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.

Technical Glitch With Google Search Engine Results

Dear readers of our Blogs Cyber Laws In India and Techno Legal News And Views Form India (TLNAV). We are having some issues with the Blog search results and web search results of Google India.

As a measure of precaution and to defeat any possible rouge editor or sub editor in India or elsewhere from manipulating Google India’s results, we are forced to post our articles, news, views, etc at multiple platforms. This process will also defeat any unethical and illegal search engine otimisation (SEO) that may have adverse impact upon search engine results.

Although we strictly discourage cross postings and multiple postings, they may continue for the time being till things do take the right shape.

We regret any inconvenience to any person, institution, reader, Google, etc. Kindly bear with us, if possible.

Crime And Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project Of India

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project of India (CCTNS Project) is one of the most important projects of India. It has the potentials to bring the much needed and great police reforms in India. At the same time it can magnificently increase the police powers and their capabilities. As the power increases, so must be the accountability, transparency and responsibility. It is at this point that CCTNS Project of India fails drastically.

Although CCTNS project is a very ambitious project of Indian government yet it is not supported by any legal framework that can provide safeguard against its misuses. On the one hand we have CCTNS that is the most comprehensive modernisation and reformative initiative of government of India to streamline law enforcement in India till date. On the other hand the project is in its initial stage and it may face both technical as well as legal challenges and civil liberties issues.

The truth is that the present projects like Aadhar/UID, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), CCTNS, etc are simply unconstitutional in the absence of good and effective privacy laws, data protection laws and many such similar laws. However, the government of India is pushing these projects very hard due to industrial lobbying and to provide unlawful and illegal gain to some companies. Now the question arises what is CCTNS project and from where it is deriving its authority?

CCTNS is a plan scheme conceived in the light of experience of a non-plan scheme namely - Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA). CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Pan of Govt of India. CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing through adopting of principle of e-Governance and creation of a nationwide networking infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled-state-of-the-art tracking system around 'Investigation of crime and detection of criminals'.

The objectives of the Scheme can broadly be listed as follows:

1. Make the Police functioning citizen friendly and more transparent by automating the functioning of Police Stations.

2. Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usage of ICT.

3. Provide the Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology and information to facilitate investigation of crime and detection of criminals.

4. Improve Police functioning in various other areas such as Law and Order, Traffic Management etc.

5. Facilitate Interaction and sharing of Information among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and other Police Agencies.

6. Assist senior Police Officers in better management of Police Force.

7. Keep track of the progress of Cases, including in Courts.

8. Reduce manual and redundant Records keeping.

Under the CCTNS Project, approx. 14,000 Police Stations throughout the country has been proposed to be automated.

The modernisation of police force in India cannot be successfully achieved till India acquires a techno-legal expertise. However, at least a good beginning has been made by Indian government and it would go a long way in modernisation of law enforcement in India. The government must, however, enact a suitable legal framework that can protect civil liberties of Indians from excessive police acts.