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Friday, September 22, 2023

Rajya Sabha Passes Personal Data Protection Bill

The Rajya Sabha passed the Personal Data Protection Bill by voice vote on Wednesday, after the Opposition walked out over the Manipur issue. On Thursday, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDPB), 2023, was introduced in the Lok Sabha. While the opposition urged that it be referred to a standing committee for further scrutiny, the bill was accepted for discussion by voice vote. On Monday (August 7), the Lok Sabha passed the measure.

The measure will establish regulations for private companies that collect data online, with exceptions for government and law enforcement authorities.

Six years after the Supreme Court established the ‘Right to Privacy’ to be a fundamental right, the bill was introduced. It includes requirements to prevent internet platforms from misusing users’ personal information.

“Today the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha,” stated Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw. It is a milestone moment in Prime Minister Modi’s goal of Digital India.”

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw stated that the law imposed many requirements on both private and public bodies regarding the gathering and processing of every citizen’s data.

Vaishnaw stated in Rajya Sabha while submitting the bill for consideration, “It would have been good if the opposition discussed the bill today (in the House).” However, no opposition leader or member is worried about citizens’ rights.”

Vaishnaw further stated that the bill was introduced in the House after extensive public engagement.

The bill proposes digital personal data governance by providing a legislative framework that emphasizes the rights and duties of the ‘Digital Nagarik’ as well as the obligations of the company.

It is built on similar basic concepts as other nations’ personal data protection regulations, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Lawfulness, fairness, and openness are among them, as are purpose limitation, data minimization, correctness, storage limitation, integrity, secrecy, and accountability. Fundamentally, the law is founded on strong principles and seeks to protect data privacy without unduly burdening businesses.

The Bill, on the other hand, changes the Right to Information Act of 2005 (RTI) and eliminates the public interest exemptions for sharing any personal information. Currently, the RTI Act permits all public authorities to reveal personal information, including officials’ salary, only when it is in the public interest. The Bill would eliminate such disclaimers and fully prohibit the disclosure of any personal information.

Last November 18, the bill was made available for public comment. Since then, the bill has received 20,000 opinions from professionals and players in the business. Interestingly, according to officials, there hasn’t been much difference between the proposed draught that was circulated for public comment and the final Bill that was tabled in Parliament.

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