Home / News / India /  Data protection bill: Government can access personal data under certain circumstances, says minister

Exceptional situations, such as threats to national security, pandemics or natural catastrophes, will allow the government access to personal information. Thus, the proposed data protection law will prevent any government from violating the privacy of its inhabitants in general, said Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

The proposed Data Protection Board will be autonomous and will not include any representatives from the executive branch of government. The board will make decisions on data protection-related issues, Chandrasekhar said.

Managing data anonymization is covered by the National Data Governance Framework Policy, according to the minister, who replied to a Twitter user who wondered if it was possible for the government to essentially violate the privacy of citizens.

Also Read: How does the new draft data protection bill affect you?

“The answer is no. The bill and laws lay out in very clear terms what are the exceptional circumstances under which the government can have access to the personal data of Indian citizens.... national security, pandemic, healthcare, natural disaster," said the minister.

"These are exceptions. Just like freedom of speech is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restriction, so is the right to data protection," he added.

Certain organisations that the government has designated as data fiduciaries are excluded from a number of requirements, including disclosing information for the purpose of data collecting, under the proposed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 (DPDP bill).

Also Read: Government releases draft of new data protection bill

Informing a person about the purpose of data collection, collecting data on children, assessing the risk to public order, appointing a data auditor and other provisions are among those from which government-notified entities will be exempt.

Under the "Right to Information about Personal Data," the measure would exclude government-notified data fiduciaries from disclosing information about data processing to data owners. Some people worry that the draft DPDP Bill's prohibition on sharing unverifiable and inaccurate information with data handling organisations would stop users from using anonymizing software on social media and other online platforms.

(With PTI inputs)


Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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