Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is Indian Government Serious About Privacy And Data Protection Laws Of India?

Shayam Prasad

If any thing that Indian government is very good at delivering is, it pertains to making false promises and empty claims. The latest in this series is its promise to formulate suitable privacy and data protection law(s) in India.

Firstly, in April 2009 the department of information technology (DIT) and Cert-In declared that they would set up an IT regulatory body, which will monitor the security and privacy aspects of IT and BPO companies.

Then in May 2010 the chairman of UIDAI and Aadhar project Nandan Nilekani declared that he would come up with data protection and privacy law of India within a month.

Now almost at the end of June 2010 the Indian government has constituted a Group of Officers under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training to develop a framework that could balance the country’s interests and concerns on privacy, data protection and security and which could respect the domain legislations on the subject. The Group is supposed to submit its report within three months i.e. till September 2010. On the basis of that report the government may take some action.

The truth is that Indian government is using the data protection and privacy laws issue as a faced to push its illegal and unconstitutional projects like Aadhar/UID, Natgrid, CCTNS, etc.

If the Indian government is so sure and committed about bringing a suitable privacy law or data protection law, it can stop these controversial projects till the time these laws are formulated. But the government would not do so because it cannot afford to postpone project on the basis of an assurance that it never intends to fulfill.

Indian government is just gaining time and trying to mislead the civil liberties activists who are demanding for a privacy law for these unconstitutional projects.