November 18, 2019

Personal Data Protection Bill listed for Parliament's winter session

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]


The Lower House of the Parliament – Lok Sabha has released the tentative list of bills that the Indian Government is expected to introduce and pass during the upcoming Winter Session.

The Personal Data Protection Bill has been listed to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament, according to a notification on the Lok Sabha website. The long-awaited Bill shall deal with handling and processing of consumer data by corporate entities, and would introduce restrictions and penalties.

The draft Bill, which was released last year, created a huge controversy, with several global technology companies alleging that the move would curtail their ability of doing business in the country apart from driving cost of operations. The proposals are by and large based on a report submitted by former Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna in July 2018. There have been atleast least two updates to the draft Bill based on inputs received from industry since then.

While the final Bill is yet to take its final form, the draft version which was made public earlier, said that businesses were required to seek explicit consent for the data they collect on consumers. It would be indispensable for businesses to obtain consent from consumers to use their data sparingly and only for purposes stated, apart from storing “sensitive” consumer data only within Indian borders.

The Bill also recommends a fine of up to Rs. 15 crore or 4% of the firm’s turnover in case of a breach, and setting up of a data protection authority and an appellate authority that will settle such matters.

The proposed law shall alarmingly have far-reaching implications for global technology firms such as Google and Facebook that operate out of India. It shall also adversely affect the ease of doing business apart from introducing a host of regulatory compliance obligations. These companies have been arguing that the proposals will multiply their operating costs and, in some cases, prohibit delivering some internet services.

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