Info-tech

Home Ministry wants case-to-case insulation for security agencies from data protection law

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on June 27, 2019 Published on June 27, 2019

The MHA wanted to ensure that the Bill is saved from unnecessary legal challenge, and at the same time it also duly address the requirements of the security agencies

Amit Shah holds meeting with ministries concerned

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) does not want its work/role hampered, especially in the areas of security and law enforcement, by the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019.

The government is in the final stages of working on the Bill and has started discussions on what could be best in the Indian context.

Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with the Ministries concerned, including the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) last week. Shah wanted that the interest of the law enforcement agencies be taken care of while honouring the privacy of citizens, multiple officials who spoke to BusinessLine said.

“The Home Ministry wanted to know the implications of the Bill, but also wanted that its work/role is not hampered, especially in the areas of security and law enforcement. It wanted that there should be a waiver (in the Bill) to security agencies on case-to-case basis,” a senior government official said.

Requesting anonymity, the official said the MHA felt that since lots of national security issues are solved through data analytics it should continue to help them and strengthen the law enforcement. “The concerns raised during the meeting were that if the security agencies are completely exempted, it may lead to complicated legal challenges, and if the government is given the power to prescribe to agency(ies) for stated reasons, government can demonstrate duplication of mind,” said another official.

The Home Ministry wanted to ensure that the Bill is saved from unnecessary legal challenge and at the same time it also duly addresses the requirements of the security agencies, the official added.

The Data Protection Bill has been in discussion for a long time and is slated to be tabled in Parliament in the near future after the Cabinet clears the final draft. Data privacy experts have been raising concerns over implications of the proposed law .

The government had constituted a committee of experts headed by Justice BN Srikrishna in July 2017 to study various issues relating to data protection. Other members included Secretary in the Department of Telecom and CEOs of UIDAI and NCSC.

Published on June 27, 2019
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