Feb 2020 07

ORF Roundtable on the Personal Data Protection Bill

ORF Conference Hall, New Delhi

The Observer Research Foundation is organising a stakeholder consultation on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, the outcomes of which will be reported to the Joint Parliamentary Committee as a response to its call for comments. The Internet Democracy Project is participating.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 seeks to establish a robust data protection framework for India, where privacy, economic and security interests are respected in an increasingly data-driven world.

While the Bill does a commendable job in adapting global best practices to the Indian context, stakeholders have expressed concerns regarding special powers granted to the State that may dilute protection standards. For instance, section 35 empowers the Central Government to exempt government agencies from the application of all/any of the Act’s provisions when this is deemed necessary for safeguarding national interests like sovereignty, integrity, security, international relations and public order. Similarly, section 91 empowers the Central Government to direct a data fiduciary or processor to provide anonymized personal data or any non-personal data to enable targeted service-delivery and for making evidence-based policies.

This round table will:

1) Identify legitimate national security and economic/development interests that may warrant departures from general data protection norms.

2) Identify appropriate safeguards for these departures that balance competing interests.

The discussion will observe the Chatham House rule and ORF will report its outcomes to the Joint Parliamentary Committee as a response to its call for comments.

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