Personal Data Protection Bill,2019 (GS-3 CYBER SECURITY, GOVERNMENT POLICIES & LEGISLATION)

  • A draft bill on the protection of personal data of individuals was designed by the Srikrishna committee and was submitted to the Ministry of Electronics and IT in 2018. It also has the provision for the establishment of a Data protection authority.

  • A joint parliamentary committee was set up to scrutinize the personal data protection bill 2019,has recently finalized and adopted, after more than 2 years of deliberations by a majority. Though it awaits to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament. However, with few dissenting notes, the draft bill is seen falling short of parameters in the protection of the right to privacy of individuals against complete misuse by the state, especially with the retention of clause 35.

Significance of Personal Data Protection Bill 2019

  • Commonly referred to as the “Privacy Bill”. The Draft bill on Protection 2019 is a landmark legislation meant to regulate various entities using individuals’ data inside India.

  • Personal Data Bill 2019 Proposed the formation of a Data Protection Authority, which would regulate the use of Users personal data by social media companies and other such organizations within the country.

  • Draft Protection Data bill 2019 is also expected to set data localization norms for companies that retain user data.

 

 Clause 35 and how is it against Right to Privacy

  • Clause 35 is considered as an exemption whereby the government is allowed to keep any of its agencies beyond the purview of law in the name of “Public order”, “Sovereignty”, “Friendly relations with foreign states”, “Security of the state”. The main contention lies in the fact that 2018 Draft bill allowed exemption only in the pretext of the “ Security of the state” which is widely accepted even in the Europe General Data Protection regulation but exemption on account of “Public order” is Susceptible to misuse by the State. Also, selection of the Chairperson and members of the Data protection Authority seems to be in diversion with the Shrikrishna committee recommendation.

  • Further, the 2018 bill also called for a law to provide for “Parliamentary oversight and Judicial approval of non-consensual access to personal data”, which is seen to be lacking in the 2019 draft bill.

  • These unregulated powers given to the state through Clause 35 stands in the way of ensuring article 19 and 21, which has been ensured by the K.S. Puttaswamy judgement 2017 on privacy.

  CONCLUSION

      Given the crucial role played by data  in this new era, there is a need to have a legislative backing and clear and precise rules and regulations, transparency, independent authority and effective redressal mechanism, so that individual rights are not affected. Though the JPC is Functioning in a democratic manner, there is further need to close the loopholes and make the draft bill 2019 in consonance with 2018 bill.

 

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