Have you heard about the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019? No. It is time we all should be aware of the bill because it will impact us in a big way. It can mean the difference between protecting our privacy or making our personal data open and leaving us completely insecure?
Everyday we use the internet. To talk to our friends and family, take selfies and pictures, do net banking and business and post on social media. All of these activities generate personal data that is used to profile us. Quite often our personal data is sold, traded and used in a way we have no knowledge and control. This can result in harms from data breaches, online frauds, impersonation to more dangerous actions such as micro-targeting of advertisements to influence how we vote as revealed during the Cambridge Analytica revelations.
All of this can be curbed by a Data Protection Bill that serves to protect our privacy. The Union government of India has come up with the bill which lays down a framework on how personal data is to be used, collected, and processed.
The lawyers associated with the #SaveOurPrivacy initiative have analysed the bill and found there are serious flaws in it.
Here are three major flaws with the bill:
No surveillance reforms: The Data Protection Bill does not deal with any type of surveillance reform. This means the government can create mass surveillance programs such as the Social Media Communications Hub, or use Facial Recognition Technologies without any checks or balances.
Large exemptions: There exist broad conditions which can make the government and other entities collect data without consent and also deny essential services. Due to this the Chairperson of the expert committee, namely Justice B.N. Srikrishna who had initially drafted an earlier version of the bill has termed the present version as, “Orwellian”.
A “Sarkari” Data Protection Authority: The regulatory body set up for enforcement is the Data Protection Authority which will be picked completely by the government without any participation of the opposition, judiciary or experts. This lack of independence is problematic since the government today gathers a large amount of data.
As per the lawyers there are 10 loopholes in the bill which they have explained in detail separately in an explainer. But do not fear. We can fix this together.
The Logical Indian with the support of Internet Freedom Foundation is running a campaign to make people aware about the Data Protection Bill and then fix it.
Through #SaveOurPrivacy initiative we are taking our voice to a Joint Committee of Parliament that is at present considering and taking inputs. By clicking on the pledge you sign on to the campaign that is being run by The Logical Indian to ensure that India gets a data protection law that protects your personal data. Sign the pledge and take control of your digital destiny.