Saturday, June 4, 2011

Privacy, Data Protection And India

India has no privacy laws and data protection laws. This is despite the fact that without these essential laws many governmental projects are simply illegal and unconstitutional. Even future technologies like cloud computing are not safe to be used in India. Further, a special protection to privacy rights in the information age is need of the hour.

However, instead of strengthening the privacy laws and data protection laws in India the government is working in the opposite directions. Indian government has increased its e-surveillance activities and established many e-surveillance oriented projects without proper legal framework.

India has launched many crucial Projects like Aadhar, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Centre for Communication Security Research and Monitoring (CCSRM), etc, informs Praveen Dalal, managing partner of Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India. None of these Projects and Initiatives are governed by any Legal Framework and none of them are under Parliamentary Scrutiny, informs Dalal.

The latest to add to this e-surveillance wish list is the demand to ensure call data records storage for Five years. However, of all these e-surveillance projects nothing can match the Aadhar project of India or UID project of India that is hiding truth from Indian citizens. Further, illegal phone tapping in India is also a big nuisance that would be put under a scrutiny very soon.

All these illegal and unconstitutional projects are a direct violation of privacy rights and data protection rights of Indians. This lack of privacy has already stalled national intelligence grid (Natgrid) project. The truth is the irrespective of governmental claims, Natgrid is in doldrums.

India must not only formulate a good e-surveillance policy but must also enact strong and effective privacy laws, data protection laws and data security laws. The sooner they are formulated the better it would be for the larger interest of India.