In India, there has been a devastating worldwide epidemic, several data security breaches, lengthy bans on popular mobile applications, and high-profile illegal data harvesting scandals such as Cambridge Analytica and Pegasus Spyware. All of this raises a simple question: Is the Right to Privacy a fundamental right? Is the individual the legal owner of his personal information?

When data is viewed as the new oil in the digital age, it is all too tempting for companies, political parties, or non-profits to promote their cause by better targeting users, voters, or the general public. This entails collecting a large amount of data across a variety of platforms, then processing and profiling the data to make it useable, much like fuel is refined to make it usable.



India is expected to approve a revised version of the Personal Data Protection Bill, which was drafted by a committee chaired by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court judge, in response to the SC’s suggestion in the Puttaswamy verdict. Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the bill in parliament on December 11th, 2019. (Minister of Electronics and Information)

The bill aims to protect the personal data of millions of Indian citizens who use foreign-based companies’ services by mandating Data Localization and ensuring proper checks on Data Fiduciaries (which include the government, companies including foreign companies, and social media platforms) for data protection.


The proposed legislation divides data into three categories: critical (for defence and intelligence services, as well as payments data from foreign banking services like Visa and Mastercard), sensitive (for health, religion, political orientation, biometrics, genetics, sexual orientation, and financial data of individuals), and personal (for health, religion, political orientation, biometrics, genetics, sexual orientation, and financial data of individuals).

The bill also proposes, under section 41(1), the creation of a Data Protection Authority, an ultimate regulatory authority to be chosen by the government and responsible for ensuring that data fiduciaries follow the law. The body would also push for “Data Localization,” which requires that Indians’ personal information be stored in India.



The law outlines the following scenarios in which data can be accessed without restriction:

  • Individuals profit from state services when they are delivered.
  • For bringing legal action against people, and
  • In the event of a medical emergency

The requirements will also not apply to state-run investigation agency and investigative journalists who have the required protections in place.



The Act will bring India’s data protection laws into line with European standards. It has, however, drawn various criticisms of its operation and the role of the government in it.


To begin with, the Data Protection Bill is far more stringent than the EU’s GDPR standards, and it gives the Centre broad authority over the DPA and the appointment of adjudicating officials.



The PDPB will undoubtedly be able to address many of India’s data protection and privacy concerns. The GDPR acts as an inspiration to the PDPB. The GDPR does not exclude government agencies from its responsibilities, which include obligatory notification of data principals in the case of a data breach. However, under PDPB, it is the DPA’s responsibility to notify the data principal. The Joint Parliamentary Committee has solicited input from the key stakeholders in order to correct any faults in the Bill. However, the final Bill is unlikely to change much from the one presented in Parliament. When the Bill becomes law, it will be difficult for all data-driven firms to comply.



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