Revised Personal Data Protection Bill: One step forward, one step back

Source: The post is based on the article “Revised Personal Data Protection Bill: One step forward, one step back” published in the Indian Express on 22nd November 2022.

Syllabus: GS-2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: About the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

News: The Union government released the revised version of the Personal Data Protection Bill for public comment. The Bill is now called as the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

What are the salient features of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022?
Read here: Draft digital data protection Bill tabled for comments
What are the major changes in the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

Liberal on cross-border data: The earlier version of the Bill imposes stringent conditions on cross-border data flows. Companies were mandated to store a copy of “sensitive” personal data within India, while taking out “critical” personal data from the country was barred.

The new draft does not impose any such requirements on firms. They can now transfer the data to countries which are listed by the government. This will be welcomed not only by Big Tech but also by the burgeoning start-up ecosystem in the country.

What are the major concerns with the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

a) Wider exemptions are extended to government agencies from adhering to some of the provisions of the Bill along with limited safeguards, b) The new bill curtailed the independence and the extent of the authority vested in the proposed Data Protection Board, and c) The basis on which the government chooses a particular country is not yet clear.

Read more: Why the Personal Data Protection Bill is bad news for business
What needs to be done to improve the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill?

Implement the recommendations of the joint parliamentary committee: The committee’s study on an earlier version of the Bill suggested that the exemption provided under the Bill should be “just, fair, reasonable and proportionate procedure”. So, providing greater power to the government as opposed to an independent statutory authority, need to be re-examined.

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