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Data Privacy Cause of Concern Without Structural Framework

There are other concerns from the industry as well

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Data, Apps, Privacy
As cybersecurity firm Kaspersky explained in a blog, most apps collect some information about the user. Pixabay

The Indian Data Protection bill 2019 which aims to help consumers exercise their privacy rights needs a proper structural framework else personal data of millions of users in the country will be at stake, leading industry experts said on Monday.

As the world observes Data Privacy Day on January 28, experts and leading industry bodies have already demanded clarification in several areas of ambiguity that exists in the draft Bill.

The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, has been referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses. The JPC has been constituted under the chairmanship of New Delhi MP Meenakashi Lekhi for examination and report.

“Although the Indian Data Protection bill aims to play an important role in fabricating regulations for governing the increasingly data-driven landscape, without a structural framework data privacy becomes a cause of concern, Lovneesh Chanana, Vice President, Digital Governments (Asia Pacific & Japan), SAP, told IANS.

A report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in December said that the bill categorises data as Personal data, Sensitive Personal data and Critical Personal data, but the industry lacks clarity on to which data qualifies under which head and hence is not equipped to take necessary precautions.

“The problem gets aggravated when data collection and processing are done by different agencies, in which case, each fiduciary will have to take consent at every step of the operation,” said the report.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha on December 11, announced that the draft Bill empowers the government to ask companies including Facebook, Google and others for anonymised personal data and non-personal data.

However, there are concerns around a provision in the draft bill, seeking to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved.

Data,Privacy
A French soldier watches code lines on his computer during the International Cybersecurity forum in Lille, northern France, Jan. 23, 2019. VOA

Several legal experts have said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country.

Ashish Aggarwal, Senior Director and Head, Policy & Advocacy, NASSCOM, however, said the Indian Data Protection bill will be the basis for consumers to exercise their privacy rights.

“The industry will benefit from increased trust by implementing the law diligently. The IT industry has a huge role in using technology solutions to implement the key principles of the law for both the industry and government, in an intuitive and cost effective manner,” Aggarwal told IANS.

There are other concerns from the industry as well.

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Shankar Roddam, Chief Operating Officer, Subex said that the Data Protection bill 2019 talks about monetary compositions like penalties for any abuse or failure to comply with guidelines.

“I personally feel that government should consider sanctions that are being monetary compositions like banning certain privileges for subsidies, funding, directorship, etc. This will help ensure privacy and regulate protection for companies,” Roddam noted.

The experts have demanded clarification in several areas of ambiguity that exists in the draft Bill which need to be better clarified for businesses to fully comprehend the extent of adjustments businesses will have to do to comply with them. (IANS)

Next Story

US Commission Urges India to Take Steps to Resolve Communal Riots in New Delhi

US Commission Demands India Act After Religious Riots

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New Delhi Riots
A resident look at burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

A U.S. government commission on Wednesday faulted India’s response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the U.S. government but does not set policy, voiced “grave concern” about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting.

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration. “We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” he said in a statement.

Anurima Bhargava, a commissioner appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voiced alarm at reports that Delhi police “have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims.” “The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” she said. “The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.”

New Delhi Riots
Firefighters stand near a fire rescue vehicle as they douse burnt-out tyre market premises following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India’s citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

The criticism stands in contrast to the reticence of elected U.S. leaders. Trump, asked at a news conference in Delhi about the violence, said the issue was “up to India” and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “incredible” statements on religious freedom.

The clashes in Delhi, which have left at least 27 people dead, were triggered by protests against a citizenship law seen by critics as anti-Muslim and part of Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi has called for calm, although witnesses said police did little to stop Hindu mobs.

His government has previously vowed to weed out “infiltrators” from India, with Home Minister Amit Shah likening undocumented immigrants to “termites. The government says the citizenship law does not target minorities but instead ensures protection for non-Muslims persecuted in neighboring countries.

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The Indian foreign ministry previously reprimanded the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom for denouncing the citizenship law. The commission also plans a public hearing next week on how citizenship laws, including in India and Myanmar, are used to target religious minorities. (VOA)