Personal Data and Information Privacy Code Bill, 2019 introduced in the Lok Sabha today! #SaveOurPrivacy

Highlights

  • Background: The past few months have been full of attacks on privacy. These include the government selling vehicle registration data, introducing facial recognition technology and increasing CCTV surveillance. Unfortunately, all this is being done in the absence of any safeguards, principal amongst them is a data protection bill.
  • IFF goes to Parliament: Dr. Ravikumar (Lok Sabha, MP from Tamil Nadu), has introduced the Personal Data and Information Privacy Code Bill, 2019 today. This is a substantive redraft of the Indian Privacy Code which puts the interests of Indian citizens first.

Parliament gets a modern, progressive legislative proposal

August is coming! And that makes it a full year since the consultations on India’s data privacy regime were held. More than two years after the epoch defining right to privacy judgement a data protection regime seems distant. Meanwhile, surveillance grows in scope, sophistication and creep.

Since the consultations in August, 2018 there has been little movement on the Personal Data Protection Bill. But there has been a lot of activity on projects which pose massive threats to privacy (read more on it here)! We do not know if, and when the Government will table a bill for it, and what final form it will take. This is characteristic of a process that has lacked transparency even during the proceedings of the Justice Srikrishna Expert Committee (read more).

Today, Dr. Ravikumar, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, (read more on him here) tabled the Personal Data and Information Privacy Code Bill, 2019. This is a private member’s bill based off a reworked, updated, Indian Privacy Code, 2018 and the 7 Privacy Principles. The public comments received on it have been factored and changes have been made. We thank for the wide ranging participation by individuals and organisations in supporting it.

Blueprint for a rights based data protection and surveillance reform law

There is very low chance that the Personal Data and Information Privacy Code Bill, 2019 will pass into a law, but it is one more small act of faith to protect the privacy of everyday, ordinary Indians. It will hopefully provide a useful basis, for study, inspire debate by our parliamentarians who are actively engaging on issues of data protection and surveillance reform. At the time of filing, it is the only legislative proposal on this issue.

Our engagement in this effort is a continuing attempt in a range of actions across institutions which have been documented at length at the SaveOurPrivacy.in campaign website. We have in the past worked with different members of parliament and will continue to do so to advance data protection and surveillance reform. We will also post analysis on this bill, and further upload it for further public debate and discussion.

We thank not only Dr. Ravikumar but all parliamentarians, notably Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Anand Sharma, Anupriya Patel, Asaduddin Owaisi, Bhubaneswara Kalita, Binoy Viswam, D. Ravikumar, Jairam Ramesh, K.K. Ragesh, Kinjarapu Ram Mohan Naidu, Mahua Moitra, Manish Tewari, Manoj Kumar Jha, M Selvaraj, N.K. Premachandran, P.K. Kunhalikutty, Prashanta Nanda, P.R. Natarajan, Pinaki Misra, Ritesh Pandey, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Supriya Sule, T.K.S. Elangovan, Thol. Thirumavalavan, Veer Singh, Vijayasai Reddy and Sanjay Singh who are actively engaging on the issue of data protection. (wasn’t that a long list of names? These are just the MPs who have spoken in this present session of parliament on the need for a data protection law, showing how the issues cuts across party lines).

Important documents

  • Personal Data and Information Privacy Code Bill, 2019 (link to PDF)

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