutions that are dealing with information and communication technology (ICT) in one form or other. However, none of these international organisations are dealing with cyber crimes at the global level. Thus, the establishment of a harmonised international standard for cyberspace is still missing and is the need of the hour.

Meanwhile, Christopher Painter, the State Department Co-coordinator for Cyber Issues, has said that there would be many more meetings with India on cyber security aspect. India and US are deliberating as to how to exchange information, cooperate in securing networks, fight cyber crimes and both countries are working in this direction.

Painter further said the International Strategy for Cyberspace released early this week for the first time pulls together all the different strands of our policies in cyberspace from Internet freedom issues to Internet governance issues, to security issues, to military issues, to cyber crime issues, to economic issues, and puts them really all in one framework for the first time.

However, irrespective what US and India say, global cooperation and collaboration is the first and foremost requirements to have a better cyberspace. At the same time there is no doubt that if India and US work together in this direction, this may be the beginning of creating a global consensus. This dialogue is a good step in the right direction.

Natgrid Project Of India Is Still In Troubled Waters

National intelligence grid (Natgrid) project of India is in trouble from the very beginning. With absolute secrecy and no regard for the civil liberties of Indians, this was definitely a controversial project. Home Minister of India P Chidambaram also did not bother to do the needful. Instead he tried his level best to get Natgrid project of India cleared from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of India.

However, it seems CCS does not agree with the idea and implementation mechanism of Natgrid project. Lack of privacy safeguards has stalled Natgrid project for the time being and Home Ministry is trying hard to get it functional. Even the term of Raghu Raman, project coordinator of Natgrid, is expiring no 31st May, 2011. Till now there are no positive developments and signs that CCS would approve Natgrid project of Home Ministry. CCS may consider the feasibility of Natgrid project next month.

Meanwhile, a 900 page Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been sent to the CCS members to study the feasibility, implications and requirements of Natgrid project. The DPR claims that Natgrid project would be finally and fully put in place in four phases extending between 24 to 36 months. Extension of the term of Raghu Raman may also be considered.

Many experts in India have been questioning the way Natgrid project has been ignoring civil liberties in India. Further, experts have also been demanding that a balance must be maintained between civil liberties and national security requirements. Although the Natgrid project has been granted in principle clearance yet it failed to satisfy the CCS regarding the civil liberty protection requirements.

Another factor that is going against the Natgrid project is that intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies of India are practically governed by no law. There is no Parliamentary oversight over these agencies. Even Natgrid project is also not supported b by any legal framework. To make the matter worst we have no privacy, data security and data protection laws in India. Even the cyber law of India has conferred unregulated and unreasonable e-surveillance, Internet censorship and website blocking powers in the hands of Indian government and its agencies.

These are very serious constitutional issues that cannot be taken lightly by Home Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and CCS. The CCS must consider the inputs and suggestions of various techno legal experts of India before clearing Natgrid project.

Indo-U.S. Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre

India and United States are planning to open an Indo US joint clean energy research and development centre. To meet this objective a joint $50 million fund has been allocated to promote research in clean energy technologies. This is an important step as in the past there have been difference between these two countries over the issues like climate change and green technologies.

U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said that this is the first collaborative research effort of its kind, where Indian and U.S. researchers will be jointly selected. The fund would be utilised by a consortia with the knowledge and experience to undertake various collaborative research programs in this regard. This exercise would also sort out the difference between India and US that are proving to be biggest hurdles for achieving an international agreement on curbing global warming.

Under existing rules, only rich countries have to meet binding emissions targets and report actions regularly. But developed nations led by the United States, which never ratified Kyoto, want emerging economies such as China and India to take on a greater share of climate actions. Developing nations now emit more than half of greenhouse gas emissions and that portion is growing quickly. China has already passed the United States as the world’s top carbon polluter.

Emerging nations say they will accept international consultation and analysis (ICA) of their emissions actions, but not anything equal to the standards expected of rich economies. They blame the rich for much of the greenhouse pollution pumped into the atmosphere over the past two centuries.

A huge gap also exists between rich countries reluctant to pay the fiscal and lifestyle costs of deep cuts in their emissions, and developing states which say they must be allowed to increase emissions so their economies can catch up.

Along with this collaboration India must also strengthen its own pollution laws. Polluter pays liabilities must be enhanced and special efforts must be undertaken in the direction of ensuring sustainable development.

Canada Is The New Preferred Place For Cyber Criminals

Cyber criminals are in continuous search for safe heavens that allow them to indulge in cyber crime activities. These safe heavens are places having a weak cyber law like India or places well known for their cyber crime free image like Canada.

Digital Journal reports that cyber criminals are on the move again, and Canada is the preferred safe heaven for these cyber criminals. The internet protocol (IP) addresses of countries like China and Eastern Europe are highly scrutinised and undergoing intense evaluation. The crackers reacted to this evaluation exercise by moving their networks to countries like Canada that have cleaner cyber reputations.

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of many loopholes that make cyberspace a highly insecure place. While many countries have no cyber law at all, some countries like India have a weak and ineffective cyber law.

For instance, the information technology act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole cyber law of India. It has been amended by the information technology amendment act, 2008 (IT Act 2008) that made almost all the cyber crimes in India bailable. Obviously, now there is no deterrent for cyber criminals as they can commit many cyber crimes and go free even if they are caught. Thus, India is going to be one of the most famous safe heavens for cyber criminals.

Another reason for growing shifting of cyber criminals from one jurisdiction to another is lack of international harmonisation and cooperation in this regard. Till now we have no uniform and internationally acceptable cyber crime treaty. This makes the task of cyber criminals easier.

Canada has to take this shift of cyber criminals seriously. Cyber crimes have an adverse effect upon the socio economic conditions of any nation and this shift would bring its own losses to Canada in the long run. The sooner this nuisance is tackled by Canada the better it would be for it.

Microsoft And Symantec Eyes Upon Cyber Security Market Of India

First it was Microsoft that supported a public-private partnership (PPP)-based model to generate awareness among people in India about cyber attacks. Now it is the turn of Symantec to show its presence in India. Symantec has recently announced opening of its cyber security centre in the Chennai state of India.

This shows that Indian cyber security market is up for a grab. It is not the case that India has no such centers in the past. In fact, Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) manages the exclusive techno legal cyber security research, development and training centre of India (CSRTCI).

With global players like Microsoft and Symantec exploring the Indian cyber security market, it is safe to assume that Indian homeland security market is going to witness a boom. This is also the reason that India and US are about to discuss the homeland security dialogue between these two countries.

While none can doubt about the utility of homeland security in India yet we must also develop an open source policy of India to strengthen Indian cyber security infrastructure. India should not spend huge amount of money on proprietary hardware and software when alternative and viable solutions are available free of cost.

At the same time India must concentrate upon strengthening its homeland security by encouraging indigenously built hardware and software. With sufficient incentives to local manufacturers, India can develop its own operating systems, anti virus software, cyber security software and hardware.