The Centre’s decision to withdraw the much-anticipated Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, from Parliament has thrown into the spotlight the ever-present issue of the privacy of our data online. While the bill had its set of issues in terms of the powers it planned to give to government agencies, data breaches have been a major problem across the world.
Announcing the withdrawal of the bill on Wednesday, Union information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the decision was based on several amendments proposed by the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) and the government would introduce a new bill instead. The committee had been deliberating on the bill since it was introduced in Parliament in 2019.
As more social and economic activity goes digital, the necessity of privacy and data protection is becoming more widely understood. In 2018, India reportedly had a massive data breach of its Aadhaar database, exposing over a billion IDs of Indian citizens. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report in 2019 found it to be the largest such breach that year.
A report by the Netherlands-based cybersecurity firm, Surfshark VPN, shows India ranked second among countries worldwide with the most data breaches in the first half of 2022. According to an IBM analysis, the global average cost of a data breach for surveyed organizations reached an all-time high of $4.35 million.
As per IBM’s most recent report, “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022″, India ranked 14th globally in terms of the average cost of a data breach. In India, the average cost of a data breach grew to $2.32 million in 2022, up from $2.21 million last year. That is an increase from $2.00 million in 2020.
The breach of data is not just confined to personal information. On Tuesday, the government told the Parliament that Indian private banks reported the most data breaches between June 2018 and March 2022 in attacks that stole business and personal information. According to government data, fraud amounting to ₹6,861 crore was reported by private and public sector banks in the first quarter of the current financial year. Livemint