The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was deliberated in great detail by the Joint Committee of Parliament. 81 amendments were proposed and 12 recommendations were made towards a comprehensive legal framework on the digital ecosystem, said Union I-T minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
The drafting of the bill began after the Supreme Court of India in 2017 recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right and directed the Centre to come up with a data protection framework for the country.
As its sponsors have previously stated, the 2019 bill aims to increase Indian citizens' control over their own data and increase requirements for its operators.
While a data protection law has been under consideration for several years, the current Bill has alarmed big tech companies. They drew attention primarily to the significant differences in requirements for the private sector and public bodies, as well as the vagueness of a number of provisions.
The Bill defined three different categories of data:
- personal data
- sensitive personal data
- and critical personal data.
Each category has its own separate obligations and regulatory requirements.
As The Times of India notes, if the bill had been passed, businesses would have to tell users about their data collection practices and seek customers’ consent. The latter, in turn, should have been able to withdraw their consent at any time and demand that the information collected about them be deleted.
The Bill also stated that “sensitive personal data” must be stored in India and that “critical personal data” which includes any data notified by the Central Government to be critical, cannot be transferred out of India, The Times of India noted.
The Bill notably exempted any government agency from any of the provisions of the Bill. The government also has the power to demand non-personal data and anonymised personal data from data fiduciaries for the benefit of various government services.
Finally, a special oversight agency was to be created to oversee the implementation of the proposed changes.
Source: The Times of India