The Joint committee on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 submitted its final report on Thursday with a few recommendations, nearly 2 years after it was constituted.
The report is over 500 pages long and discusses a dozen of recommendations to modify the existing bill, together with more than 150 corrections and improvements.
The key changes and recommendations concluded in the Bill are:
- Dropping the word ‘personal’ from the name of the Personal Data Protection Bill
- The report seeks greater accountability from social media platforms by treating them as publishers, and including both personal and non-personal data in the ambit of the proposed law on data protection
- No social media platform should be permitted to operate in the country unless the parent company sets up an office in India, the panel recommended, according to Deccan Herald.
- The committee also recommended setting up a statutory media regulatory authority to regulate the content on all media platforms, whether they are print, online, or otherwise.
- Further, the panel said that a framework should be created to regulate manufacturers of hardware, who also collect data along with the software.
- Another major recommendation is for the two-year phased introduction so that the data fiduciaries and processors get ample time to accordingly change their policies, infrastructure, and processes
- The panel also asked the government to bring back mirror copies of sensitive and critical data and localize it. It should also develop an indigenous financial system to SWIFT whose “privacy has been compromised widely”.
- It also suggested mechanisms for dealing with children’s data, a single-window system for complaints and penalties, and a 72-hour deadline for suggesting a data breach
- The penalty for violating this condition would be Rs 15 crore, or 4 percent of the violating entity’s total worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year, “whichever is higher”. A penalty of this amount was already present for other violations in the existing bill.
- The committee also recommends that where applicable, companies or any entity processing personal data (referred to as ‘data fiduciary’) be required by regulations to show their “fairness of algorithm or method used for processing of personal data”.
Several MPs had expressed their dissent to the Joint Committee of Parliament on the Personal Data Protection Bill after the panel adopted its draft report in November.
These included Congress MPs Jairam Ramesh, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha, and Gaurav Gogoi, Trinamool Congress legislators Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra, and Biju Janata Dal’s Amar Patnaik
Two key concerns flagged by these members are the wide exemptions given to the government from the provisions of the Bill and inadequacy in ensuring the independence of the proposed authority.
“This report shows that if the chairman is cooperative, the government is accommodative, the opposition is responsive,” said Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill Jairam Ramesh while tabling the report.