NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Allowing law enforcement to carry out “unauthorized privacy violations will have to make sure that the research is not compromised, a senior government official told Reuters on Wednesday, amid concerns that India’s privacy laws, which will increase the supervision.
FILE PHOTO: An officer is looking at their computer screens in a police war room to monitor social media posts in Jaipur in the desert state of Rajasthan on 3 December 2018. REUTERS/Aditya Kalra
The Protection of Personal Information Bill, refer to the data of the Indian users is to be stored, handled and transferred in and apply for technology companies, and government agencies.
However, the bill says a public body can be exempt from the law, in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, or for the prevention of incitement of certain offences, a provision that privacy advocates said would allow the agencies to abuse the access.
The official, who is directly involved with the proposal and declined to be identified because the talks are ongoing, said the waivers were necessary for law enforcement agencies, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s version of the American FBI that it needs to access and analyze the data.
“This is a time when an agency that can do it is competent for privacy violations, with a system of checks and balances,” the official said.
India’s information technology minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said on Wednesday that the bill would be sent to a parliamentary panel for further review.
The government will have to come up with a list of organizations to be exempted from some or all of the privacy bill, the senior official added.
Other provisions can have an impact on large technology companies such as Facebook and Alphabet, Inc. Google, the ’empowerment’ of the government to request information from the user.
The proposed government exemptions that have alarmed privacy advocates.
Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia / pacific, policy director, Access Now, an international digital rights organization, said they were “deeply concerning” and said the current monitoring of the guarantees were insufficient.
The bill allows the government to exempt any agency from the act, if doing so is “necessary or appropriate,” without defining those terms.
“In the absence of an explanation of what is necessary and useful, it is dangerous, there needs to be a body of multi-stakeholders in these reviews to make decisions,” said Kriti Trehan, a partner who specializes in technology law at the Law Offices of Panag & Babu.
Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Additional reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Gerry Doyle