Data Protection Bill: Draft of Digital Personal Data Protection Bill released, Rs 500 crore penalty provision

Data Protection Bill : The central government has prepared a revised draft of the much-discussed data protection bill and opened it for public consideration. The name of this draft is Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 (Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022). There are six chapters in this draft of as many as 24 pages.

The central government had earlier released a draft of the proposed Data Protection Act in 2019, but after it was criticized from all quarters, the central government withdrew the draft in August this year. After that a new draft has been issued and it is claimed that this draft has been improved.

The significant point in this data protection bill is that companies that misuse or steal personal information of Indian users and send it out of the country have been provided with a fine of Rs 500 crore.

Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav announced via Twitter that the draft Data Protection Act has been released for public perusal.

Seeking your views on draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Link below:

— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) November 18, 2022

The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill released today is likely to be tabled in the upcoming session of Parliament.  It has been said by the central government that this law has been introduced to ensure that the personal information of netizens who are part of different digital communication systems through internet or mobile phones in India is safe and not misused. Earlier in 2019, a draft of the same law had provided for a fine of only Rs 15 crore or four per cent of the total financial turnover of the concerned company. It has now been increased and the provision of fine has been increased to five hundred crores.

There is also a provision in the amended Act to establish a Data Protection Board of India (Data Protection Board of India) at the national level for the implementation of this Act. Once this law is passed, the board will also get the power to determine whether the information of Indian users has been misused or not and levy a maximum fine of five hundred crore rupees for one time.

According to this amended bill, not only those who steal data but also those who create systems to misuse it or use it for fraud will come under the purview of this act. That is, there is a provision of penalty of Rs.250 crore for those who create a system to use the stolen personal information of Indian users for fraud or malfeasance.

The draft Personal Digital Data Protection Bill released today will be available for objections and feedback from the general public one month from today, till December 17.  

The draft of the proposed law was withdrawn and sent to a joint parliamentary committee for consideration after receiving reactions from different quarters on the draft released three years ago. Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said that as many as 88 amendments were suggested in this bill. Considering all of them, this revised draft has been prepared.

After the first draft of this bill was released, the world was hit by the covid pandemic. It was then that social media and the digital communication revolution were widely used across the country. This led to a radical change in the way the relationship worked around the world due to the then provisions and the Covid pandemic. Due to this, frauds also increased on a large scale. It has been said by the central government that a revised draft has been prepared with that in mind.

The earlier draft of the Deleted Personal Data Protection Bill was also criticized by the non-profit Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF). According to the IFF, the law at that time did not include any action against government organizations that misused the personal information of citizens. If the law is equal for all, there should be restrictions on all forms of misuse of personal information. No government or private organization should misuse anyone’s information. Not only the government organizations but also the big multinational companies were given a favorable measure in the bill at that time. It should be the duty of the government to protect the personal information of common citizens.  

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