#Privacy: New Data Protection Bill to arrive before parliament soon, says India minister

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian government’s Union Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, has said that a new Data Protection Bill will soon be ready for the Indian parliament.

The Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 is built upon recommendations made by the government-constituted higher panel headed by the country’s former Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna. According to reports, the Bill imposes limitations and specific conditions on companies and organisations relating to cross-border transfer of personal data.

The Bill puts forward the suggestion of establishing a Data Protection Authority of India to offer data privacy and data processing guidance, and to help reduce risk of personal information being misused. It will also aim to address the Reserve Bank of India’s circular which requires all “data relating relating to payment systems” are “stored in a system only in India”.

In a keynote before audiences at the CyFy2019 conference, Prasad did not lay out the Data Protection Bill in detail, but stated that it would have a practical perspective on all internet-related issues, such as availability, accessibility, neutrality and commerce, and that each of these functions would operate in a coordinated manner.

Prasad acknowledged the Indian government’s support of providing free and accessible internet connectivity through various gates, while underlining how the country’s politicians had to impose some restrictions to reduce the risk of terrorists taking advantage of the privacy plea. He regretted that some apps, such as WhatsApp, are not doing nearly enough to combat the rise in terror-related cyber-crime.

The Indian Minister reaffirmed his government’s obligation to clamp down on fake news, and said that regulations would be brought in to check information abuse channelling through popular apps and internet platforms.

Pointing to social media hubs such as Facebook and WhatsApp, he said that the networks that do most business in India are should be making more effort to work with the Indian government to help bring down platform abuse by exposing the origin of unlawful messages being posted, along with the senders’ identity.


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