Data protection laws are a set of laws, rules, policies and regulations which help in maintaining the privacy of a certain individual and govern that no personal data of any individual comes out in public without their consent and also deals with the penalties of such offences.
The Right to Privacy has been recently recognized as a fundamental right in the case of Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. vs. Union of India and Ors. This case was popularly known as the “Aadhaar case” in which a 9 judge bench of the supreme court identified the right to privacy as a fundamental right subject to certain reasonable restrictions. It was regarding the constitutionality of biometric data used by Aadhaar and its relevance. The 9 judge bench declared that the right to privacy from now onwards will be considered a part of article 21 of the constitution and disapproved the request for using the Aadhaar numbers for private institutions as it violated the right to privacy. It was previously recognized under the constitution of India under Article 19(1)(a), 19(2) and Article 21.
India currently does not have legislation of its own governing data protection because the data protection bill is still in the stage of infancy and it's being argued in parliament both houses of parliament reportedly granted a fourth extension to the joint parliamentary committee to submit its report on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. This bill is very important especially in the current scenario where our life is completely dependent on the internet, without which we get handicapped but along with the pros there are a lot of cons that need to be kept in mind while using the internet and one of those is the leak of data which recently happened with Facebook and Dominos and therefore there is a dire need of staunch privacy laws.
India presently does not have any express legislation governing data protection or privacy. However, the relevant laws in India dealing with data protection are the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the (Indian) Contract Act, 1872. A codified law on the subject of data protection is likely to be introduced in India in the near future. Currently, we rely on the information technology act 2000 and information technology rules 2011 but these are deemed incompetent owing to the massive change in internet regulation in recent years, the demand has increased drastically and so has the breach, it is preeminent to bring out legislation specifically and vigilantly curated to deal with India’s privacy needs.
Following the changing patterns of consumption, an amendment has been made in the consumer protection act 2019 such as reducing the fees, making protection more accessible to all punishment on the production of spurious goods etc. these are all done in order to increase protection for the consumers from corporate giants who have little value of people’s life and money and make it difficult for people to sue them which leads to the continuation of these erroneous means of trade.
This has become easier for them because it is now easier to trace people’s preferences through their search engines and show advertisements regarding the same. This is also done through cookies, most websites nowadays make it essential to accept cookies in order to access the websites, these cookies make it easier for them to trace people’s choices and retract personal information which is then at their perusal. Even though these acts solve minor problems at their end it is the need of the hour to address these problems extensively and the data protection bill aims at that and therefore it is pertinent for it to be released at the soonest.
Many steps are being taken globally to combat the breach of privacy. Many states of the US which followed the General data protection regulation GDPR put forward by the European Union are now shifting to drafting their own laws safeguarding privacy because GDPR is a general provision and does not cater to specific needs posed by the current scenario in different states. One such example of the state data privacy and protection act is the CCPA California consumer privacy act 2018. It is the most stringent state privacy regulation today in the US, it purviews all activities of all companies and enables the consumers to pull out the data sharing to third parties unlike previous laws and has increased the amount and number of penalties available in case of a breach.
India should take inspiration from CCPA and various similarly present privacy regulation act and implement it in order to safeguard personal data of the consumers and increase their interest in the digital atmosphere because it has become the need of the hour and also stringent penalties should be exercised following a breach which reaffirms the faith of the people in the legislations. The condition of India’s privacy has today is pitiful but a pertinent change is expected in the near future.