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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition; looking to revisit Act: Ravi Shankar Prasad

“New technologies have become very pronounced. The whole ecosystem of consumers has changed vastly. And so have the challenges,” Prasad said, adding that it will factor in the Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy and data protection.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: February 27, 2020 1:42:19 am
IT Act India, India IT Act Ravi Shankar Prasad, Satya Nadella with Ravi Shankar Prasad, indian express news Union Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express photo: Anil Sharma)

The government is looking to revamp the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, to include provisions for dealing strongly with newer issues such as cybercrime, Union Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

The 20-year old Act needs to be revamped to bring it in consonance with newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, Prasad said.

“A thinking process is on to revisit the IT Act. The IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition over the past 20 years when the IT Act was initially made.

“New technologies have become very pronounced. The whole ecosystem of consumers has changed vastly. And so have the challenges,” Prasad said, adding that it will factor in the Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy and data protection.

A team of experts from major information technology companies and governance will soon be formed to be looked into this, Prasad said.

The minister was talking to media persons after a meeting with Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella, who is on a three-day visit to India.

While Prasad refused to provide details about his meeting with Nadella, senior ministry officials said that the two discussed details about the data intermediary guidelines and the new Personal Data Protection Bill proposed to be tabled in Parliament soon.

“We conveyed to them (Microsoft) in very clear terms that we will never compromise on our data sovereignty. They have said that whatever the law is made, we will follow it” a senior official said, adding that Nadella and Prasad also discussed the finer nuances of the Personal Data Protection Bill.

“What he (Nadella) said was when GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came, some European local businesses were affected. So India should come out with a law which benefits local businesses,” the official added.

The Central government’s new rules on intermediary guidelines is also a work in progress, officials said, adding that the Law Ministry was vetting the rules suggested by the IT Ministry.

”We are balancing both so that this innovative platform is not abused by a few and there is no helplessness at the level of intermediary. Accountability has to be there,” the official said.

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