Saturday, March 30, 2013

E-Commerce Websites In India Are Engaging In Punishable Soft Porn Publication

India has strict anti pornography laws but they are flouted very often. Ironically, they are flouted by none other than the media websites and e-commerce platforms. Not very late we have reported that media is promoting soft porn in India.

Now it has come to our notice through media reports that e-commerce websites, especially those selling cloths and dresses, are engaging in activities that are clearly violating the cyber law of India and e-commerce laws and regulations of India.

The cyber law of India clearly prohibits such display of soft porn in India yet till now we have not witnessed any compliant or court case against such platforms. This does not mean that they cannot be booked at a subsequent date.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of Asia, a single such episode can attract Civil and Criminal Liabilities on the part of those involved in the making, uploading, publication and circulation of the same in paper and electronic form.

The Cyber Law of India prescribes stringent Due Diligence Requirements that paper based and electronic publishers must follow. If they do not follow Cyber Due Diligence, they can be Criminally Prosecuted by the Government, opines Praveen Dalal.

There are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India. As on date, the e-commerce websites are not following such techno legal requirements.

Even worst is the situation when it comes to e-commerce websites selling medicines in India. Online pharmacies in India are violating Indian laws and till now no action has been taken against those playing with the lives of Indians. Online sales of prescribed medicines in India require techno legal compliances that these e-commerce websites are not following.

It is high time for Indian government in general and law enforcement agencies in particular to crack the whip upon those violating laws of India for commercial gains.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is The Tallinn Manual On The International Law Applicable To International Cyber Warfare Attacks And Defence?

In this Guest Column, Praveen Dalal, managing partner of ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of Asia, has shared his views as to why the Tallinn Manual on the international cyber warfare is not applicable and binding in the sphere of international cyber warfare activities.

He has also termed the manual as highly risky and pre mature and recommends for a harmonised international framework for cyber warfare. The question that all countries must ask “Is the Tallinn Manual on The International Law Applicable to International Cyber Warfare Attacks and Defence”? The answer seems to be in negative.

In a Significant and much appreciated effort on the part of NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE), a manual titled the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare has been released.

The effort is Significant as it is the first Coordinated and Collaborative effort in the direction of tackling the menaced of Cyber Warfare at the International Level. However, this effort of NATO is also “Highly Risky” and “Pre Mature” as “International Consensus” is not an essential part of this effort.

There is no second opinion that we need International Regulations against Cyber Warfare as Cyber Warfare against India is also a big nuisance. The problem in achieving this “Laudable Objective” is that we have no International Cyber Law Treaty and International Cyber Security Treaty.

Even NATO is aware of these “Limitations” and this is the reason why the Tallinn Manual is not an Official Document, but instead an Expression of Opinions of a Group of Independent Experts acting solely in their Personal Capacity. It does not even represent the views of the Centre, its Sponsoring Nations, or NATO.  It is also not meant to reflect NATO Doctrine.  Nor does it reflect the position of any Organisation or State represented by Observers. 

Obviously, we should consider the Manual as nothing more than personal Opinions of few Individuals and should not base our Acts or Omissions on the basis of this Manual. Before forming our Judgement on the basis of this Manual we must ask few questions. These are:

(1) How NATO or those related to this Manual would "Enforce" it?

(2) Why should it be considered to be "Binding and Enforceable" at the International level?

(3) What if People, Institutions and States "Defy" this Manual?

There are Thousands of such Questions and “Jurisdictional Issues” that need to be answered and resolved before we consider a Manual like this to be even "Considered" much less "Adopted".

In my personal opinion, this Manual is "Premature" and "Undesirable" at this stage when we have no "Universally Acceptable" Cyber Law and Cyber Security Norms. Jumping at the Apex without sorting out the controversial issues existing at the Ground Level is a bad idea and NATO has exactly done so.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are HDFC And Other Banks Inadvertently Destroying Evidence?

Banking related frauds are on rise in India. The intensity and number of such banking related crimes has also increased a lot. This is an alarming situation where our regulatory authorities must take immediate and stringent against the culprits.

For instance, ATM frauds, Internet banking frauds, online banking frauds, RTGS frauds, money laundering offences, etc are on in India. In short, banking frauds in India have increased and it is high time for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take serious note of these criminal activities that are duping Indian exchequer and bank customers of millions of cash.

RBI has in the past imposed penalties upon many banks for failure to comply with various laws and regulations. RBI is also investigating the cyber fraud happened at YES Bank. Media reports have mentioned that ICICI, HDFC and Axis banks were alleged to be indulging in money laundering and benami transactions.

Keeping in mind the seriousness of the issue, the finance ministry and RBI are investigating money laundering accusations against ICICI, HDFC and Axis bank. Meanwhile the accused banks have also started their own investigations and departmental proceedings. Many employees have been suspended till the report of departmental enquiry would be out.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of Asia, HDFC and other Banks must follow Sound E-Discovery and Cyber Forensics Procedure to avoid Legal Liability. While engaging in Private Investigations, Banks must keep in mind that “Crucial Evidence” is not tampered with or destroyed, opines Dalal.

The finance ministry and RBI must keep this crucial aspect in mind as well as without sufficient evidence the guilt of the accused cannot be established.