DATA PROTECTION FRAMEWORK
The Supreme Court of India, recently declared Privacy as a fundamental right. It left it to the Expert Committee under Hon’ble Justice B.N. Srikrishna to work out the modalities. For the purpose of designing a carefully structured regime of data protection, a ”White Paper of the Committee of Experts on a Data Protection Framework for India”, was released recently for comments. Data Protection and Privacy are one and the same thing in the Cyber world in which we live. Personally Identifiable data is what we are bothered about.
This judgment deals specifically with privacy of personal information, what we term as informational privacy. For the uninitiated, it would seem to be one data set under one person’s control & one data protection tool, providing the security to the data. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The data with inbuilt communication goes through a maze of communication channels / devices / storage / data bases, technical systems, rules, which makes it near impossible to provide data protection the way we intent to provide. The claims of the government for national & social security cannot be denied.
Bruce Schiener in Data & the Goliath talks about revolving doors&backdoors, which makes the Cyber world unimaginably porous. Data protection thus becomes the biggest challenge of our times at the intersection of law, technology, enforcement, audit, investigation and the like. A near perfect interface between all these spheres and the will to deliver the real ownership of the data to the data owner (citizen) is the only formula.
The critical issues to be thrashed out, without modalities thereof are; territorial jurisdiction, personal & sensitive data, exemptions, data localization, control over data, individual participation rights & enforcement tools. Our well thought out response & a law thereupon will decide the fate of our quality of life & liberty in the days to come. Data Protection Act is our tryst with destiny.
DATA PROTECTION IS THE REAL TOOL TO PROTECT US IN THE CYBER PHYSICAL WORLD.