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Kapil Sibal flags jurisdiction issue in cyber security laws

Indian authorities should have the jurisdiction to deal with cyberattacks against the country irrespective of their source, Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said here, asserting that there should be "accountability and responsibility" in the cyber space.

"If there is a cyber space violation and the subject matter is India because it impacts India, then India should have jurisdiction. For example, if I have an embassy in New York, then anything that happens in that embassy is Indian territory and there applies Indian Law.

"If the impact of such a violation is on India, then Indian courts must have the jurisdiction. That should apply across the world," he said.

The Minister was addressing an Observer Research Foundation seminar on cyber security and was asked what kind of consensus he would want to evolve at the global stage on cyber security.

Asked if India has taken up the case with the US, where the National Security Agency was accused of spying on Indian and other missions there, Sibal said, "Do not trivialise the issue. This is a thought for the seminar so that this can be taken forward."

Asked about the issue, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said, "It is not a settled issue in international laws. That is why you need an agreement and consensus on it."

Sibal said a key issue in cyber security was that of "identity" .

"The issue of identity in cyber space is of enormous importance. There must be accountability and responsibility in the cyber space," he said.

The Minister said there was asymmetry at the global level on the cyber security laws. "As long as there is asymmetry, this cannot be dealt with," he said.

Sibal said the government believed in "complete freedom of cyber space. Freedom of expression is central to our ideological stand on cyber space but at the same time, there should be a de facto recognition of threats that are there in cyber space."

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