Personal Data Protection Bill

Personal data protection bill: Government all set to seek into your personal Life  

The proposed personal data protection bill cleared by the union cabinet recently is drafted to provide autonomy to every citizen on their personal data also states that the Union Government has the power to exempt any government agency from the provisions of the Act to sneak into your personal data.

The bill has not yet been tabled in the Parliament. The bill provision made it mandatory to get consent of individuals before collecting or processing their personal data.

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The bill reads that wherever the Central Government feels that it is necessary in the interest to save the sovereignty and integrity of India,  can access to such data and all or any of the provisions of this Act shall not apply to any agency of the Government in respect of processing of such personal data.

The order will be subject to procedure, safeguards and oversight mechanism by the agency, as may be prescribed.

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The bill also added that certain provisions of the bill will not apply to the government if personal data is processed in the interests of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of any offence, and is necessary for enforcing a legal right. It also added that the Central Government can exempt certain data processors from the application of this Act.

However, the draft bill released last year by the Justice BN Srikrishna committee, had explicitly stated that processing of personal data in the interests of the security of the State shall not be permitted unless it is authorised pursuant to a law, and is in accordance with the procedure established by such law, made by Parliament and is necessary for, and proportionate to, such interests being achieved.

This provision had implied that the government had to adhere to the Supreme Court’s Privacy judgment in 2017, which mandates the government to declare a specific objective for collecting private data, the authority ordering this and what procedure it will follow.

The exemptions may face backlash from privacy activists and citizens in light of the recent Whatsapp snooping controversy allegedly through an Israel security firm that sells spyware to government agencies globally.

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