Government Looking To Revamp IT Act: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)

Government Looking To Revamp IT Act: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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The government is looking at revamping the 20-year old Information Technology Act to keep pace with the advancement in tech, and bring in a stronger framework around issues like cybercrime, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

"A thinking is going on in the department to revisit the IT Act. It has been 20 years of the IT Act and the IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition. New technology has become very pronounced, the whole ecosystem of consumers has changed vastly. And so have the challenges," Prasad told reporters here.

He added that the new Act will also factor in issues like Supreme Court's judgement on privacy and protection.

The minister said a team will be put in place that will take inputs from experts and the industry.

Prasad said the number of people accessing technology has burgeoned over the years, and services and finances are being delivered digitally now.

"The biggest challenge is the number of consumers we have to handle, the use of technology, tech is at the centre of digital payments, digital delivery of services, GST, UPI. Now this also raises the question of misuse. The vastness of these platforms was not even contemplated when the IT Act came into being," he said.

He added that cyber issues have not been adequately responded to in the present IT Act, and he would like to include a complete chapter on cyber issues in the new proposal.

Also read: Personal Data Protection Bill: Will It Lock Out Competition To Big Tech?

The minister also held a meeting with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who is on a three-day visit to India.

"We had a very good meeting, it was a courtesy meeting. I wish to thank his observations for Digital India, in particular digital inclusion...We also discussed whole range of issues around IT," he said after the meeting that lasted for about 20 minutes.

Prasad said he suggested that Microsoft should consider adopting some digital villages of the 1 lakh that the government has proposed to set up and mentor them to make them beacons.

Also read: Satya Nadella Finds Indian Entrepreneurs’ Ideas Exciting

"I am happy that he has readily responded," he noted.

The minister also pointed out that the issue of data sovereignty was discussed at the meeting.

In the past too, Prasad has maintained that India will never compromise its data sovereignty, and will not allow for digital platforms to be misused.

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