India’s data protection law will set global benchmark: Prasad

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Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the government will come up with a robust data protection law which will set a global benchmark.

“We will come up with data protection law that will set a global benchmark like the way we have done for Aadhaar,” Prasad said at a session organised by The Dialogue in partnership with IIT Delhi on privacy and data protection which was chaired by Member of Parliament Mr. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda.

The panel discussion saw some of the leading names in India on data and governance participate on wide ranging issue concerning data protection and privacy in India. The participants included Mr. Osama Manzar from Digital Empowerment Foundation, Mr. Arvid Gupta from Digital India Foundation, Ms. Mishi Chaudhury from Society Freedom Law Center and Mr. Deepak Maheshwari from Symantec.

The panel

The minister said the government has formed a committee to give a structured report on data utility, data privacy and data availability.

“That committee is to give a report in coming three months. I want to assure you that we respect data sovereignty of Indians but we also appeal to Indians that your data must be made available also for legitimate concerns, legitimate interest and for development of India,” Prasad said.

Hon’ble Minister Shri Prasad with Member of Parliament Mr. Panda

He said data of people should be available for innovation and research.

The minister said India’s digital economy is going to be USD 1 trillion and stakeholders of the economy have said it will become USD 2 trillion in the next 5-7 years.

“The projection is 50-75 lakh jobs will be created only in digital economy in coming 5-7 years apart from giving taxes,” Prasad said.

The minister said digital transactions increased from 3,700 per day in November 2016 to 54 lakh per day at present.

Enumerating achievements of the government in the last three years, he said 93 mobile manufacturing companies have come in India and there is scope for medical, defence, automobile electronics in the country.

Packed house at IIT Delhi

“The reason why I very briefly gave the(information on) whole digital ecosystem is how should we go forward? Should we go forward in the name of privacy to kill it? Should we stop it or should we not stop it? That is indeed a challenge,” Prasad said.

He said the information technology revolution is also to be respected, accelerated and in this larger framework issue of privacy has to be considered.

“In a strict sense, in a conservative sense…since I am also law minister and the matter is pending (before court), I will be guarded in my comment but in strict sense what you do in your house is your privacy,” Prasad said.

The minister said the Supreme Court judgement has said Right to privacy is not an absolute right.

“On behalf of the government we also said it (privacy) is not an an absolute right but part of Article 21,” Prasad said.

The minister quoted from the apex court judgement that “Like the right to life and liberty, privacy is not absolute.

The limitations which operate on the right to life and personal liberty would operate on the right to privacy”.

He said the apex court judgement on privacy is a landmark judgement.

(Edited from the PTI Feed)