Friday, February 18, 2011

Privacy Laws In India Urgently Required

Indian government never thought that its indifference towards privacy laws, data security laws and data protection laws would become its headache. With controversies like illegal phone tapping, imposition of Aadhar project, launch of projects like national intelligence grid (Natgrid) and crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) without any procedural safeguards, etc enactment of a dedicated and constitutionally sound privacy law has become absolutely essential.

Aadhar project or UID project is the most controversial project of all and it is surprising why it has not been scrapped till now. Under the fa├žade of welfare scheme and public good, an endemic e-surveillance project is under process. The truth is that both government and unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) are fooling Indians.

Another vice that Indian government is openly adopting and supporting pertains to illegal phone tapping in India. Till now we do not have any constitutionally sound phone tapping law in India. The Indian telegraph Act, 1885 must be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India and a constitutionally sound phone tapping law must be enacted by the Parliament of India.

Similarly, the projects like Natgrid, CCTNS, central monitoring system (CMS), etc must also be undertaken only after proper and adequate constitutional safeguards are at place. Till now there is no constitutional safeguards provided by projects like Aadhar, Natgrid, CCTNS, CMS, etc.

If Indian government in general and cabinet committee on security (CCS) in particular is serious about respecting constitution of India, they must operate all these projects within the constitutional limits. CCS must play a pro active role in this regard as presently it is playing a passive role only.

Finally, all the unconstitutional laws, including cyber law of India incorporated in information technology act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) and Indian telegraph act, 1885 must be immediately repealed and must be substituted with proper, strong, effective and constitutionally sound laws.

The safest and most effective method to achieve this task is by formulating a good and effective national security policy of India that reconciles the national security and civil liberty concerns.