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By: Julia Guzman


TABLE OF CONTENT

1. Power grid failure features in US lawmakers' cyber law debate. 2. Facebook post: Netizens flay Mumbai girls' arrest. 3. New cyber law casts its net wide. 4. New cyber law casts its net wide. 5. crossword. 6. trivia. 7. Back cover


POWER GRID FAILURE FEATURES IN US LAWMAKERS' CYBER LAW DEBATE WASHINGTON: The US needs to learn lessons from the massive blackouts in India, top US lawmakers have said, pushing for the passage of a law on cyber security even though the Indian power crisis is not the result of any cyber-attack. "All one needs to do is look at what is going on in India today. There are no cyber problems there that I am aware of, but one-half of the country of India is without electricity today," Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, said. "Transportation has been shut down, financial networks in India, which are significant, are down, and it is a chaotic place. There are 600 million people in India who are without electricity," Reid said. "As we have been told time and time again, the most important issue we have facing this country today for security is cyber," Reid said on the Senate floor yesterday urging his Senate colleagues to pass the White House-backed cyber security bill. "We have been told that by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and by the head of the CIA. We have been told that by Democrats and Republicans. It is an issue that is important, and we have been told it is something we can prevent," he said. "If we don't do this bill, it is not a question of if there will be a cyber attack that will be devastating to our country, it is only a question of when. It can be stopped," he added. India this week experienced one of its worst power failures with major electricity grids collapsing twice.

Senator Joe Lieberman too referred to the Indian power crisis during his debate on the cyber security bill. "....I think it may help to look at something very difficult to look at, which is what is happening in India today where the power system has collapsed for hundreds of millions of people," he said. "That is a breakdown, as far as we know, and I believe that is what is the fact, that is a breakdown in parts of the electric grid," Lieberman said. "What would happen to our country if those systems were knocked out or what would happen if Wall Street and the stock exchanges were knocked out?" the Senator said. "Think about the real nightmare situation, which is that a dam controlled by a cyber system is penetrated by an enemy who opens the dam and unleashes water, and torrents of water knock out communities in the path of that water and kill a lot of people," Lieberman said.


FACEBOOK POST: NETIZENS FLAY MUMBAI GIRLS' ARREST

NEW DELHI: The arrest of two girls over their Facebook post on shutdown in Mumbai for Bal Thackeray's funeral today again opened a can of worms with netizens calling the move a "social media hijack by the powerful and the fundamentalists". Social media was abuzz with tweets and posts about the arrest, with most referring to the arrest as yet another move to curb freedom of speech on the Internet. Noted journalist Gautam Chikermane tweeted "First Pondicherry businessman, now 21 year old Palghar girl. Next: all of us. Social media hijack by the powerful and the fundamentalists". Minister of State (Communications and IT) Milind Deora tweeted: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize ~ Voltaire". Communication specialist Alyque Padamsee expressed shock at the arrest and the vandalism at the clinic of one of the girl's uncle.

"I want to know how these girls have broken the law when all they said is that why should Mumbai come to a standstill. There is nothing derogatory against Thackeray. I do not see anything illegal in that," he said. Padamsee further said the Constitution provides everyone free speech and that "no one should be arrested on such flimsy grounds". Pavan Duggal, Cyber law Expert and an advocate with Supreme Court also voiced similar views. "This is high time for the government for the review of the law. The government should amend the IT Act so as to narrow down its provisions as some of the these violate our constitutional right of free speech."


NEW CYBER LAW CASTS ITS NET WIDE

MUMBAI: The country's cyber law has finally caught up with cyber criminals. Eight months after it received presidential assent, the amended Information Technology Act of 2008 came into force on October 27.

Known as The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, it harmonises various e-services, strengthens laws on cyber terrorism, recognises phishing as a crime, and for the first time, identifies child porn as a separate offence.

The amended Act has spread its net to tackle more offences, including cyber terrorism, Wi-Fi hacking, sending and viewing child pornography, video voyeurism, identity theft and even spam. But at the same time, it allows the government to intercept information and snoop on its citizens.

With the virtual world shrinking, protection of data security and privacy assumed importance, as did protection of critical information infrastructure for national security. These areas were vulnerable under the old Act, said experts.

The original Act had effectively just one criminal Section 66 for cyber crime and it was widely worded, but vague. The new Act covers a range of crimes that attracts punishment from a three-year jail term to a life sentence. Section 66F is the cyber terrorism and life sentence section. It applies in cases where wi-fi is misused to send terror mail. Any electronic activity that goes against the nation falls under this section. Online child pornography or child abuse is a strict no-no under Section 67B, and would attract a prison term of five years for the first offence. Data theft is a criminal offence as well, and cyber law experts say punishing it would increase India's standing across the globe. The IT Act of 2000, the first big step to regulate cyber transactions, e commerce and prevent computerbased crimes, was modified after much delay in December 2008, and received Presidential go-ahead in February 2009.

Critics say the flip side is that it gives unfettered power to the government to monitor all e-traffic. The information could be misused, say cyber activists. The central government, though, says safeguards have been put in place to check misuse. Welcoming the Act, cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said it was long overdue. "Now, many people who earlier shied away from going to court or the police will feel emboldened to file cases or complain.'' The other crimes under the Act include sending offensive emails and multimedia messages, publishing sexually explicit material, breach of confidentiality and leakage of data by intermediary, e-commerce frauds such as cheating by personation, commonly known as phishing, and frauds on online auction sites.


NEW CYBER LAW CASTS ITS NET WIDE

MUMBAI: The country's cyber law has finally caught up with cyber criminals. Eight months after it received presidential assent, the amended Information Technology Act of 2008 came into force on October 27.

The IT Act of 2000, the first big step to regulate cyber transactions, ecommerce and prevent computerbased crimes, was modified after much delay in December 2008, and received Presidential go-ahead in February 2009. Known as The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, it harmonises various e-services, strengthens laws on cyber terrorism, recognises phishing as a crime, and for the first time, identifies child porn as a separate offence.

The amended Act has spread its net to tackle more offences, including cyber terrorism, Wi-Fi hacking, sending and viewing child pornography, video voyeurism, identity theft and even spam. But at the same time, it allows the government to intercept information and snoop on its citizens.

With the virtual world shrinking, protection of data security and privacy assumed importance, as did protection of critical information infrastructure for national security. These areas were vulnerable under the old Act, said experts.

The original Act had effectively just one criminal Section 66 for cyber crime and it was widely worded, but vague. The new Act covers a range of crimes that attracts punishment from a threeyear jail term to a life sentence.

Critics say the flip side is that it gives unfettered power to the government to monitor all e-traffic. The information could be misused, say cyber activists. The central government, though, says safeguards have been put in place to check misuse.

Section 66F is the cyber terrorism and life sentence section. It applies in cases where wi-fi is misused to send terror mail. Any electronic activity that goes against the nation falls under this section. Online child pornography or child abuse is a strict no-no under Section 67B, and would attract a prison term of five years for the first offence. Data theft is a criminal offence as well, and cyber law experts say punishing it would increase India's standing across the globe.

Welcoming the Act, cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said it was long overdue. "Now, many people who earlier shied away from going to court or the police will feel emboldened to file cases or complain.'' The other crimes under the Act include sending offensive emails and multimedia messages, publishing sexually explicit material, breach of confidentiality and leakage of data by intermediary, e-commerce frauds such as cheating by personation, commonly known as phishing, and frauds on online auction sites.


TRIVIA



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