Monday, June 21, 2010

Data Protection, Privacy Rights And Civil Liberties In India

Cjnews Platform

Indian cyberspace is devoid of human rights activists who can protect the rights of Indians in cyberspace. Fortunately, we have an exception in the form of Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and leading techno-legal expert of India. He has been fighting against the governmental anarchy and arbitrariness for many years. In particular, he has suggested that projects like Aadhar/UID, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), etc are violative of provisions of Indian Constitution, hence are unconstitutional.

Till now no NGO or individual has taken such a bold stand. Similarly, no NGO or individual has also inspired the GOI so much to formulate effective data protection and privacy law as has been done by Praveen Dalal. We salute his incessant quest for protection of civil liberties of Indians.

It seems the government of India (GOI) has finally accepted the suggestions of Praveen Dalal regarding enacting data protection and privacy laws in India. The GOI has decided “once more” to enact laws pertaining to data protection and privacy rights for Indians. While this is very good news but we are not sure whether this would materialise or would be just another time gaining tactics of GOI. In the past as well the GOI has failed to do so.

Till now it is clear that GOI does not possess the requisite expertise to formulate a comprehensive privacy and data protection law for India. Times and again there were incidences when the GOI promised to enact laws to prevent violation of civil liberties of Indians, yet they proved to be mere words and negative tactics of gaining time. Even the assurance of Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of Aadhar project of India and UIDAI, proved to be of the same type and no law was finally offered by him for UIDAI till date.

However, the civil liberty activists of India were never on rest. The quest for privacy law and data protection law started when dissatisfied with the pathetic conditions of human rights in India, Praveen Dalal launched the first ever Human Rights Centre of India. The Centre started keeping a close eye upon the unconstitutional projects like Aadhar, Natgrid, CCTNS, etc. Simultaneously, a separate initiative titled “Aadhar Watch Initiative” was also launched by him to analyse the constitutionality of the aadhar project.

These initiatives are too important and too active to be ignored by GOI. They have also inspired the GOI to enact the proposed privacy and data protection law. Let us hope that this time the GOI is serious and may take the help of these initiatives, if need arises.