The report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill was tabled in both Houses of Parliament on December 16, bringing us one step closer to India’s first data protection law.
Among its recommendations, the JPC has suggested keeping the minimum age of consent at 18, bringing governance of non-personal data within its ambit, etc. However, the report has also led to seven dissent notes being filed and objections from industry bodies like the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Lok Sabha MP P.P. Chaudhary, chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, spoke to MediaNama in a wide-ranging interview on various provisions of his committee’s recommendations to the Bill. Here are the excerpts of that conversation.
On Children’s Data
MediaNama: One thing that is new in the report, is that the age of consent has been increased to 18. With the amount of digitisation we’re seeing, and young people are coming on to the internet now more than ever, especially when we look at above the age of 14, then wouldn’t it lead to a sort of disenfranchisement if they have to go back to their parents on how they use, explore the internet, how their data is collected?
P.P. Chaudhary: “Because now, during this digital age, so many things are to be found on the various type of websites that are there. So we have not changed the age, that bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha before the Parliament the age of the child, meaning of the child had been defined, which means the person who had not completed 18 years. So no doubt, various stakeholders at the time when they were giving their evidence before the Committee for hearings. The suggestion we were receiving was tat the age should be 16 years or some suggested 14 years. But that is the tender age. So medically, if we see all these things, the maturity comes only after 18 years. So everywhere it is followed that the person becomes mature at the age of 18 years. Then why it should be reduced from 18 to 16 in the data protection law? When everywhere, in all the law, we are treating the age of maturity as 18 years then why specific provisions should be made here in Data Protection Law? And this is more serious, look into the various websites. So therefore the consent of the parent is necessary and there after once the person attains maturity they can give their consent and the services will not be stopped. There is no point when everywhere in all the law connected to the content, do you think there is a majority is either ingenious then, where a specific prohibition should be made here to get the protection law? And this is a more serious look in the various medicine. So that would be consent of the and necessary. And then after wrestling the question, then the majority, then he can give his consent again and this service will not be stopped.”
MediaNama: Right but for someone that age, we explore the internet so much of that time, but coming back to their parents and each time to get consent for the data being collected. Wouldn’t that lead to hampering of business interests as well, with EdTech coming around?
P.P. Chaudhary: “No, not at all. We have to maintain the fine balance between business and social spectrum. We are not required to see- we are a society, we have to see the development of our children, we have to see the so many other social aspect of the issue. Not only the business. We are not concerned about the business of the companies, we are also concerned about the social aspect. We are not concerned about the business of the company. Therefore the age of 18 years, which is the age of maturity, not in this law of data protection it is available in all the laws so there is nothing wrong in it for keeping the age 18 years”
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MediaNama: We’ve seen 6-7 dissent notes, with allegations that big tech lobbying impacted the provisions for penalties on data fiduciaries. Would you like to respond to that?
P.P. Chaudhary: “Basically, I can tell you from the proceedings of the committee the involvement and contribution of all these members who have submitted their dissent notes their contribution is a great and I appreciate their role in the committee. Everywhere, we deliberated and everything we approved unanimously. But the dissent notea are politically motivated. And I would not like to say is whether the member is competent but to my mind these are not the D-I-S-S-E-N-T note, these are D-E-C-E-N-T notes. So I term these as they, if you remove the political outcome, then basically they are not dissent notes but decent notes.”
To know what else the Joint Committee chairman said, WATCH this video:
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