Ethics issues in information technology aren’t new to IT professionals, but new laws could affect the industry more significantly. The New York Times recently published an article covering a controversial Internet law in India, a major hub of information technology. Legal conditions could affect information technology worldwide.
The article claims that Section 66A of the Information Technology Act “makes it a crime to digitally send ‘any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character.’” While this seems to be a means of defense against slander and harmful speech, an ever-increasing use of the Internet has presented problems with the law.
The law has resulted in arguably unnecessary enforcement, including the arrest of two women over a Facebook post regarding the shutdown of Mumbai after a politician’s death. The post simply read, “‘With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on.’” Many think these words are not extreme enough to warrant an arrest, but the law does not offer specific information that would have prevented the arrest.*
While this specific law only affects India, many technology professionals experience similar controversies. Even private emails can be considered harmful, so it’s important to protect confidentiality and public image through information technology resources. Data management and networking skills are essential to doing this professionally. Information technology professionals must be aware of laws that affect the companies for which they work, especially if they do international business.
*Mandhana, Niharika (November 2012). “Conceived in Haste, India’s Internet Law Now Targeted for Change.” The New York Times. Retrieved from http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/conceived-in-haste-indias-internet-law-now-targeted-for-change/