Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Data Protection Authority Of India

Data protection in India has assumed tremendous importance in the recent past. We have no dedicated data protection law in India. Despite numerous talks and declarations, India is decade away from a sound and effective data protection law.

In this background, Indian government has proposed draft right to privacy bill 2011 of India. It has also been declared that a data protection authority of India would also be constituted that would look into the matters of data protection in India and punishing the violations of the same. Only time would tell how effective these declarations would be.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India, we have no “Dedicated” Data Protection Law in India. Even India does not have a Data Security Law and Privacy Law. This makes the sensitive information and personal details of Indian Citizens “Highly Vulnerable” to misuse, informs Dalal.

With the proposed use of Cloud Computing, Software as a Service (SaaS) and M-Governance by Indian Government, more “Privacy Violations”, “Cyber Security” and many more “Regulatory Issues” would arise in future. These “Initiatives” cannot succeed in India in the absence of adequate and strong laws in this regard, informs Dalal.Another closely related issue pertains to absence of lawful interception law in India. Lawful Interception Law of India is urgently required, suggests Dalal. India is the only country of the World where phone tapping is done without a Court Warrant and by Executive Branch of the Constitution of India. Phone tapping in India is “Unconstitutional” and the Parliament of India has not thought it fit to enact a “Constitutionally Sound Law” in this regard. Even the Supreme Court’s directions in PUCL case have proved futile and presently the Court is dealing with the issue once more, informs Dalal.

The importance of data protection authority of India cannot be undermined in these circumstances. However, equally gruesome would be the challenges that the Authority would face in future. For the time being, India stands nowhere and the Authority may be just another rumour as has been heard in the past.