Data protection bill may get Cabinet nod next week
The data protection law, once passed, will protect citizens’ personal information such as health and financial data, religious or political affiliation, caste, tribe, gender, sexual orientation and biometric information.Updated: Jan 05, 2019 07:16 IST
The Union Cabinet is likely to consider the final draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill next week so that the important legislation can be introduced in Parliament next month.
The law, once passed, will protect citizens’ personal information such as health and financial data, religious or political affiliation, caste, tribe, gender, sexual orientation and biometric information. “Within one week it will be brought before the Cabinet,” law and justice, and electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The government wants to introduce the legislation in the next session of Parliament which will pass the vote-on-account, and is expected to be the last session before Lok Sabha elections, senior government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity.
The law will make it difficult for unscrupulous elements to share personal details of an individual, they added.
The need for a new legislation has been felt as the Information Technology Act, which provides for privacy and security of data in digital form, has its limitations, the officials said. They added that the final draft of ‘the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018’, which is “almost” ready to be tabled in the Cabinet, is based on the recommendations of the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee.
The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) constituted the committee on July 31, 2017. The committee submitted its report a year later along with a draft law. The government has finalised the draft law after a wider consultation that ended on October 10.
Meity is also making efforts to amend the existing Information Technology Act to curb fake news, especially by checking its distribution through social media and instant messaging services.
The ministry will on Saturday invite multiple civil society organisations to discuss issues related to data, surveillance and the regulation of content on social media to prevent misuse of these platforms and curb the spread of fake news, the officials said.
Last month, the government, under the IT Act, Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules 2018, proposed to break end-to-end encryption and introduce systems for retaining data and information so that the origin of messages on some platforms can be traced. It advocated for the use of “automated tools” to proactively detect and remove “unlawful information” and asked social media platforms to set up a business entity in India. Intermediaries are platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The government will receive feedback on these rules till January 15.
Speaking about the proposed changed in the law, Arun Prabhu, partner at the law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, said, “The amendment rules create onerous obligations on both small and large intermediaries. While small entities may need to invest in technology to proactively identify and take down unlawful content, entities with large user bases will need to be registered in India and have to maintain a local presence”.
First Published: Jan 05, 2019 07:16 IST