India’s data protection bill will finally become law very soon

India’s data protection bill will finally become law very soon

Provided the country’s President, Droupadi Murmu, adds his signature, India’s personal data protection bill, passed by Parliament’s upper house on Wednesday evening, will become law very soon.

Readers will be aware that the bill had experienced some delays, most notably last year when it was revamped to meet concerns about the potential for mass surveillance and adverse effects on the business environment.

But for a country where around one billion people are connected to the internet, a law regulating the sharing of personal information is probably well overdue. This is also a country that, as the UK’s Financial Times points out, has pioneered one of the world’s largest digitisation drives, capturing citizens’ personal information through its Aadhaar ID system and building out an extensive network of digital infrastructure known as the India Stack.

The new law imposes limits on the purposes for which data can be collected and how long it can be stored while taking what its proponents insist is a more ‘flexible’ approach than that of the EU.

However, there are still concerns. Some opposition politicians wanted the bill sent to committee for further review. More serious perhaps is a provision that allows the government to bypass aspects of the bill in certain vaguely defined security-related circumstances.

However, the law does loosen restrictions on companies’ ability to transfer data overseas, making it more business-friendly than previous versions – of which there have been quite a few.

In fact the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that Indians had a fundamental right to privacy. The original draft of the law was first presented in late 2019.

Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.