LATEST NEWS Industry experts divided on government's decision to withdraw personal...

Industry experts divided on government’s decision to withdraw personal data protection bill


Industry experts are divided on the government’s decision to withdraw the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, and replace it with a new ‘comprehensive legal framework’ and ‘contemporary digital privacy laws’ to regulate the online space.

The bill was revoked after nearly four years in the making, where it went through multiple changes, including a review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, and faced pushback from a range of stakeholders, including tech companies and activists from the privacy.

“The withdrawal of the PDP bill is personally disappointing to me, especially as the industry has already been waiting for four years for this draft to go forward,” said Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman of the IET Future Tech Panel. news

According to experts, the proposed bill emphasized data localization and lacked a fork to accommodate separate sets of personal and non-personal data. “There were parts of the bill that included obtaining consent from citizens for the use of personal data and special exemptions to investigative agencies from the Act. These aspects of the bill appear to be collectively responsible for causing its withdrawal,” Bhatnagar said. .

However, for Kazim Rizvi, founding director of The Dialogue, a New Delhi-based think tank, the withdrawal of the “Data Protection Bill 2021″ is the right move as it presented several shortcomings and concerns, in particular around the lack of independence of the Data. Data Protection Authority (DPA), restrictions on cross-border data flow, the inclusion of non-personal data, and broad exemptions to the executive branch for data processing.”

The bill had been widely criticized for being biased towards the data collection entity. For example, if a user wishes to withdraw her consent to share her data, it is possible, but the user must give “a valid reason” or bear the legal consequences of said withdrawal. Furthermore, what constitutes a “valid reason” is also subjective.

Another major drawback of the bill was a proposed provision called data localization, under which it would have been mandatory for companies to store a copy of certain sensitive personal data within India, and export undefined “critical” personal data from the country. would be prohibited.

Experts expect a new privacy law to be enacted next year. “The new bill must balance state interests, business interests and people’s privacy concerns in the same way,” Rizvi says.

Meanwhile, Bhatnagar believes the new bill can only stand out if the framework contains regulations that are on par with global standards. “The reformulation of the bill can also be enhanced with input from thought leaders and IT experts, where the basic realities and existing issues in the IT ecosystem can be clearly addressed,” he adds.

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