The recent directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs asking digital payment and e-commerce companies to beef up their cyber security in the wake of increased digital payments comes as a right step in the right direction.
The directive represents the burning need of the hour and airs the hopes and aspirations of millions of Indians who want to use digital payments, while being reassured that their digital payments are safe from preying eyes and designs of cyber criminals.
At a time, when India does not have a dedicated law on cyber security and when digital payments legal frameworks in India are missing, the Government of India has realized the immense significance of cyber security for e-commerce and m-commerce.
The absence of stipulated and vigorously enforced cyber security norms for digital economy players, has ensured that stakeholders in this sphere have not put the right focus on protecting and preserving the cyber security of their digital networks.
At a time, when cyber crimes in India are growing at a rapid pace, including in the weeks post demonetisation, it is imperative that the relevant service providers put in place adequate and reasonable security practices and procedures to ensure the security and reliability of digital payments.
Given that the Information Technology Act, 2000 does not address the current day challenges, evolving in today’s increasing digital payments scenario, such directives as given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, serve to fill up a vacuum.
However, detailed legal frameworks, specific cyber security guidelines, which mandate the following of specific provisions, providing legal consequences for their non-compliance and the effective implementation of such frameworks are the urgent requirements of the day.
Lot of work needs to be done, not only to make digital payment and e-commerce companies safe and secure, but also to make them accountable towards consumer protection.
(The writer is an advocate, Supreme Court of India, is one of Asia’s leading experts on Cyberlaw & Mobile Law)