Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw called for a new dynamic legal structure which balances the right to privacy and freedom of expression, and demands for regulations and control to meet challenges posed by unscrupulous elements in cyberspace.

The second national conference on cyber crime investigations and digital forensics organised by the CBI, Vaishnaw said over the years technology has given a lot of productivity, efficiency and convenience but simultaneously it has brought intrusions in the lives of people which can be benign but most of the time it is malignant and aimed to commit a fraudulent act. Such problems can be tackled by legal strategy, technology, organisations, capacity building and mutual cooperation, the minister said. Speaking on legal strategy to counter cyber crimes, the minister said there is a need to overhaul the legal structure in a big way. I don’t think any incremental changes will help. The change has to be substantial, significant, fundamental and structural, he further said.

The whole conflict is between the two constraints the first constraint of right to privacy and free- dom of expression and second conflicting demand of having more regulation and control to prevent fraudulent activities in the garb of right to privacy and freedom of expression, he said

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While one arm of the society says right to privacy and freedom of expression are sacrosanct and no one can be allowed in that sphere, the other section calls for regulations and control and there has to be a balance between two demands that society has to strike, he said.

He said post-Covid and during Covid the world has changed fundamentally and the way of thinking has changed and that balance is now coming in the thought process of societies. Citing cases of countries like South Korea, Australia, the US, the European Union, he said a large number of legal, societal interventions are today happening which are basically trying to bring back the balance between right to privacy on the one side and the need for regulation on the other. We, in India, are also trying to create that societal consensus. It’s happening.

Recently in Parliament multiple times the Opposition, which used to be very vocal about the government trying to intrude into people’s lives, that used to be their basic fundamental accusation, is today asking that, no, we need more regulations. We need more control. We need a legal structure in which people’s privacy as well as peoples’ right to live in a peaceful manner are protected. So that consensus is emerging and that will propel the country towards a new legal structure, he added.

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