Hyderabad: Cyber security researchers and activists are upset with the Central government’s stance on private data protection. They are highly critical of the Personal Data Protection Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2019 and later referred to a standing committee.
They believe the law would allow the government to access and collect data for its own use.
Mr Kiran Chandra, founder and general secretary of Free Software Movement of India (FSMI), which has thousands of members, said. “The Bill should be centred around an individual’s freedom and right to privacy. The current draft is lame and hollow. It doesn’t give any protection to individuals.”
Mr Chandra explained that the draft law allows the government to collect data of individuals and use it for its own purposes. He was referring to the clause that allows the Central government to access personal data for security. A report by the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) notes that the “PDP Bill effectively enhances the surveillance powers of the government and gives the State overarching authority to access personal data”. “The government says this data is essential to it. But I don’t buy this reason. A government needs data at a macro-level. For instance, to track the effect of a disease, it may require the number of patients in a geographical area. But why would it need an individual’s data,” Mr Chandra asked.