Justice BN Srikrishna to head committee to draft data protection framework

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 2, 2017

Government has constituted a Committee of experts under the chairmanship of a former Judge of Supreme Court Justice B N Srikrishna to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them. A data protection law will thus necessarily regulate the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which is responsible for maintaining Aadhaar data.

ET had also reported how the government has sought the help of a legal think tank - the Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy - which was instrumental in drafting of the Aadhaar Act as well as the Bankruptcy Code.

The issues of data protection and privacy are related and the apex court has been hearing cases significantly inclined towards the former.

As the distinction between "users" of ICT-enabled applications and "citizens" of the country become more and more conflated, it is critically important for the government to put in place a framework for the manner in which users' data can be protected. The committee comprises members from the government, academia and industry.

"Meity [ministry of electronics and information technology] shall, in consultation with the chairperson and members, collect necessary information and provide it to the committee within eight weeks of the date of this OM to start its deliberations on the subject", read the note. Given that the IT Act was written nearly two decades ago in 2000, and was last amended nearly 10 years ago in 2008, it is high time that the laws in this fast changing sector were re-examined.

The government's decision to focus on data protection comes on the back of a wave of privacy and data breaches in India - from corporates such as Reliance Jio, McDonalds and Zomato to government agencies that have leaked the Aadhaar and personal data of over 100 million Indian citizens.

Data protection is one of the facets of the right to privacy as a data protection law will protect your personal information, which is collected, processed and stored by "automated" means or intended to be part of a filing system.

The other members of the committee will include Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, MeitY, Rama Vedashree, CEO, Data Security Council of India, Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director, IIM, Indore and Rajat Moona, director, lIT, Raipur.

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