While You Were Debating CAB, A More Dangerous Data Bill Was Tabled

Be it a Hindu or a Muslim, everyone’s data is at risk.

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While you were busy debating over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, whether it is communal or secular, another dangerous Bill was tabled in the Parliament – Data Protection Bill. Be it a Hindu or a Muslim, everyone’s data is at risk.

Problem With The Bill

If this Bill becomes a law then the government can decide from time to time which investigating agencies will come under this law and which will be kept out of it. They can also change this list whenever they want. The Parliament will have no role to play in this and there will be no accountability to public.

To frame this Data Bill, the government had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Retd Justice Shri Krishna.

The committee suggested that the government can only access an individual’s data under a legal and court-monitored procedure.

The government will have to disclose why is access to this data necessary and in what proportion. They can’t be allowed to access whatever they wish.

Government Is Unrestrained

The consultation was done in the past but there is no public consultation on the draft Bill tabled in the Parliament. The Bill concerns the privacy of the people. The Supreme Court has set up a new framework for privacy guidelines.

The government has bypassed the Bill to a newly formed Joint Parliamentary Committee instead of the select committee. The chairman of that standing committee is Shashi Tharoor, who is leader of an Opposition party. The Joint Parliamentary Committee will be constituted only to inspect the Bill.

When it comes to storing people’s personal data, the government is putting a check on private companies through this Bill but the government itself is unrestrained.
There is a big debate surrounding personal data and sensitive personal data and this personal data has to be stored in India. The process of data storage is sophisticated and expensive. We have no idea about the government’s preparation for this.

The fundamental question is do you actually have the ownership of your own data? Does this Bill guarantee that your data will not be politically misused? Does this Bill guarantee that your data will not be used for snooping and profiling? We don’t have answers to these yet.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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