Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated on Wednesday that the government expects to execute the Digital Personal Data Protection bill within 10 months.
Despite a walkout by opposition members over the Manipur issue, the Rajya Sabha passed the Digital Data Protection Bill 2023 by a voice vote on Wednesday. The Bill, which was introduced six years after the Supreme Court declared that the “Right to Privacy” is a fundamental right, contains safeguards to prevent online platforms from abusing users’ personal data.
“We have started work on implementation. This kind of legislation will require a 6-10 month kind of frame. We will take every step with proper checks and balances. It is a guesstimate. We might do it faster than that,” Vaishnaw said.
He went on to elaborate on the guiding principles, saying that the quantity of data that should be collected should be kept to the minimum necessary and that it should only be used by the law and for the intended purpose.
Empowering Citizens with Data Control
According to Vaishnaw, citizens will have the right to correct their data, which should be stored by organizations until it is required and protected by putting in place reasonable safeguards.
“The provisions of the bill will apply to data of Indian citizens stored overseas as well. Any person in India, even foreign nationals will get protection under the bill,” he said.
In response to concerns regarding changes to the Right to Information Act, he said that the Puttaswamy judgment elevated the Right to Privacy to the status of a fundamental right. As a result, no personal information can be published in any public forum in any other way than through a method that has been permitted by the law.
V Vijayasai Reddy, a participant in the discussion from the YSR Congress Party, brought up the issue of software-enabled phone tapping.
According to Vaishnaw, phone tapping would be addressed by the Indian Telecommunication Bill and Digital India Act is not a problem under the DPDP 2023.
According to the minister, a new independent Data Protection Board (DPB) that is “digital by design” and will provide everyone in the country the same access to justice as privileged people of big cities like Delhi and Mumbai will be established.
According to Vaishnaw, the Centre is responsible for the subject of data privacy, and the legislation will evolve.
When asked if there will be a DPB at the state level, the minister said that DPBs are created at the Union level to prevent violators from abusing their authority.
The issue of politicians’ medical information being broadcast in the media and need to be protected as personal data was brought up by AIADMK M Thambidurai.
Vaishnaw said that the DPDP 2023 will not replace sectoral rules and that policies for the media will follow any applicable existing legislation.
“However, the healthcare department should not leak someone’s data without proper consent,” he said.
He also slammed the opposition for being silent during the discussion on the bill.
“Opposition has no interest in the rights of 140 crore people. They should have also participated and joined everyone in passing the bill,” Vaishnaw said.