White Paper on Data Protection in India Released

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November 28, 2017

Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee yesterday released White Paper on Data Protection Framework in India. The Committee of experts had been set up by the Government to study various issues relating to data protection in India, make specific suggestions on principles underlying a data protection bill and draft such a bill. The rapid advancement of technology which renders personal data of citizens vulnerable to theft and misuse prompted the Government to formulate a Bill which would protect the personal data of citizens while ensuring the growth of digital economy.

The essence of data protection in this digital age was highlighted by the Supreme Court in the recent case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy and Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., wherein it was stated that Informational privacy is a facet of the right to privacy. The dangers to privacy in an age of information can originate not only from the state but from non-state actors as well. We commend to the Union Government the need to examine and put into place a robust regime for data protection. The creation of such a regime requires a careful and sensitive balance between individual interests and legitimate concerns of the state.

The White Paper discusses myriad aspects of data protection, for instance what is personal data and sensitive personal data. The Paper proposes establishment of Data Processor and Controller and refers to international best practices followed for exercising control over data.

The Paper also proposes to exempt activities like data maintained for household purposes, data collected for journalistic, artistic and literary purposes, data collected for research, historical and statistical purposes from the purview of data protection.

The Committee has invited suggestions and feedback on the Paper and the same can be submitted through a web form available at https://innovate.mygov.in/data-protection-in-india/ and written comments on the paper can be sent at:

Shri Rakesh Maheshwari
Scientist G & Group Co-ordinator,
Cyber laws Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY),
Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road, New Delhi- 110003.

Deadline for submission is December 31, 2017

Legal framework on Data protection in India is a long awaited legislation and lack of any specific law in India in the data protection regime has been many times condemned in the global diaspora. For instance, USTR (United States Trade Representive) Special 301 Report has time and again cited lack of law on data protection as an impediment in growth of trade with India.