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India to release draft data privacy laws by this week: Report

India to release draft data privacy laws by this week: Report
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In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and alleged illegal Paytm data sharing expose, a 10-member special committee headed by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna is preparing to submit the first draft of privacy laws by the end of this week, a report in Bloomberg stated.

The draft is intended to monitor how tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google run their business in the country. Srikrishna and his team will draft data policies that will take a middle path between the US’s approach and the European Union’s recently announced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the report added.

According to Bloomberg, at the moment, companies, domestic and foreign, gather customer data without any regulatory checks. The committee’s draft regulations are expected to counterbalance such free flow of data, determining what information companies can share across countries and ensuring a system of accountability in the case of data breaches, the report said.

Srikrishna admitted that India has been growing fast digitally and the country was not only in need of such regulations but also required a structure or way to enforce them. He believes that majority of Indians have no idea about what constitutes data privacy. Many just accept the one-click agreement available in most apps and sites.

What also complicates an understanding of data privacy is language. The agreements on sites and apps that require a user’s consent are mostly in English in a country that has many languages and dialects.

“Should we then have pictograph warnings for consent, like they have on cigarette packs?” he was quoted as telling Bloomberg.

The existing guidelines on data privacy as given by the Reserve Bank of India and Income Tax departments are in complete contrast to that of the GDPR, a report in The Economic Times last week stated.

While the GDPR says that anybody should delete customer data on request, RBI and I-T department guidelines say that the data needs to be stored for seven to 10 years. 

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