The 21st century has had its series of highs and lows in Privacy and Data Protection (PDP) regime but never so many, in such short a time.
Over the past twelve months, we have stood witness as a series of important developments with respect to privacy and data protection have morphed from mere deliberations into robust legislations around the world.
Businesses and individuals the world over are in a flux today, as significant laws such as European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) combined with its forthcoming ePrivacy Directive, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Thailand’s draft Personal Data Protection Act, take shape and change the very way information is transacted and processed in the respective countries.
Even though regulations are evolving in cadence with the needs of the data-driven age, the process of compliance is laced with challenges. For instance, established channels for cross-border data transfer like privacy shield have encountered a setback as the European Parliament has voted to suspend privacy shield until given conditions are met.
Nevertheless, the unprecedented and bold regulations the world over have paved the way for the initiation of a similar transformation in India aimed at strengthening the rights of data principals.
India has been vigilant and has kept its ear to the ground. The judgement recognising privacy as a fundamental right passed on August 24, 2017, was just a headwind aimed at pushing the country to the shore of a robust privacy and data protection framework.
Even though the journey has just begun and there are challenges to be surmounted, BN Srikrishna Committee has accomplished a tremendous feat by submitting a comprehensive report along with the draft of the privacy bill.
This bill, once it comes into effect would not only safeguard the personal data of Indian citizens, customers or data principals but also bring about a transformational journey from collection to the use of personal data, especially with respect to Indian businesses
For multinationals, the key challenge will be to abide by the growing asks around data localisation. Another crucial aspect of the law is that it will enhance the sense of privacy amongst businesses, propel innovation, and further contribute to the Digital India movement.
With this, India will be reckoned as a privacy-conscious nation, undertaking adequate measures for the protection of personal data and a privacy bill at par with the global regulations.
(The author is a partner at Deloitte India)