wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

On the Indian Government’s Data Protection committee

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) has set up a committee to look into data protection in India, even as the government of India argues in the Supreme Court that there is no fundamental right to privacy. The committee has 8 weeks to give its recommendations.

The committee consists of Justice BN Srikrishna, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, as its Chairperson, and the following members:

– Aruna Sundarajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom
– Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, UIDAI
– Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Meity
– Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Raipur (also CDAC)
– Gulshan Rai, National Security Co-ordinator
– Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director, IIM, Indore
– Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
– Rama Vedashree, CEO, Data Security Council of India

Joint Secretary, Meity, is the ‘Member convener’.

The committee will look into issues of data protection in India, and make specific suggestions for the consideration of the Central Government on principles to be considered for data protection in India, and suggest a draft data protection bill.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

It might “co-opt other members in the group for their specific inputs”.

MediaNama’s take

1. Privacy, data protection, data security: My sense is that there has been a concerted attempt to delineate Privacy from data protection and data security. Data Security is about looking into the security of databases and preventing unauthorised access, while data protection has been about looking into the policy aspects of access to data: who gets access to data, when and how, and how long can they hold it. Privacy is more of a rights issue: what right do citizens have over their own data, or companies over citizen data. At this point in time, there are three processes running:
1. This committee, looking into data protection
2. A parliamentary Standing Committee looking into security aspects (albeit of Aadhaar)
3. Cases in the Supreme Court, around the issue of a Fundamental Rights to Privacy

2. The lack of civil society representation in this committee is worrying: a former judge, two academics – one of whom is/was with CDAC and hence not an independent academic; five government officials; an industry organisation (DSCI); and someone who argued against the right to privacy in the Supreme Court (Arghya Sengupta of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy). As far as the constitution of a committee goes, this requires a multi-stakeholder approach, and there’s a key component of that missing, and there aren’t enough independent academics.

3. This needs a public consultation: DoT committees are typically unlike TRAI consultations. While the TRAI, easily the most transparent of regulators in India, invites public comments, does open house discussions, allows for counter comments, the government committees vary in their approach, but there is never an open house discussion. There was a public comments process on MyGov that the DoT undertook, for their committee on Net Neutrality. Under the last government, the DIPP also took public comments on ecommerce, where submissions were invited, not made public (until after I called out Amitabh Kant on lack of transparency).

It remains to be seen whether this committee will be as open as the TRAI, but given the time constraint (8 weeks), we have our doubts. If there isn’t an open house discussion, there should at least be a public consultation process.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



Looking at the definition of health data, it is difficult to verify whether health IDs are covered by the Bill.


The accession to the Convention brings many advantages, but it could complicate the Brazilian stance at the BRICS and UN levels.


In light of the state's emerging digital healthcare apparatus, how does Clause 12 alter the consent and purpose limitation model?


The collective implication of leaving out ‘proportionality’ from Clause 12 is to provide very wide discretionary powers to the state.


The latest draft is also problematic for companies or service providers that have nothing to with children's data.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ