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Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE



  • In its scope and definition, the DPDP Bill only protects personal data, that is any data that has the potential to directly or indirectly identify an individual.

  • In the modern data economy, entities use various types of data, including both personal and non-personal data to target, profile, predict, and monitor users.

    • Non-personal data is typically anonymous data that does not relate to a particular individual — for example, aggregate data on products which numerous users look at between 9 PM and 11 PM on Amazon.

  • Often, this non-personal data when combined with other datasets can help identify individuals, and in this way become personal data, impacting user privacy.

  • For instance, anonymous datasets about individual Uber rides in New Delhi can be combined with prayer timings to identify members who belong to a certain community, which could include their home addresses. 

  • This process of re-identification of non-personal data poses significant risks to privacy. 

  • Such risks were accounted for in previous versions of India’s draft data protection Bill, in 2018 and 2019, but do not find a place in the latest draft. 

  • By not recognising these risks, the DPDP Bill is very limited in its scope and effect in providing meaningful privacy to Indians. 

  • A simple and effective solution — as in the earlier versions — would be to add a penal provision in the Bill that provides for financial penalties on data-processing entities for the re-identification of non-personal data into personal data.

  • Another gap is the inability of the proposed data protection board to initiate a proceeding of its own accord. 

  • Under the Bill, the board is the authority that is entrusted with enforcing the law. 

  • The board can only institute a proceeding for adjudication if someone affected makes a complaint to it, or the government or a court directs it to do so. 

  • The only exception to this rule is when the board can take action on its own to enforce certain duties listed by the Bill for users. 

  • This is for the adjudication of disputes between the law and users — for example, an obligation on users not to register a false or frivolous complaint with the board, and not between users and data-processing entities.

  • In the data economy, users have diminished control and limited knowledge of data transfers and exchanges.

  • Due to the ever-evolving and complex nature of data processing, users will always be a step behind entities which make use of their data. 

  • For example, a food delivery app can take all data and sell it to data brokers in violation of customer contractual relationship with them. 

  • Individually, the user have little resources or incentive to approach the data protection board.

  • The board, on the other hand, may be in a better position to proceed against the food delivery app on its own — on behalf of all such affected users.

  • Suggestion is to have a provision in the DPDP Bill that allows the data protection board to initiate complaints on its own.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE
Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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