wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Indian Government says it is still drafting privacy law, but doesn’t give timelines


The Government is drafting a legislation to protect privacy of individuals breached through unlawful means in consultation with stakeholders, the minister for communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha. However, no timeline was provided, which is really the problem: Is the Indian government even interested in a privacy law?

  • In August last year, the Government of India had said in the Supreme Court of India that had said that “violation of privacy doesn’t mean anything because privacy is not a guaranteed right”, actually arguing that the citizens of India do not have a fundamental right to privacy.
  • In September last year, the DeitY had also sought to make encryption (and personal and business security) weaker via a draft policy on encryption, requiring all users to store the plaintexts of the corresponding encrypted information for 90 days from the date of transaction and provide the verifiable plain-text to Law and Enforcement Agencies if required. After a public outcry, the paper was withdrawn.
  • Last month, the DoT made it mandatory to have GPS on all phones by 2018.

We’re in a situation where the country doesn’t have a privacy law on one hand, and is setting up surveillance systems like the Centralized Monitoring System, NETRA, NATGRID (for collecting data from across databases), and linking citizens and databases across the unique identity number in Aadhaar on the other.

Also read: MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar pushes for a Privacy Law, says IT Ministry’s response in Parliament was “misleading”

What happened to the old Privacy bill?

While India does not yet have a comprehensive privacy policy, back in 2014, the Centre for Internet and Society received a leaked version of the draft Privacy Bill 2014 that the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India had drafted. A comparison of the draft bill from 2014 and the draft privacy bill of 2011 can be found here.

As per Prasad, as of now, the Section 43, 43A and 72A of the IT Act of 2000 provide the legal framework for digital privacy and security, mandating that agencies collecting personal data must provide a privacy policy, and compensations must be paid to the victim in case of unauthorized access or leakage of information.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Questions asked in Rajya Sabha:

Whether Government  intends  to  bring  a  specific  legislation  to  address  the  concerns regarding privacy in the country, if so, the details thereof, if not, the reason therefore; and

Whether the legislation would provide for protection of ‘personal data’ along the lines of the European Union’s Data Protection Directive, if so, the details thereof, if not, the reasons therefor

EU Privacy Bill

Interestingly, the question posed to the minister asked if the legislation would provide for protection of personal data along the lines of European Union’s General Data Protection Directive (GDRP), which were approved just last month. EU’s directive defines “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity”, as personal data.

The GDRP has a pretty wide scope and is pretty consumer friendly. The laws require users to provide explicit consent for data collection, companies to report as soon as they have a data breach, and a ‘right to erasure’ that lets users request all personal data related to them to be deleted. It also imposes a significant fine of up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover of a company in the previous financial year, in case of non compliance. For a comprehensive overview of the policy read handbook on European data protection law (pdf).

Email privacy bill US

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The US does not have a comprehensive digital privacy law like the EU and mostly relies on the the privacy act of 1974. However, recently the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act that would require investigators to get a warrant before forcing companies to hand over customer email or other electronic communications, no matter how old the communication.

Also read:

Is there a fundamental right to privacy in the digital age? Notes from the SFLC.in debate

Privacy nightmare: Chennai & Hyderabad Municipal Corps list birth & death certificates online

Image source: Flickr user Josh Hallett under CC BY 2.0

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



The Delhi High Court should quash the government's order to block Tanul Thakur's website in light of the Shreya Singhal verdict by the Supreme...


Releasing the policy is akin to putting the proverbial 'cart before the horse'.


The industry's growth is being weighed down by taxation and legal uncertainty.


Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.


Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ