RIGHT TO PRIVACY – A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

DailyPost 333

RIGHT TO PRIVACY – A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

The heat & dust over the right to privacy has been laid to rest once & for all, by the nine member bench, of the Supreme Court, in an unanimous landmark judgment, setting aside earlier judgements in this regard to the contrary.   Right to privacy is entwined with the right to liberty & cannot be treated differently.  Privacy has always been an issue, but did not get huge media & public attention, might be because of the world then did not necessitate so.  In the Uber connected world, privacy which is synonymous to data, resides out owner’s control.

The counter terror narrative starting from 9/11, made  surveillance the core function of the state,  as enshrined in the US PATRIOT Act of 2001,  interception  getting into the body politic of executive functioning of the US.  Hactivists like Snowden gave have another intriguing narrative.  Julian Asange was the pioneer.  Identify thefts have become the order of the day,  as the daily news stories make us believe.  How safe is personal data on the private MNC servers,  mainly in the US is another story.

The  judgment is a watershed in legal history as it clarifies the  position of data in the constitutional scheme of things.  Data protection laws are in place in a few countries and ought to happen elsewhere as well.  Democratic nation states as is seen in other areas have similar laws.  Data Protection Act & the  regulatory regime  has to fall in place.  Enforcement  end to end is a humungous task, which ought to start with urgency to match the challenges of the porous digital world.

 The existing digital world  is not build on security as a design element & does not respect privacy heart to heart.  From espionage to cyber armies to hackers, data the most important asset in today’s world is under severe challenge. The challenge is same for personal data as well.

 A landmark clarity for a landmark cause. Ownership decided. Modalities have to happen.

 RIGHT TO PRIVACY DOES NOT CHANGE IN THE  DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM

 Sanjay Sahay

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