Hyderabad: Amid the debate on data protection and privacy, the draft of India’s first-ever data protection Bill has not yet been released for public comments.
Activists from Hyderabad have created an online petition seeking that the draft be made public before it begins to go through the process of law.
The Justice Srikrishna Committee, a government-appointed committee of experts, was constituted in August 2017 to study issues and suggest a draft data protection Bill. The committee is due to share a draft of the Bill with the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY), which will form the basis of privacy protections of 1.3 billion Indians.
A petition was floated on foundation.mozilla.org asking the committee to, #ReleaseTheBill by Swecha, a Hyderabad based non-profit organisation affiliate of the Free Software Movement of India. Mr Ranjit Raj of Swecha said, “The Bill was supposed to be released by the end of April. Meanwhile the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal broke and there is huge concern about data breach and privatisation of data.”
He said the committee had said it would release the draft on May 15. It was then postponed to July due to the Karnataka elections. “If they postpone it to July, we don’t have time and the Bill may be directly introduced in Parliament,” Mr Ranjit Raj said.
An RTI request filed by Ms Anjali Bhardwaj of the National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information revealed that the committee has the draft of the Bill but did not release it for public scrutiny.
“The committee never made that draft supplied by MEITY public. Even in the current version of draft, the more they delay it, the harder it will be for citizens to suggest any changes as it will be introduced in the Monsoon Session of parliament which around August,” Ms Bhardwaj said.
“We have only two months. If it gets delayed, people will not be able to study it and there won’t be enough scholarships,” said Mr Srinivas Kodali, an independent security researcher.
Activists demanded that the draft be released to the public before it gets introduced in Parliament so that meaningful suggestions can be made on the proposed legislation....