Here’s the Man Entrusted With the Digital Privacy Laws of Indians
Amazon, Google and Facebook are in for some testing times in India. 
Amazon, Google and Facebook are in for some testing times in India. (Photo: The Quint/Canva)

Here’s the Man Entrusted With the Digital Privacy Laws of Indians

Facebook, Google and even Amazon in India will have to undergo massive operational changes very soon. The reason for that is a committee which has been set up to draft digital privacy laws in the country, which is a testament to how big a digital economy India has become for the West.

Spearheading this digital revolution is BN Srikrishna, a 77-year-old former Supreme Court judge, who’s equally fond of Shakespearean classics and Sanskrit.

This committee, lead by Srikrishna, will send the digital privacy bill to the Indian government this week. We can be sure that all technology giants will keep a close eye on things unfolding in the coming months.

After all, regulating data for a country with a population of 1.3 billion is likely to come with a host of riders.

How Things Are Shaping Up

Srikrishna is working with a team of 10 people, including academicians and government officials. He’s looking to chart down the laws with a mix of what’s there in the US and what Europe has put in place with GDPR recently. Even then, he expects the final mandate for India to be different. “India is India, after all,” he was quoted as saying.

India is one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world, with millions of app downloads, creating huge amounts of data. It has been repeatedly emphasised that data is the new oil and all of this is being done to prevent this oil from spilling over for the wrong reasons.

With over 370 million smartphone users as of December 2017, the need to regulate user data is critical. 

But smartphone data alone isn’t the biggest concern for critics in the country. Aadhaar, which is one of the largest biometric database, houses confidential information of over 120 crore people in India, and the blatant abuse of such information for wrongful practices cannot be overlooked.

India has accelerated from a ‘bail gaadi’ economy to a silicon-chip economy but privacy and data regulation rules are still far behind
BN Srikrishna, former Supreme Court judge

India’s digital privacy laws have been long due and Srikrishna and Co, want to make sure that India gets the right set of guidelines in order to prevent Facebook or Equifax-like mishaps in the country.

Most technology solution providers (via apps) need users to share their contact list, email address, location and media files from devices. Srikrishna believes that India needs strict laws to be enforced and to ensure that vast amounts of data is accessed by anyone.

Once the rules come into force, any company breaching the guidelines will face strict action or penalties. 

These are interesting times for people in India as tech giants like Facebook and Google bide their efforts to see how the future unfolds in the country.

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