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Questions for 2020: Personal data gets legal protection?

Yes, but unaccountable official surveillance a worry.

In the internet age, where personal data is the raw material on which multiple billion-dollar businesses are built, the newly proposed personal data protection law will give Indians more control of their data through a strict consent mechanism. The law, which has been in the works for over two years, will change the way technology companies and governments collect, process and store personal data.

The Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) 2019 is expected to become a law in 2020 once it is reviewed by the joint parliamentary committee (JPC). The Bill also gives Indian users rights to obtain personal data, correct, erase, update and port the data from one company to another, and raise grievances.

Through the proposed law, GoI has pushed the idea of data sovereignty by mandating certain class of data to be stored within Indian borders to allow law enforcement agencies investigate crimes faster.

While the law tightens rules for companies that handle personal data, it has given GoI the right to exempt any government agency from legal obligations. This has raised alarm bells among companies, activists and the citizenry, who are rightly worried about unaccountable government surveillance. This is likely to be the most debated provision of the law once it’s tabled in Parliament for voting.

Justice BN Srikrishna, the chief architect of the draft law, has raised his concerns about GoI exemptions and called them dangerous, adding that the law can turn India into an ‘Orwellian State’.

This story is part of the ’20 Questions for 2020′ package.

Source: Economic Times