`Lack of understanding of IT laws posing challenge`
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 23:37
  
New Delhi: Lack of understanding of the new age laws governing internet by enforcement agencies in the country is posing a big challenge, a prominent Indian entrepreneur said on Tuesday.

Rediff.Com founder Ajit Balakrishnan regretted that lack of understanding among the enforcement officials about such laws was posing a big challenge.

Citing the arrest of two girls in Mumbai for their Facebook post following Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's death, he said they were, in fact, booked under section of the Indian Penal Code and not under the IT Act.

He said this at a seminar here on whether freedom of expression was under threat in the digital age.

According to Bakrishnan, legal system has to keep itself updated on handling internet-related issues properly. "The legal system does not know how to deal with these issues. We also get request from the US on internet issues. As nation states, we must find answer to this. Nobody understands new laws and that is facing challenges," he said.

He also stressed on protecting the interest of information intermediaries saying such concept "is not understood by officials in small towns".

Speaking at the seminar, Ramanjit Chima of Google felt that it was vital to find out whether the "restrictions are lawful or constitutional".

Director of 'free speech debate' in Oxford University Timothy Garton Ash said, "You have to distinguish between norms of principles which should be always applied everywhere in all sense...I would not criminalise hate speech as many European countries do. I would criminalise dangerous speech."

His suggestion came in wake of a collective sense of fear among netizens following the recent arrests of social networking site users for posting controversial content. However, the speakers were unanimous of the view that the debate over internet freedom was global in nature and threat perception was all pervasive.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 23:37


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