Personal Data Protection Bill may be tabled in Parliament in 1st week of winter session: Source


PTI, Nov 13, 2021, 8:12 AM IST

New Delhi: The Personal Data Protection Bill, which is being examined by a parliamentary panel, is likely to be tabled in Parliament in the first week of the winter session, sources said on Friday.

The Joint Committee of Parliament, chaired by BJP MP PP Chaudhary, met here on Friday to discuss a draft report on the Bill but could not adopt it as some more amendments have been suggested to the proposed legislation, they said.

The sources said the committee will meet again on November 22 to adopt a draft report on the bill.

The committee has held wide discussions on the bill with various stakeholders, including social media giants like Twitter and Facebook, e-commerce players, and telcos.

The draft of the bill, approved by the Cabinet in December 2019, proposes to put restrictions on the use of personal data without the explicit consent of citizens.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in February last year. Later, it was referred to the Joint Committee of Parliament then headed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. It was drafted following a Supreme Court judgement in August 2017 that declared ‘Right to Privacy’ a fundamental right.

The need for a strong personal data protection regime was further highlighted by the apex court in its judgement in September 2018 in which it held Aadhaar as a constitutionally valid scheme but struck down some provisions in the Aadhaar Act.

According to the provisions of the bill, all Internet companies will have to mandatorily store critical data of individuals within the country. However, they can transfer sensitive data overseas after the explicit consent of the data owner to process it only for purposes permissible under the proposed legislation.

Critical data will be defined by the government from time to time. Data related to health, religious or political orientation, biometrics, genetic, sexual orientation, health, financial, and others have been identified as sensitive data.

Social media companies will be required to come up with a mechanism to identify users on their platform who are willing to be identified voluntarily. It will be voluntary for individuals if they want to get verified or not.

The bill had provisions to grant the right to be forgotten to data owners as well as the right to erase, correct, and porting of data.

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