Personal Data Protection Bill:
The government has withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill from Parliament as it considers a “comprehensive legal framework” to regulate the online space, including bringing separate laws on data privacy, the overall Internet ecosystem, cybersecurity, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data to boost innovation in the country.
- The government has taken this step after nearly four years of the Bill being in the works.
- It had gone through multiple iterations, including a review by a Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP), and faced major pushback from a range of stakeholders including big tech companies such as Facebook and Google, and privacy and civil society activists.
- The tech companies had, in particular, questioned a proposed provision in the Bill called data localisation, under which it would have been mandatory for companies to store a copy of certain sensitive personal data within India, and the export of undefined “critical” personal data from the country would be prohibited.
- The activists had criticised, in particular, a provision that allowed the central government and its agencies blanket exemptions from adhering to any and all provisions of the Bill.
- The delays in the Bill had been criticised by several stakeholders, who had pointed out that it was a matter of grave concern that India, one of the world’s largest Internet markets, did not have a basic framework to protect people’s privacy.