Digital Personal Data Protection Law Expected to Be Implemented Within 10 Months: IT Minister
Digital Personal Data Protection Law Expected to Be Implemented Within 10 Months: IT Minister

The government expects to implement the Digital Personal Data Protection Act within 10 months, Federal IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.

The Federal House passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 in a voice vote on Wednesday amid strikes by opposition members over Manipur. The bill, which comes six years after the Supreme Court declared “privacy” a fundamental right, sets out provisions to curb the misuse of personal data by online platforms.

“We have already started work on the implementation. This kind of legislation needs a framework of six to 10 months. We will have the proper checks and balances as we take each step. This is a guesswork. We may be faster than that,” Vaishnaw said.

When explaining the principles, he stated that the data collected by citizens should be used in accordance with the law and can only be used for the purpose of collection, and the amount of data should be limited within the required range.

Citizens have the right to have their data corrected, Vishno said, and it should be stored in entities until needed, with reasonable safeguards in place to protect the data.

“The provisions of the Act will also apply to the data of Indian citizens stored overseas. Anyone in India, even foreigners, will be covered by the Act,” he said.

Addressing concerns over changes to the Right to Information Act, he said the Putaswamy decision had made privacy a fundamental right. Therefore, any personal data may only be released through legally approved procedures, and personal information may not be otherwise shared in any public forum.

During the discussion, YSR Congress member V Vijayasai Reddy raised the issue of phone tapping through software.

Vaishnaw said phone hacking is not an issue in DPDP 2023 and it will be covered by the Telecom Act of India and the Digital India Act.

The minister said an independent Data Protection Board (DPB) would be set up that was “designed to be digital” and would provide people across the country with the same access to justice as the privileged in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Vaishnaw said data privacy issues fall within the center’s purview and the bill will evolve over time.

Asked if there would be a state-level DPB, the minister said bodies like the DPB are set up at the federal level to check for abuse of jurisdiction by violators.

AIADMK M Thambidurai raised the issue of media coverage of politicians’ medical data, which should be protected as personal data.

Vaishnaw said that DPDP 2023 will not override departmental rules and media rules will be enforced in accordance with existing relevant laws.

“However, the medical sector should not disclose someone’s personal data without proper consent,” he said.

He also criticized the opposition for not engaging in discussions on the bill.

“The opposition has no interest in the rights of the 1.4 billion people. They should also be involved and pass the bill with everyone,” Vaishnaw said.

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