Digital Data Protection Bill
Current Status– The Parliament must now approve the Digital Data Protection Bill, 2023, which was passed by the Lok Sabha.
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Key Highlights –
- An individual’s personal information, known as the data principal, may only be handled by a person or company, known as the data fiduciary, for a lawful purpose with the data principal’s agreement or “for specified legitimate uses.”
- These “uses” refer to circumstances in which such data may be handled without getting the consent of the data principal, such as by government organisations for the purpose of issuing licences, welfare benefits, permits, and other services.
- If there is a personal data breach, the data fiduciary has a duty to notify the data principal as well as the Data Protection Board (DPB), which the government will set up to decide whether or not the Bill is being followed.
- There are additional duties laid out for the data fiduciary as well, but one problem with the Bill is that it omits the necessity of informing data principals about potential recipients of their data or the length of storage.
- By a variety of exemptions, the state is given the authority to handle data, effectively enabling the government to gather data that may be used for mass surveillance.
The Bill also eliminates purpose limitation, which refers to using the data only for the intended purpose. Formerly, the state had to get authorization from the data principal in order to use the data for purposes of delivering benefits, subsidies, and licences.
It attempts to offer modifications that would essentially repeal the Right to Information Act’s public interest exemption from the requirement that personal information be disclosed, weakening government officials’ accountability and openness.
The regulatory Data Protection Authority, which will only have adjudicatory and not regulatory powers and whose members will be selected by the Union government, is still present in the Bill, albeit in a significantly weaker form than that of the 2018 version.
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