Any data extraction law must pass a privacy test

News: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 has the objective of letting the authorities bio-tag law-breakers in their records for a watchful eye to be kept on them. The concern of citizens is the lack of a privacy framework that can restrict unauthorized use and the safety of data collected.

What are the provisions of the bill and related issues?

The bill proposed to enlarge the scope of what could be accessed under the Identification of Prisoners Act of 1920. It will be enlarged to include iris and retina scans, analysis of physical and biological samples, and ‘behavioural attributes’ such as a person’s signature. These will be retained by the National Crime Records Bureau for 75 years.

There, however, is lack of clarity on whom the bill will include. As far as bio samples are concerned the consent of arrested individual is mandatory, except when offence is a sexual offence or provides for a minimum punishment of 7 years. However, in practical application this right could get lost as awareness levels remain low and few can count on a pre-trial ‘right to remain silent’.

Way forward: DNA and biometric grabs are valuable crime-solving aids today. Still, this needs to be filtered by our basic right to privacy.

Source: This post is created based on the article “Any data extraction law must pass a privacy test” Published on 1st April 2022 in Live Mint.

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