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Data Protection Under Information Technology Act

In recent times there has been a lot of tension between China and other countries like India, U.S.A, Taiwan etc. The main reason for those tensions is different but one thing which got a lot of spotlights was the importance of Digital Data. In India, there was Anti-China sentiment due to which there was a wave of people opposing Chinese apps and products, this then resulted in the Government of India banning over 220 Chinese apps because of security issues.

It is widely said that the following warfare isn't visiting be fought with nuclear weapons but rather goes to be a Cyber War, which signifies how important it's to shield a country's digital data. Data may be broadly classified into public data and private data. Public data is that which is accessible to the general public at large, such as, Court records, birth records, death records, basic company details.

On the opposite hand, private data is personal to an individual/ organization and can't freely be disseminated by anybody without the prior permission of the topic. It includes financial details, family details, browsing details, preferences, psychological characteristics, locations and travel history, behaviour, abilities, photographs, aptitudes, and therefore the like. It could even be a mix of those features or perhaps inferences drawn from the refined data.

India currently doesn't have laws specifically for data protection, India's regulatory mechanism for data protection and privacy is that the Information Technology Act, 2000 (the IT Act) and it's corresponding Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (the IT Rules). Personal data is additionally protected under Article 21 of The Indian Constitution which guarantees to each citizen Right to Privacy as a fundamental right.

The IT Act, 2000 does have few provisions which tackle crimes associated with personal data, the relevant sections of the act are Section 43A, 72 and 72A. 43A talks about the responsibility and therefore the liability on any corporate body which possesses personal or sensitive data and are negligent in implementing and maintaining reasonable security measure and procedures, thus if they causing any loss or wrongful gain to anyone are prone to pay damages to the affected person. Section 69A of the Data Technology Act, 2000, was introduced in 2008 by an amendment. It allows the Central government the facility to dam public access to any information online (websites or mobile apps).

Under Section 69A, if a web site threatens India's defence, its sovereignty, integrity, friendly relations with foreign countries, and public order, the govt. can ban it, after following due procedure. Section 72 talks about the penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy, it states that:
if a person who, in pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder has secured access to any the electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or another material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such the electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material to the other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which can be two years, or with fine which can touch one lakh rupees, or with both .

Section 72A deals with Punishment for disclosure of data in breach of a lawful contract, it states any individual including an intermediary who, while providing services under the terms of a lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent to cause or knowing that he's likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to the other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which can reach three years, or with fine which can reach five lakh rupees, or with both.

As per section 79 of the Data Technology Act, 2000 ("IT Act"), an intermediary won't be held responsible for any third party information, data, or communication links provided or hosted by it, providing the intermediary's functionality is proscribed to providing access to a communication system to which information provided by third parties is transmitted, temporarily stored or hosted or if the intermediary:
  1. does not initiate the transmission,
  2. select the receiver of the transmission, and
  3. select/modify the knowledge contained within the transmission
On December 11, 2019, the non-public Data Protection Bill,2019 was introduced within the lower house of the parliament, which is that the Lok Sabha, the bill aims to supply certain rights to a private with relevancy their personal data. These include seeking confirmation on whether their personal data has been processed, correction, completion or removal of their data, transfer of knowledge to other fiduciaries, and restricting continuing disclosure of their personal data.

Any processing of non-public data may be done given that the consent is given by data principal. except rights granted to a private the bill also provides sure as shooting standards for the govt. and firms incorporated in India and also foreign companies having operations in India.

Though the bill could be a great move by India to control and strengthen the cyber laws although there are some objections thereto, one in each of them being the data localization, big companies like Facebook, Google, Uber, a Twitter et al will found physical data centres in India for data storage in step with the proposed bill. it's also said that the move would increase the burden on new start-ups because the cost of operations would increase as nowadays everything is being done online. it's also said that the bill gives power and simple access to the government. to the info because it allows the processing of private data within the interests of the protection of the state if authorized and in line with the procedure established by law. The bill continues to be at an early stage and changes within the bill would be proposed once the parliament is in session.

Nevertheless, the bill could be a much-needed change within the laws, with time and technological advancements cybercrimes are only visiting increase and without proper laws in situ the institutions protecting the rights of the citizen would crumble, as rightly said by great Charles Darwin if the misery be caused not by the law of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin

Written By:
  1. Pratyush Jain and
  2. Vishesh Kumar

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