Google Alert – Data Protection Bill may get Cabinet’s approval tomorrow (Spyware)

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may give approval to Personal Data Protection Bill that is expected to spell out a framework, which will include processing of personal and private data by public and private entities, among others.

Broad guidelines on collection, storage and processing of personal data, consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, code of conduct and an enforcement model is likely to be a part of the law.

“The Cabinet could take up data protection bill tomorrow,” a senior government official told Mint. The Bill thereafter will be introduced in the Parliament.

Last week, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government will soon introduce a robust and balanced Personal Data Protection law in the Parliament, adding that India will never compromise on data sovereignty.

The development comes amid a controversy involving WhatsApp, where the Opposition inquired if the government negotiated any deal or did any business transaction with the Isreal-based tech firm NSO that developed Pegasus spyware to spy on 1,400 users across the world, including 121 Indian journalists, activists. Last week, they also sought the government’s reply from Prasad if the government has made unauthorized use of the spyware.

In line with European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the government had last year introduced a draft personal data protection bill to regulate the use of individual’s data by the government and private companies.

The draft bill, titled The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was prepared by a high-level expert group headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna. However, there was delay pertaining to its approval amid inter-ministerial consultation.

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