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DPDP Bill set to be tabled in Lok Sabha, tomorrow, August 3

The much-awaited Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, is set to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on August 3, bringing India closer to its first legislation that looks into protecting citizens’ data and brings in provisions that direct how a person’s data can be used by entities.

The bill will be introduced by Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ashwini Vaishnaw, said the agenda for Lok Sabha for August 3.

“Ashwini Vaishnaw to move for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process such personal data for lawful purposes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto,” the agenda read.

The introduction of the bill comes on the backdrop of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and Communications tabling a report wherein it endorsed the DPDP bill and called for its speedy enactment into a law.

Earlier this month, the DPDP Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet. The bill was first released in 2022, after which it has undergone several rounds of consultations. The government has made several changes to the bill based on these consultations.

A data protection law has been sought by various sections of society ever since the Right to Privacy was deemed as fundamental – with reasonable restrictions – by the Supreme Court in 2017.

Since then, the idea of a data protection bill has gone through several forms and shapes. The Personal Data Protection Bill was introduced in 2018 and tabled in 2019, after which it was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The panel studied the bill for two years and presented its report and a modified PDP Bill in December 2021.

What are some of DPDP Bill’s key features?

  • The bill introduces the concept of deemed consent, where consent of the data principal for processing his or her data is assumed and does not need to be explicitly sought
  • The bill introduces the concept of “whitelisting” countries, where the data of Indian citizens can be transferred
  • The bill states that a data fiduciary (platform) cannot track or monitor the behaviour of children. However, the definition of children in the bill as someone below 18 years of age has been a pain point for some companies

What is the criticism levelled against the DPDP Bill?
The government has been criticised for giving itself wide exemptions from provisions of the bill. Retired judge BN Srikrishna, who headed the committee that drafted the PDP Bill in 2018, said the exemptions in the bill were far “worse” when compared to the PDP Bill.


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