Rational Internet laws essential to fulfil India’s digital goals

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | KRISHNA MAKWANA
Published Aug 14, 2016, 1:25 pm IST
Updated Aug 14, 2016, 2:51 pm IST
India has emerged as a digitally-connected nation but experts suggest the country still lacks pragmatic Internet laws.
According to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India, our country has approximately 400 million Internet users.
 According to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India, our country has approximately 400 million Internet users.

India has emerged as a digitally-connected nation but experts suggest the country still lacks pragmatic Internet laws.

According to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India, our country has approximately 400 million Internet users. Given the fact that we now prevail in the digital age, the government needs to work towards devising an unbiased internet policy for helping budding entrepreneurs and businesses.

Though the government, under its Digital India initiative, has addressed manifold problems over the past year, the ambiguous internet laws in the country have had a drastic effect on businesses and individuals.

Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of Centre for Internet Society, said, “There are three categories of laws which we must consider. One, speech regulation laws –- here we tend to be more repressive in comparison to other mature democracies. Two, intellectual property law which can enable or undermine access to knowledge -– here we are quite progressive and we must thank our policymakers for their foresight. Three, privacy and data protection laws –- these are incomplete, outdated or missing -– this not only undermines the rights of citizens but also weakens our cyber security.”

Defamation and national security can be listed among other issues that have threatened free speech; there have been instances where weak Internet laws led to the defamation of several artists and authors, curbing freedom to expression.

Not only individuals but online businesses have also had to limit their potential, in order adhere to the India’s hazy Internet laws. Among others, countless websites have been blocked by the government over the past few years.

However, with proper regulation in place along with rational vigilance, many of these problems might cease to exist.

It’s essential that these issues are thought about, in-depth. The country needs to build a structure that can deliver innovation, protection and provision of one and all.

“Without improving the three important areas that I pointed out, we cannot be successful at Digital India, Make In India and Start Up India,” Abraham concluded.





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