In a ground breaking measure, the Government of India informed the Apex Court that work is in progress to put forth a data protection framework in October, 2017. The initiative is headed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The government’s work on the framework is in response to a petition filed by Mr. Karmanya Singh Sareen for the violation of right to privacy due to data sharing via messaging and calling platform – WhatsApp, after its Facebook takeover and change in the privacy policy.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta informed a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, “We are coming out with a regulatory regime on data protection. Freedom of choice needs to be protected and there cannot be any doubt over it.”

India’s IT Act 2000 has some privacy and data protection provisions that were amended in 2008 and IT rules were defined in 2011. The current data protection regulation is under section 43A and section 72A of the IT Act 2000/8. However, this act only provides guidance for security practices and procedures that companies should adopt. Its regulations are weak and lacks the actual implementation standards with no penalties for violations.

So, with the growing data theft cases and privacy concerns of citizens over the messaging services like Facebook, Whatsapp etc. the government acknowledged the need of a ‘new law’ to deal with citizens’ data privacy and protection of information present on the web.

This law, when enacted, is supposed to define regulations to protect people’s important and sensitive personal details which they submit online either while joining a social media platform or opening a bank account using various apps. It is supposed to define ‘privacy’ comprehensively and course of action to be followed in the data breach cases.

European Union is already moving ahead with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to be enforced from the coming year and although late in the day, Indian government will need to keep Indian society’s cultural and demographic needs in mind, while framing the draft.

This comprehensive framework will also need to be flexible enough and include some points to accommodate the growing technological revolution in India.

So, the data gathered either by interactions through social media platforms, chatgroups or by phone, emails, live chats or any other business interaction with customers must be safe as the breach of data affects one’s privacy and in the case of businesses, might result in losses – monetary or in the form of customers’ crucial details.

What is your opinion on data protection? How secure do you feel when you are on a messaging app? Share your comments with us below.

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