By Paul McDougall
Oct 16, 2006
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday approved a set of
proposals that would toughen laws designed to combat data theft and
other electronic crimes in India.
The action comes in the wake of a U.K. documentary that aired earlier
this month claiming India's booming outsourcing industry, which hosts
sensitive technology operations for numerous Fortune 500 companies, is
ridden with hackers and identity thieves.
The proposals will be presented to India's full legislature for approval
during the upcoming winter session.
One proposed amendment to India's IT Act of 2000 would make companies
doing business in India responsible for computer crimes committed by
their employees if they're found to have lax security procedures.
Another would increase fines for unauthorized disclosure of personal
data from about $2,000 to about $10,000 for each instance.
Additionally, companies that are found guilty of such disclosures would
be forced to pay victims of identity theft compensatory damages of up to
roughly $220,000. Presently, liability for such crimes is limited to the
individuals who commit them.
Executives representing India's multibillion-dollar technology and
business services outsourcing industry welcomed the move but caution
that it will be up to the country's courts to ensure that the new laws
work to reduce data theft and other electronic crmes.
"The deterrent will come not from the new laws themselves, but when we
start to see indictments and convictions," says Sunil Mehta, VP of the
Indian trade group National Association for Software and Services
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