Excerpt from Moneycontrol Article – Published on Aug 07, 2023
On August 7, Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, responded to criticisms against the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, particularly concerning government exemptions. He argued that similar regulations worldwide, including those in the European Union, provide more exemptions. Addressing the Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw emphasized practicality over bureaucracy, questioning whether authorities should prioritize data notices during emergencies or safeguarding lives. He pointed out that while the DPDP Bill offers four exemptions, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has 16.
This statement follows criticism of the bill’s provision allowing the government to exempt its agencies from its regulations. Opposition MPs had voiced concerns when the bill was introduced on August 3. Vaishnaw accused the opposition of neglecting “people’s interest” and not engaging in constructive debate.
Vaishnaw highlighted the bill’s extensive consultation process, involving 38 organizations, 39 ministries, and 24,000 stakeholder comments. He noted that the bill uses the pronoun “she” as a symbol of women’s empowerment and mandates platforms to notify users in 24 Indian languages when collecting their data.
The DPDP Bill incorporates several data protection provisions. It establishes the principles of legality, purpose limitation, data minimalization, accuracy, storage limitation, and reasonable safeguards. Vaishnaw underscored that the bill is a result of years of deliberation by various committees and joint parliamentary discussions.
While urging for healthy debates, he criticized opposition MPs for their lack of concern for citizens’ rights, accusing them of mere sloganeering. Vaishnaw emphasized the bill’s efforts to balance data protection with practical considerations, aiming to ensure citizens’ interests are safeguarded while allowing authorities to respond effectively to emergencies and criminal activities.
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