[Answered] How far, in your opinion, Puttaswamy judgment has been able to ensure the proper right to privacy in India?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how Puttaswamy judgment has been able to ensure the proper right to privacy in India. Also, write some challenges in ensuring right t privacy.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Puttaswamy case resulted into declaration of right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Bench also held that while the right to privacy is still not an “absolute right” in and of itself, placing limitations in a manner similar to those placed on the right to free speech and expression.

Positive effects of recognition of the right to privacy:

  • This strengthens freedom of thoughts, expressions, beliefs etc.
  • Provides for protection against the state’s interference in the private matters including marriage, family & sex.
  • It helps in preventing the situation of surveillance by the state.
  • It gives boost to the rights of the transgender & LGBT as confirmed by scrapping of section 377 of IPC.
  • The dignity & integrity of a people’s body, mind & thoughts are protected through Right to privacy.
  • One can make the state accountable & seek justice in case of any infringement in the private zone & in case of unnecessary surveillance without consent.
  • This also challenges the validity of privacy policies of many companies and makes them transparent and accountable.

Prevalent Issues after the recognition of the right to privacy:

  • Data security breaches which result in the loss and theft of personal, sensitive data have not reduced in terms of measurable frequency or their impact. E.g. alleged use of the Pegasus spyware in India.
  • Elaborate phishing attacks and financial scams aided by the attacker’s access to personal information, as well as other harmful activities.
  • The security and integrity of their electronic devices are concerned.
  • The lack of protectionist legislative measures enables a surveillance state run by both the government and chronic capitalism. Especially during an emergency such as the Covid pandemic.
  • There is no independent data protection regulator, data subjects have limited rights, and there is almost no history of judicial enforcement of data privacy rights.

Way forward:

  • A Data Protection Authority (DPA), as an independent regulatory body responsible for the enforcement and effective implementation of the law must be established.
  • Sensitive personal data that like biometric should be prohibited for use without written consent.
  • The Central Government shall establish an appellate tribunal to hear and dispose of any appeal against an order of breach of privacy.
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