What comes in your mind when you see or hear the word Technology? Something that is related to science and works on electricity? Yes and No. The word technology comes from two Greek words, “Techne” and “logos”. Techne means Art, Skill or a method, or way a thing is gained. Logos means Word the utterance by which inward thought is expressed, a saying, or an expression. So, literally, technology means words or discourse about the way things are gained. Though now technology is defined in a narrower and different way. Technology is basically the use of scientific knowledge for practical applications which does not always require electricity. It can be anything from inventing wheels to inventing computers. Basically, technology uses a specific kind of equipment that can be very simple or extremely complex. In This article we will be talking about some aspects of the Technology with the laws governing technology in India and its impact on our daily lives.
Nowadays everyone is connected to technology and Information technology has become a new methodology of using internet to store, retrieve, transmit data or information, often used in business transactions. Recent advancements in technology like Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Edge Computing, 5G and many more makes one wonder that what we are capable of creating. It is really fascinating to think where the technology has reached and growing in a fast pace. From waking up to sleeping at night, we are in a constant connection with technology. In recent times, Technology is on a boom and this advancement has really eased out every humanized action. With the emerging application of technology in our daily lives have given rise to the need of governing them and that’s where technology laws come into action. The rise of technologies has been proved beneficial for any business, entrepreneur, and basically anyone who wants to send a message to someone anywhere in the world. Now you can just store anything online, pay online, buy online, sell online, interact online, connect to others and do many more things all thanks to technology. Some of the developments like E-classroom, virtual meeting and many more played an important role during covid as it helped to bridge the gap and helped people to work and learn. But the thing is that this also creates new sets or problems as everything has its Pros and Cons, even technology has its own set. With everything being digitalized using technology, our information is floating in the digital space which makes us vulnerable to hackers, stalkers. Though there are many pros, there are cons too like cyber fraud, hacking like phishing, brute force etc. One more interesting development in technology that is exceptional is E-Governance. Though there are still some of the issues in that area too but it is really advantageous as it improves government’s efficiency and also brings the transparency, interaction between the Government and the Citizens. Basically, Technology law is the future.
Information Technology in India
The Information Technology sector is the fastest growing sector in India in modern era. Over the years this sector witnessed a huge number of investments along with huge amount of contribution to the economy of the country. As it is growing in such a fast pace, it also creates opportunities that contribute to increasing number of employments in the country.
Laws Relating to Technology in India
The Primary Legislation That Governs all the digital Technology in India is Information Technology Act, 2000. It was further amended by the Information Technology bill, 2008 that would strengthen the law to prevent data interception and prevent cyber- crimes. There are other laws like the Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Indian Evidence, 1872, The Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 e-records maintenance policy by banks.
- Indian Penal Code:
Sections under IPC that dealt with documents and records were traditionally based on paper or physical records and documents. The IT act amended these sections and extended the scope of such sections to include electronic records and documents.
- Indian Evidence Act, 1872
As the IT Act gave legal recognition to all the electronic records and documents, it was required that evidence in a similar form should also be backed up by proper legal recognition. Terms like “electronic record”, digital signature, secure electronic record, etc. were inserted by the amendment.
- Bankers’ Books Evidence (BBE) Act, 1981
Prior to such an amendment, if any evidence from the bank had to be produced in a court, it required producing the original ledger or other registers for verification at some stage with the copy retained in the court records as exhibits. But after this legislation was amended, it made any printout taken from a computer, or tape, or floppy, or any other electronic device admissible as evidence provided that a certificate along with such evidence was produced that would testify the authenticity of the evidence and further notify that such evidence was produced from an electronic device which can ensure data integrity.
- Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
A clause was inserted into Section 58(2). The clause regulated the transfer of money between banks through electronic mechanisms like Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) to legally back up such modes of money transfer and provide legal admissibility to the documents and records therein.
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002
Money laundering involves disguising financial assets so they can be used without detection of the illegal activity that produced them. Through money laundering, the criminal transforms the monetary proceeds derived from criminal activity into funds with an apparently legal source. Such transformation is done by making various online bank transactions to transfer money so that the real source of the money gets hidden within such transactions. The PMLA requires the banks to report the accounts which make deposits more than 10 lakhs in a month so as to monitor subsequent transactions involving such money. This act thus empowers the authorities to use technology and online data sharing to monitor such transactions.
- E-Records Maintenance Policy of Banks
Before the introduction of ITA and the recognition of electronic records, banks used to follow the conventional way of maintaining all sorts of records, vouchers, registers, ledgers, documents, letters, etc. This required them to have a record maintenance policy that is approved by the RBI and its individual board. This policy stipulated the period of maintaining and preserving all sorts of above-mentioned records. With the introduction of ITA and recognition given to electronic records, banks are now required to mandatorily maintain a proper computerized system of all electronic records.
The thing is these legislations do not deal with technology-related laws in a wholesome manner but they do cover some important aspects under the subject matter of the legislation. The laws relating to Technology is not sufficient to safeguard the people against the cyber-crimes as these laws came into action long back and since then it has not been amended as per the speed that the technology is growing in. Even crypto currencies, NFT’s, blockchain, cloud computing, online working are gaining immense popularity over the year and proper legislations to regulate them is important due to it being highly vulnerable to cyber-crimes. There is a need to update the existing laws As we only have the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the single law to regulate technology-based offences in India, our legislators need to give serious attention to the regulation of emerging technologies as the future is all about the technology. It’s basically a learning stage for the world due to the instant upsurge in the development of technology, the world is still immature in handling these advancements.