In the recent times, we are entering in a new world – a world of Digital Data Transfer. We continuously exchange information internationally. Hence, the question that arises in every mind globally revolves around the security of the information which is often compromised.
In view of this global issue, India has come up with its own legislation for safeguarding the privacy of individuals which is recognised as a Fundamental Right by the Supreme Court in Puttaswamy Judgement. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 11,2019. The bill draws its inspiration from the 2018 draft version prepared by Retired Justice B.N. Srikrishna and has its historical roots in General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The bill focuses on the protection of such data which can be used to identify a person like biometrics, financial details, religious and caste beliefs etc. This data is collected by Data Fiduciaries that control how and why data is processed. It is this processing of data that serves as an important profit source for big corporations in advertisements. The bill, therefore, gives rights to the individuals who provide data and obliges the government, companies incorporated in India and foreign companies dealing with the personal data of individuals in India to respect these rights.
The bill is a two-sided sword and has its own pros and cons.
As projected by NITI Ayog, India is headed towards 730 million internet users by 2020. Globally, India ranks among top 10 spam sending countries and among top 5 countries to be affected by cyber crime. Hence, the bill works to check the instances of cyber attacks and the spread of fake news.The bill also entitles the individuals to a large number of rights which make the individuals well aware of the nature and the purpose of the data collected under Section 7. The Section 6 of the bill sets the extent to which data can be collected .
The future questions of the nation will revolve around the data. Therefore, Data Localisation will help in the easy access of data for investigation purpose. This will make the corporations to have complete structural and technical changes.
Even though the bill empowers the individual with certain rights, it has many loopholes. The government is entitled to access the personal data under wide reasons including national security, sovereignty, integrity etc. This may lead the state to intrude in the lives of the citizens defeating the purpose of the bill. The procedure of appointments of the members is also widely contested
Data Localisation suppresses the ‘global’ context of marketplace. So, the new startups which aim at global growth will face losses. Under this bill, the tech-giants like Facebook and Google are asked to allow the users to ‘voluntarily verify’ their accounts in manner that is to be prescribed in the future. These perfectionist policies along with the broad exemptions are criticised widely.
Although, the main purpose of the bill is to protect the privacy of the individuals but the provisions prove contrary to this fact. There is a need to restructure the wider objectives of the bill along with the minute details