Govt expects to implement new data protection law within 10 months

"Opposition has no interest in the rights of 140 crore people. They should have also participated and joined everyone in passing the bill," Vaishnaw said.

New Delhi: The government is expecting to implement the Digital Personal Data Protection law within 10 months, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 with a voice vote amid a walkout by opposition members over the Manipur issue.

The Bill, which comes after six years of the Supreme Court declaring ‘Right to Privacy’ as a fundamental right, has provisions to curb the misuse of individuals’ data by online platforms.

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“We have started work on implementation. This kind of legislation will require a 6-10 month kind of frame. We will take every step with proper checks and balances. It is a guesstimate. We might do it faster than that,” Vaishnaw said.

Elaborating on the principles, he said the data collected by the citizens should be used as per the law, only for the purpose for which it has been collected and the quantum of data should be limited to the requirement.

Vaishnaw said citizens will have the right to correct their data and it should be stored with entities till the time it is required and protected by putting in place reasonable safeguards.

“The provisions of the bill will apply to data of Indian citizens stored overseas as well. Any person in India, even foreign nationals will get protection under the bill,” he said.

Addressing concerns around changes in the Right to Information Act, he said the Puttaswamy judgement has made the Right to Privacy a fundamental right. Therefore, any personal data can be published only through a legally approved process and in no other form personal information can be shared in any public forum.

During the discussion, YSR Congress Party member V Vijayasai Reddy raised the issue of telephone tapping through software.

Vaishnaw said that phone tapping is not an issue under the DPDP 2023 and it will be covered under the Indian Telecommunication Bill and Digital India Act.

The minister said an independent Data Protection Board (DPB) will be created, which is “digital by design”, and will provide similar access to justice to people across the country in the same way as privileged people in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Vaishnaw said that the subject of data privacy comes under the Centre and the bill will evolve over a period of time.

When asked if there will be a state-level DPB, the minister said that bodies like DPB are created at the Union level to check misuse of jurisdiction by rule violators.

AIADMK M Thambidurai had raised the issue of the medical data of politicians getting reported in the media and it should be protected as personal data.

Vaishnaw said that the DPDP 2023 will not overwrite sectoral rules and rules for media will be as per existing related laws.

“However, the healthcare department should not leak someone’s personal data without proper consent,” he said.

He also slammed the opposition for not participating in the discussion over the bill.

“Opposition has no interest in the rights of 140 crore people. They should have also participated and joined everyone in passing the bill,” Vaishnaw said.

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