In the New Media age,privacy has become a fiercely discussed and debated topic. In India, we observethat with the ongoing Aadhaar case in the Supreme Court, a new commondiscussion has started around the issue of digital privacy, and where the lawcurrently stands on this subject.The debate on privacy and data protectionhas become a pressing issue as the constitutional bench of nine judges, headedby the Chief Justice of India, is set to decide whether the right to privacy isa fundamental right and a committee headed by former Justice B N Srikrishna hasbeen formed to suggest a draft Bill on data protection. It must be noted that itis this series of important events that may contribute to India’s focus on dataprotection and the Data (Privacy and Protection) Bill, 2017. WHAT IS DATAPRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION?A privilege to ensureone’s information on online stages constitutes information security. Suchinformation could either be about an individual, undertaking or even agovernment.
Following the definition of personal data laid down by the EuropeanUnion’s data protection guidelines, “information concerning an identified andidentifiable natural person” covers the scope of personal data. Hence, if wefollow this definition, the personal information provided by individuals duringbiometrics would be included. But data put out through biometrics or foreconomic purposes remains at risk in India since no legislation has been chalkedout to protect such personal data. WHEREIT ALL STARTED?Recently, in the Lok Sabha, Member ofParliament Baijayant “Jay” Panda tabled the Data (Privacy and Protection) Bill,2017, proposing the right to privacy as a fundamental right for Indian citizens.
This is not the first time a Bill proposingsuch a right has been laid down in Parliament. As a matter of fact, Pandahimself had presented a Bill dating back to 2009, titled ‘The Prevention ofUnsolicited Telephonic Calls and Protection of Privacy Bill’, which aimed atprohibiting unsolicited telephone calls by business promoters or individuals topersons who didn’t want to receive such calls. It stated that every personshall have the right to privacy and freedom to lead and enjoy his life withoutany unwarranted infringement.
Apart from Panda, Rajeev Chandrasekhar (2010),Vivek Gupta (2016) and Om Prakash Yadav (2016) have in the past introducedBills pertaining to citizen data privacy. INSIMPLE TERMS, WHAT IS THE DATA (PRIVACY AND PROTECTION BILL 2017) & WHATDOES IT INCLUDE?Data protection is a daily part of ourlives. We come across data protection issues at work, when browsing theinternet, while dealing with public authorities, when we shop, when we bookonline tickets, etc.As digitisation increases more and more data is being captured .How this datais used and held is becoming increasingly important.
The Data(Privacy and Protection Bill, 2017) 1. has proposed Right to Privacy asFundamental Right of citizens.2. follows a right based approach and demands the consent of individual forcollection and processing of personal data3.
gives final right to modify or remove personal data from any database, whetherPrivate or Personal solely to an individual4. includes Data collectors and Data processors (Defined) who ensure that theycollect, process data in a lawful and transparent manner 5. creates obligation on data intermediaries to implement security measures toensure security of data collected 6.
lays that in case of Data breach, Data intermediaries are mandated to informindividuals in a fixed time7. promotes creation of an end user-facing position of data protection officerfor grievance redressal, with a provision for appeal to the Data Privacy andProtection Authority (DPPA)8. lawful interception and surveillance by the state for purpose of NationalSecurity9. authorises DPPA to penalize, imprison and order compensation for lossessuffered by private individuals against the Govt. or any other privateinstitutions10. may also engage in impact assessment, consultation and inspection by the DPPA RECENTDEVELOPMENTSThe Ministry of Electronics and InformationTechnology released a white paper by a “committee of experts” appointed led byformer Supreme Court judge, Justice B.
N. Srikrishna, on a data protectionframework for India.The government has sought public commentstill 31 December, 2017 on the white paper, which is aimed at securing digitaltransactions and addressing customer and privacy protection issues.Public discourse around data privacy isprobably at its zenith in India today. As digitization increases, large volumeof data is generated and there are no measures that safeguard privacy of thisdata, nor regulate data retention by platforms collecting it. Hence, we are inneed of a strong data protection law.