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Lower age of consent to allow children to benefit from technology: MP Ritesh Pandey On Data Protection Bill 2021

A breakdown of the committee member’s dissent note reveals the rationale behind his proposed amendments.

Source: Lok Sabha TV

In his dissent note on the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report on the Data Protection Bill, Lok Sabha MP Ritesh Pandey objected to the high age of consent, the composition of the Selection Committee tasked with appointing members of the Data Protection Authority, and the power of the government to exempt any of its agencies from the Bill. "I am in complete agreement with the recommendations of this Committee, barring [these] three sections," Pandey said. The landmark JPC report along with Data Protection Bill 2021 was tabled in both houses of the Parliament on December 16 after two years of deliberations, bringing us one step closer to India’s first data protection law. Here's our complete guide to the Data Protection Bill, 2021 Age of consent too high, not in the best interest of children Section 3(8) of the Bill defines a "child" as a person who has not completed eighteen years of age. Data fiduciaries processing children's data have a different set of obligations to follow including getting consent from a parent or guardian before processing the child's data. Proposed amendment: Pandey has recommended bringing down the age of consent to fourteen years. Rationale: Pandey argued that the current definition "does not stand with the principle of the best interest of a child in the digital age."  "Although protecting children's privacy and welfare is a vital concern of the Bill, the definition of a child should be anyone under the age of 14, so as to allow young users to benefit from innovative…

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