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Live blog: Supreme Court rules privacy is a fundamental right

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court upheld that privacy is a fundamental right. The ruling was unanimous with 9-0 judges ruling in favour. The verdict puts an end to a five-year long debate on the issue of constitutional validity of the “right to privacy”. More details to follow.

If you wish to participate in MediaNama’s curated event on “THE FUTURE OF USER DATA IN INDIA” click here. The context: two policy consultations, one at the TRAI and another at MEITY, will close within the next three months. We’re planning a nuanced open discussion on challenges, best practices, and approaches that protect the interests of citizens, government and businesses, and covers policy, legal, business and technology perspectives.

16:17: The blame game begins. Watch the Indian National Congress press conference on the right to privacy judgement.

16:11: Watch the government press conference on right to privacy. 

16:02: Yup. Totally a Bahubali moment.

15:37: OOOHHH. The government finally breaks its silence on the SC’s ruling. First off the mark is Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister of law and justice and IT and technology.

But Thejaswi Udupa is busting all sorts of bullshit.

15:29: The inimitable Krishna Prasad writes in Churumuri about the response of the government to the triple talaq verdict and right to privacy ruling.

15:13: James Wilson points out an uncomfortable silence.

14:41: NASSCOM & Data Security Council of India (DSCI) hailed the SC’s ruling.

NASSCOM & Data Security Council of India (DSCI) welcome the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgement declaring ‘Privacy as a Fundamental Right’. Mr. R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “This landmark judgment will ensure that protection of citizen’s privacy is a cardinal principle in our growing digital economy. Besides, it will enhance citizens’ trust in digital services, a prerequisite for widespread digital adoption. The ruling also significantly boosts India’s attractiveness as a safe destination for global sourcing.” Ms. Rama Vedashree, CEO, DSCI said, “We have always advocated for a stronger data security regime in the country and this judgement will further reinforce industry efforts and resolve to provide necessary assurance in this regard.” NASSCOM and DSCI will continue to work with Government in accelerating the enforcement framework.

14:31: Also worth reading is Aroon Deep’s personal essay on how the violation of privacy affects everyone. Aroon narrates an incident when he was called in by his headmaster. Read on.

14: 27: Throwback to Nikhil’s piece on why it is important for citizens to take control of our data.

We are data.

In bits and bytes, we are the websites we surf, the comments we leave, the texts we send, the social networks we log on to, the videos we forward, the bills we pay, the subsidies we receive, the advertisements we click on. As more people and devices connect to the internet, it is inevitable that more of what we do will get digitised, collected and stored: what we eat, when we leave home, which flights we prefer, what time we go for a run or hit the gym.

14:22: Factor Daily has a great profile on advocate Shyam Divan and his role in the fight for the right to privacy. Read more here.

 “We gave birth to the State. We are sovereign. Will we be put on an electronic leash for our entire lifetimes? If from birth onwards, the State knows everything about you, will the relationship between State and individual remain the same?” , Divan had argued.

13:04: When mums start asking questions on where you going.

12:51: Aditya Kamath to the rescue! The SC ruling in a Google drive.

12:42: The SC ruling also gives hope for reading Section 377.


12:24: Meanwhile, it’s worth visiting Scroll.in’s  M Rajshekar piece on what happens when to privacy when private companies collect data on users. The fight is no longer just about data but even protecting meta data as well. Read here.

12:11: The Supreme Court site is down. Dear lord.

12:02: Thanks for all the fishes. Here are some of the people who kept the good fight going.

11:55: Any Jio fans in the house?

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11:49: And the Twitter debates begin.

11:47: Actions speak louder than words. (Pun intended).

11:38: Meanwhile, the SC ruling does will give the ability for journalists, activists, and lawyers to challenge various mass surveillance technologies. The government has three programmes called NATGRID, CMS and Netra. More on that here.

11:33: But for now, a well-deserved celebration!

11:31: More reminders. It’s not over yet.

11:27: Advocate Apar Gupta reminds us that the journey is not done. What the ruling does give is ammo to fight government making mandatory Aadhaar to all facets of life.

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In one of the darkest arguments in court, the government argued that citizens don’t have absolute right over their bodies and could not to refuse to give digital samples of their fingerprints and iris for Aadhaar enrolment. This can now be challenged.

11.14: Right to privacy is intrinsic to right to life and is now part of Article 21, part 3, CJI Khehar said while reading the verdict.

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