Cabinet clears data protection bill for tabling in parliament

The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, a legislation for protection of personal data, for tabling in Parliament, a move that will help put in place law that ensures privacy for the citizens.

“The protection of personal data is a very important subject globally,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar told a news conference after the cabinet meeting.
“Will not be able to share more details about the Bill as it will be introduced in the Parliament soon," said Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters in a briefing after the Cabinet meeting.  “How that will be done and how work will progress keeping India’s interest and people’s interest in mind, this is what this bill is about,” he added.
The Personal Data Protection bill, drafted by a panel headed by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna and submitted to the government last year, comes as a stumbling block for global tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and others for processing, storing and transferring Indian consumer data to their home countries or head offices.
The new law will also inconvenience foreign credit card firms such as Mastercard and Visa who will have to store their payments data locally for “unfettered supervisory access”.
Broad guidelines on collection, storage and processing of personal data, consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, code of conduct and an enforcement model is likely to be a part of the law.
Last week, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the government will soon introduce a robust and balanced Personal Data Protection law in the Parliament, adding that India will never compromise on data sovereignty.
The development comes amid a controversy involving WhatsApp, where the opposition inquired if the government negotiated any deal or did any business transaction with the Israel-based tech firm NSO that developed Pegasus spyware to spy on 1,400 users across the world, including 121 Indian journalists, activists. Last week, they also sought the government’s reply from Prasad if the government has made unauthorised use of the spyware.
In line with European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the government had last year introduced a draft personal data protection bill to regulate the use of individual’s data by the government and private companies.