New legislation needed to safeguard data in India

By Sumeera Seth, Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

India’s economy has come through the economic turbulence of the past few years relatively unscathed, partly due to its relatively strong reliance on its intellectual strengths, demonstrated in areas such as information technology and business process outsourcing. However, the relative underdevelopment of India’s legal system in the field of legal protection for personal and business data and databases has exposed businesses and persons in India to scepticism.

Types of data

Data protection laws, the world over, are targeted at two main types of data – personal data of natural persons and business data, which could include client lists and information, business information, databases, trade secrets, business strategies and communication. The idea behind comprehensive data protection laws is not merely to protect such data but also to enable a safe flow of information and prevent unreasonable restrictions.

Sumeera Seth Associate Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Sumeera Seth
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

The Information Technology Act, 2000, was enacted as a result of the growing importance of the information technology and e-commerce industries in the Indian economy, and their growing strength in world markets. Amendments have been made to resolve some ambiguities and fortify its provisions on data protection and data safety, but these are primarily aimed at protecting personal data of individuals and combating abuses such as sending offensive messages, dishonestly receiving a stolen computer resource, identity theft, cheating by personation by using computer resource, violation of privacy, cyber terrorism and publishing or transmitting obscene material. The protection of data, communications and information of businesses is largely unaddressed in the act.

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Sumeera Seth is an associate at Lall Lahiri & Salhotra, which is an IP boutique based in Gurgaon.


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