The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, was introduced in Parliament in December 2019, and was referred to a 30-member Joint Parliamentary Committee for review. The Bill is the first legislation that focusses on privacy of citizens, and could potentially result in significant overhaul of digital businesses and companies. The Committee is expected to submit its report to the Parliament before the Budget Session concludes on April 3, 2020. Earlier this month, MediaNama held discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the main aspects and impact of the Bill with a wide set of stakeholders. The discussions were held with support from Facebook, Google, and STAR India in Delhi, and with support from Facebook and Google in Bangalore. The discussions were held under Chatham House Rule, so quotes have not been attributed. Quotes are not verbatim and have been edited for clarity and brevity. Read our full coverage of the discussions here: #NAMA India’s Data Protection Law – January 2020. The following is Part II of our notes from the session on government access to data. Read Part I here. Potential safeguards against surveillance in the Bill There are potentially two safeguards against broad surveillance and unwarranted government access to data as given under Section 36, according to a speaker: Section 4 [Prohibition of processing of personal data except for “specific, clear and lawful purpose”]: Section 36 does not exempt the operation Section 4. The requirement for clarity and specificity might obviate some of the broadness that comes with this kind of…
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