Spotlight on Srikrishna Committee, India's new data-privacy law: 10 points

India is taking steps to create new data-privacy laws. Representative image
Can a stranger know everything about me, even my secrets, without my knowledge? This is a common question in netizens' minds in the post-Facebook-Cambridge Analytica episode. India stands at an important juncture on data security as former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, who is heading an effort to draft new privacy laws,

is likely to send a Bill to the government by the end of this month.     

According to Bloomberg, a committee headed by Srikrishna was set to send its Bill last week. Now, reports have emerged that the submission has been delayed.   

Here's what you need to know:     

1) The Srikrishna Committee has been tasked by the government with studying issues around data security and individual privacy. The high-level committee was constituted last year.  

2) The committee will recommend a framework for securing personal data in India's increasingly digitised economy, for addressing privacy concerns, and for building safeguards against data breaches.

3) One of the committee's likely recommendations will be that internet giants such as Google and Facebook should store data belonging to Indians within the country, the Economic Times reported. However, this requirement will be limited to sensitive personal information, the financial daily added.   

4) The committee, which was set to hold its final meeting on Monday, is expected to submit its report to the government by the end of June, reported ET.   

5) The committee's recommendations regarding the draft Data Protection Bill could be submitted to the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology on any day of this week, reported The Hindu Business Line.  

6) The committee is moving far beyond the United States' hands-off approach, which has been tested by fiascoes like the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica case and alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, reported Bloomberg. The Srikrishna Committee, according to the report, is determined to modernise India's data-privacy standards and protect all its citizens.   

7) How strict could India's data-privacy laws be? Srikrishna has told Bloomberg that he has settled for the "middle path" that falls between the hands-off American approach and Europe's strict General Data Protection Regulation. "India is India, after all," he said.  

8) A citizen-led initiative, called Save Our Privacy, on June 8 submitted a draft Bill to the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee. The draft Bill envisages a penalty provision of up to Rs 10 million and a jail term extending up to three years or a combination of both for those who collect, receive, process or hold personal data in contravention of the provisions of the proposed law.    

9) Is the 'Right to be forgotten' on the table? As far as the recommendations that the Srikrishna Committee will submit are concerned, we do not know. However, Save Our Privacy's draft Bill allows for citizens to request that their data be deleted from servers. 

10) The Supreme Court last year held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right and an integral part of the right to life and liberty.     

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