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India unveils reworked data protection bill draft after ‘extensive consultations’

Categories Biometrics News  |  ID for All
India unveils reworked data protection bill draft after ‘extensive consultations’

India’s federal government has released a new draft bill for public comment on personal data protection after months of extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders.

Labeled the Digital Data Protection Act 2022, the reworked draft bill has been described by the union minister for railways, communications, electronics and information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw as balanced in scope and favorable for India’s digital economic growth, reports the Financial Times (FT).

“We had very extensive consultations with all the stakeholders, including the civil society groups, […] industry [and] the start-up ecosystem. And this bill is basically an outcome of all these consultations,” the minister is quoted as telling the publication.

Vaishnaw added that during the consultations to draft the new text, experts studied personal data protection and best practices drawing inspiration from similar laws elsewhere, such as in the EU and the US.

As India is one of the world hubs of digital technology, the idea is to have a document that reflects the realities of the moment and one that creates an atmosphere favorable to driving economic growth, FT mentions.

Meanwhile, other reports on the draft bill, such as that by Business Today, mention that the draft text expands the rights of individuals to keep their data safe and prescribes somewhat strict guidelines on how those who collect data should store and manage it.

The bill, the article notes, gives individuals full authority over the control of their data. It also contains new provisions about how the personal data of children should be collected and managed.

Cross-border data-sharing issues are also addressed in the draft text. Per the document, data sharing with “certain notified countries and territories” is now permitted, provided they have laws guaranteeing the safety of the shared data, notes TechCrunch.

This is seen as good news for lobby group Asia Internet Coalition, which had called on India to permit cross-border data sharing, not allowed according to the previous bill that was withdrawn earlier this year.

The new personal data protection draft bill published for a public appraisal is reportedly the fourth since India began efforts in 2017 to implement such legislation, following a Supreme Court ruling on an Aadhaar biometrics case.

Since then, there have been disagreements over respective texts proposed by the government.

Comments on the new document are expected by 17 December as the Indian administration looks to have parliamentary approval for it within the first half of 2023.

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