Auguring well for data privacy – The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 shows an evolution in legislative reasoning | 12 August 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 which shows an evolution in legislative reasoning.


  • GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation;
  • Prelims


  • Introduction to the Right to Privacy in India:
    • In 2017, the Supreme Court of India recognised an individual right to privacy as part of the larger right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.
    • The ruling overturned almost four decades of jurisprudence and created a watershed moment in India's constitutional history.
  • Need for data protection regime in India:
    • The right to privacy is vital to safeguard informational autonomy in an era where digital economies are fuelling national and international ambitions of more efficient and lucrative exploitation of personal data.
    • The Supreme Court's ruling in Puttaswamy I highlighted the need for India to develop its domestic data protection regime.
  • Legislative efforts towards data protection in India:
    • The Indian government constituted the Srikrishna committee to provide detailed inputs on establishing India's data protection law, which did so in 2018.
    • In December 2019, a Bill was tabled in Parliament (PDP Bill 2019), which was immediately referred to a joint-parliamentary committee.
    • The DPDP Bill 2023 was passed by Parliament in August 2023.
  • Key features of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023:
    • The DPDP Bill 2023 provides for a foundation for data protection in India.
    • The Bill shows an evolution in legislative reasoning, distancing itself from ideas of data localisation to establish more liberal and free-flowing data access.
    • The provisions around the establishment of a Data Protection Board (DPB) now closely mirror similar provisions for regulators and quasi-judicial bodies in other legislation.
  • Comparison between the PDP Bill 2019 and the DPDP Bill 2023:
    • The excessive leeway afforded to the state and state entities for processing personal data was a key concern in the PDP Bill 2019 and seems to have been carried forward even in the DPDP Bill 2023.
    • Contentious provisions like the novel provision stipulating “deemed consent” have been dropped in the DPDP Bill 2023.
    • The DPDP Bill 2023 shows a significant alteration in stance on cross-border data sharing, signalling India's intent of harnessing its start-up sector in lieu of a heavy-handed clamp-down through stringent legislation.

Way Forward:

  • The DPDP Bill 2023 provides a foundation for digital rights in India and is an optimistic one. While the challenge of governmental overreach certainly persists, this Bill (and eventual law) will not be the last, but instead be the first shot fired in the movement to establish an ecosystem where digital rights drive digital innovation and adoption.

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