India promises tougher cyber-crime laws

By agencies   |   Thursday, 30 June 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India, rattled by a scandal involving the alleged sale of personal data of British bank customers by a call center worker, said it planned to toughen existing laws dealing with cyber-crime.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office said New Delhi favored changes in laws to make illegal data transfer a punishable offence but said "occasional misguided acts of individuals should not be allowed to damage the reputation of all professionals".

"Singh reviewed the steps taken by the government and the industry to deal with the challenge of cyber-crime and to ensure data secrecy," news agency PTI quoted the prime minister's spokesman Sanjay Baru as saying.

The reaction came less than a week after an Indian call center sacked a junior employee who allegedly sold sensitive details of 1,000 British bank customers to an undercover British reporter.

Baru said the premier, during a meeting with officials, had urged his Information Technology Department and the industry association NASSCOM to consult all stake holders for suggestions to deal with such crimes.

"And, if necessary, to ensure that any breach of secrecy, illegal transfer of commercial and other privileged information and any other form of cyber-crime is made a punishable offence," the spokesman said.

Baru said New Delhi was determined to weed out corruption from the call centre industry, which employs 400,000 personnel across India.

"Indian professionals have built for themselves an enviable global reputation through hard work, dedication and commitment and the occasional misguided acts of some individuals should not be allowed to damage the high reputation of all professionals" he said.

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