Tuesday January 28, 2020
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Here’s What India’s Privacy Bill Requires from Social Media Firms

"The future may bring challenging times for social media companies to comply with the private data related requests under the new law if it's approved as tabled. Many popular social media platforms would have to invest significantly in order to adhere to the data sharing requests and yet may not be able to meet the requests due to technical difficulties," said Sunil Chandna, CEO, Stellar Data Recovery

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fake, media, behaviour, artificial intelligence
Social Media Icons. VOA

While the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, introduced in Parliament on Wednesday has toned down the data localisation requirements, it has several implications for social media companies including a provision for users for voluntary verification of their accounts, say experts.

The Bill draws its origins from the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee on data privacy, which produced a draft of legislation that was made public in 2018 (“the Srikrishna Bill”).

The mandatory requirement for storing a mirror copy of all personal data in India as per Section 40 of the Srikrishna Bill has been done away with in the PDP Bill, 2019, meaning that companies like Facebook and Twitter would be able to store data of Indian users abroad if they so wish, said Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director at SFLC.in, a New Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation.

“Data localisation has been toned down. Now only sensitive personal data and critical personal data have to be stored here,” Sugathan said.

“Social media companies will have to modify their application. They need to have a system in place by which a user can verify themselves. So probably some system to upload identification documents should be there. And it also suggests that something like the Twitter blue tick mark should be there to identify verified accounts,” Sugathan said.

“But it is up to the user whether he or she wants to verify themselves or not. I am not sure why something like this is required in the data protection law,” he pointed out.

According to Arun Prabhu, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, certain changes made to the draft Bill are business friendly including the changes made to the data localisations requirements.

“On the other hand, portions of the Bill have been pared down, and some changes such as the lack of a clear implementation timeline, requirement to share non personal data, obligations for social media verification etc. may be a potential source of concern,” Prabhu said.

The PDP Bill, 2019 extends the obligations of significant data processors or fiduciaries to social media intermediaries (SMI).

Social Media
Social Media use was measured by asking participants how much time they spent on social networking sites on a typical day. Pixabay

Verified user accounts will be marked with a demonstrable verification mark. As per Section 29, data auditors are required to evaluate social media intermediaries for timely implementation of their obligations under account verification norms.

Other obligations applicable to social media intermediaries include data protection impact assessments, maintenance of records, audit of policies, and appointment of a data protection officer.

What has, however, raised eyebrows is that the Bill gives the government ultimate rights and powers to seek access to users’ data to help formulate policies.

Section 42 of the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 allowed access of personal data to the state for security purposes based on principles of necessity and proportionality and on the basis of authorisation under law.

The provision for government access to personal data under the PDP Bill, 2019 (Section 35) is wider, gives the Central Government power to exempt any government agency from the purview of the Bill (all or select provisions) and does not codify the principles of necessity and proportionality as determinants to access, SFLC.in said.

Also Read: Software Major Infosys Projected as Top Employer in APAC Region

“While the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 addresses the issue of informed consent, it only states that the data fiduciary must process data in a fair and reasonable manner that respects the privacy of the individual,” said Swapnil Shekhar, Co-founder & Director, Sambodhi Research and Communications.

“The Bill does not specify what constitutes fair and reasonable leaving room for the potential violation of privacy,” Shekhar said.

“The future may bring challenging times for social media companies to comply with the private data related requests under the new law if it’s approved as tabled. Many popular social media platforms would have to invest significantly in order to adhere to the data sharing requests and yet may not be able to meet the requests due to technical difficulties,” said Sunil Chandna, CEO, Stellar Data Recovery. (IANS)

Next Story

Novel Coronavirus: Government Deploys Health Team on Nepal Border

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there

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Coronavirus
The Coronavirus outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion. VOA

In the wake of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Nepal, the Union Health Ministry has subsequently strengthened its vigil in the areas bordering Nepal.

The recent deployment of health team has taken place at Panitanki in West Bengal, entry point from Nepal, said the Health Ministry on Monday.

“Update on #ncov2020 – Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Bengal) entry point from Nepal,” the ministry tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday the ministry had informed that in response to confirmed case of the new virus in the neighbourhood country Nepal, India stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. The health ministry said that teams of medical experts were also deployed at border outpost with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.

Coronavirus
Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies. VOA

In continuation of its efforts to stop the virus from entering in India and making the passengers aware, the ministry has also displayed signage advising the passengers for self reporting and other precautions, disseminated through advisories, at the Mumbai airport.

According to the health ministry, a total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened. Fortunately, no case of coronavirus has been found till date.

Also Read: Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the announcement made by Chinese health authorities on Monday, 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition and a total of 5,794 suspected cases have also been reported. The killer virus has caused 80 deaths in China, as per Chinese authorities.

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there. The health ministry said it is working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs and is in touch with the students. (IANS)