Srikrishna committee report on data protection and privacy by May-end
The government-appointed BN Srikrishna committee for suggesting a framework and a new law for protecting institutional and private data in India will submit its report by the end of May, a member of the panel, who doesn’t want to be identified, said on Tuesday.
According to the member, the committee held four public consultations with stakeholders. “We will address all legitimate concerns raised in the consultations.”
The ministry of electronics and information technology constituted the 10-member panel headed by retired Supreme Court judge Srikrishna in August last year. Other than suggesting solutions on issues related to data protection, the committee will submit the draft for a new law.
Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in February the government will come up with a law soon after the panel submits its report.
According to experts, current laws are inadequate to deal with privacy concerns.
“A data privacy law should have come soon after the Justice AP Shah committee (group of experts on privacy formed in November 2011) submitted its report. There has been considerable delay by the government in enacting a law,” lawyer Apar Gupta said.
Gupta is among a group of 20 experts and lawyers that petitioned the Srikrishna committee last year and expressed fears regarding its functioning.
“The committee’s terms were to try and balance the right to privacy with promoting innovation. That should not be the case, the law should be built around privacy concerns at the centre,” he said.
The Shah committee submitted its report in October 2012, but the privacy law it proposed was never enacted.
The Srikrishna committee’s report is likely to assume significance as data leak has become a hotly debated subject amid the controversy that UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook users’ details for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that the Congress had contracted Cambridge Analytica to run the party’s campaign for the 2019 parliamentary polls. The Congress denied the charges and countered that the BJP is gathering data through the Narendra Modi mobile app to influence voters. The BJP called the allegation baseless.
Minister Prasad on Wednesday warned social media platforms, including Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, against any misuse of data. “We have stringent power in the IT act, we shall use it, including summoning you to India,” he said.
The data debate is raging in the Supreme Court too, where petitions are being heard that underscore concern about people’s personal details landing on wrong hands if they have to mandatorily link their 12-digit Aadhaar biometric number to services such as their mobile phone number.