The Hidden Risks Of India’s Draft Privacy Bill

Under the new draft law, the government would be authorized to exempt its agencies from the law’s privacy provisions in the name of national security, for the maintenance of public order, and for other reasons. Further, the draft also contains a bizarre feature from the Chinese model of data protect, that states that individuals are presumed to have given consent to use their data “for the performance of any function under any law”.

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The Hidden Risks Of India’s Draft Privacy Bill

The draft for fourth re-iteration of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill that was recently
released for public consultation aims to solve problems that evolved with the advent of internet. However, this bill is envisaged to bring hidden risks for US.

The Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrashekar spoke about the re-iteration of the bill at the CII Global Economic Policy Summit 2022. The new draft is light on regulation, safeguards consumer rights and catalyses innovation, removes a criminal liability and also caps monetary fines. The bill is said to be drawing comparsions to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which sets a high bar for the collection and use of personal information. The GDPR, imposed since 2018, is the data protection policy in EU. Ever since its enaction it has been criticized wideldy for being excessively stringent, and imposing many obligations on organisations processing data but has emerged as a template for countries globally who determine to form robuust data protection policies.

Also Read: Private: IAFI and TEMA calls for simplification of the Draft Telecom Bill

Under the new draft law, the government would be authorized to exempt its agencies from the law’s privacy provisions in the name of national security, for the maintenance of public order, and for other reasons. Further, the draft also contains a bizarre feature from the Chinese model of data protect, that states that individuals are presumed to have given consent to use their data “for the performance of any function under any law”. Additionally, the reworked verison incorporates hefty penalties for non-compliance, but which are capped without any link to the turnover of the entity in question. The 2018 revised draft also reposed rules on cross-border data flows that could bring relief to the big tech companies.

There could be two potentially significant red flags according to experts. Number 1: a near blanket exemption for government agencies from complying with some of the more onerous requirements under the Bill, and Number 2 a dilution of the remit of the proposed
Data Protection Board, which is mandated to oversee the provisions of the proposed legislation. If the bill is passed, the US tech giants already under fire in India and overseas would facr reputional and ethical dilemmas. Officials from the MeitY however, claim the draft strikes a balance and has been drafted from its global learning aligned with the SC ruling on data protection.

This larger policy includes a comprehensive digital India Act that would eventually replace the existing IT Act that predates the current internet trends.The bill would deal with issued such as ownership of non-personal data and even data probability.

The original draft bill in 2018, explicitly guarded data processing in the service of national security. Given the nascent stage of the country’s Digital economy, it is clear that the centre doesn’t aim to mimic the clauses laid in GDPR, however it hopes for progess.

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The Hidden Risks Of India’s Draft Privacy Bill
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Under the new draft law, the government would be authorized to exempt its agencies from the law’s privacy provisions in the name of national security, for the maintenance of public order, and for other reasons. Further, the draft also contains a bizarre feature from the Chinese model of data protect, that states that individuals are presumed to have given consent to use their data “for the performance of any function under any law”.
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THE POLICY TIMES