The draft data privacy bill shows that global best practices were considered, but somewhere these were lost in translation, writes Srinjoy Banerjee
George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 immediately comes to mind when reading the report and the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, which were placed before the government on 27 July by the Committee of Experts under the chairmanship of retired justice Srikrishna. To be fair, it is a good first attempt. However, given the times we live in, my impression is that the bill in its present form is rather skewed in favour of the state and seemingly encourages protectionism. This is quite contrary to how far we have come as a country and pushes us back many a step from the position we hold in the world economy.
The bill is the consequence of a judgment passed by the Supreme Court declaring the right to privacy as a fundamental right as enshrined in the constitution. As the Supreme Court observed in the Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd) & Anr v Union of India & Ors case, “Informational privacy is a facet of the right to privacy. The dangers to privacy in an age of information can originate not only from the state but from non-state actors as well. We commend to the union government the need to examine and put into place a robust regime for data protection. The creation of such a regime requires a careful and sensitive balance between individual interests and legitimate concerns of the state.”
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Srinjoy Banerjee is an intellectual property attorney and data privacy professional, and in this role an assistant vice president and legal counsel at Genpact