How Union budget 2023 may foster greater violations of privacy

Source– The post is based on the article “How Union budget 2023 may foster greater violations of privacy” published in The Indian Express on 21th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Science and Technology

Relevance: Privacy related issues

News- The article emphasis  the need for robust data protection law.

What are provisions in the budget related to digitisation?

The 2023 Union Budget promises to be a landmark year for technology and digitisation in India.

The Digital India Programme  has been allotted Rs 4,795.24 crore

There is a 1,000 per cent increase in the funding for the Artificial Intelligence and Digital Intelligence Unit.

What are the potential risks associated with Digitisation?

Digitisation entails ever-expanding data collection, storage and sharing. This includes personal information such as biometrics and financial and health data.

Many of the initiatives announced with the budget reinforce the deep discord between the pace of digitisation efforts which will aggravate the existing privacy deficit in India.

What is current digital privacy protection legal concern?

Current anonymisation techniques are inadequate and do not guarantee privacy protection.

The Current Draft of Digital Data Protection Bill 2022 falls short and fails to incorporate safeguards.

This Draft 2022 is even weaker than Draft 2021.

The 2021 draft imposed a penalty for the intentional reidentification of an individual’s anonymised personal information. This provision has been done away with, amplifying concerns around insufficient limitations and safeguards for privacy.

What is the next initiative of the government?

A National Data Governance Policy will be brought out  to enable access to anonymised data (Union Budget 2023–24)

Anonymised data includes data that does not contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like name, age, phone number, address, etc, or data from which PII has been removed.

What is the way forward?

The World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023 finds that data privacy and cybersecurity regulations are effective for reducing cyber risks.

So for the potential of anonymised data to be unleashed without jeopardising people’s privacy, India first needs a robust data protection law.

As the country starts its G20 presidency and prepares to be a leader in this space, we should do well to prioritise the development of exemplary, rights-respecting privacy and cybersecurity regimes.

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