The government is working on exclusive framework on data protection to strengthen privacy provisions and check misuse of personal information, a top official said today. IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the government has “already taken cognisance of the fact that data is being put out indiscriminately in certain cases”. She said that the IT ministry is working on exclusive framework of privacy rules which will be soon placed in public domain for consultation.
“We have written to banks, all ministries and states to ensure that citizens data is treated as sacrosanct and is used only the purpose for which it is collected. If any body found violating this, action will be taken in accordance with law,” Sundararajan told reporters at an IAMAI event here.
She was responding to question on the government’s action to protect crucial citizen’s data.”The IT Ministry administers the IT Act. However, whether it is specific violation by a banker or by a particular company or by an industry, that action need to be taken by owner of that.”
“Already India has fairly strong provision in the IT Act as well as in the Aadhaar … in the era in which data is becoming new oil we would need to strengthen privacy provision. Right now we don’t have exclusive framework for privacy,” Sundararajan said.
She said that the framework will be based on certain well-accepted international best practices while keeping in view India-specific needs. “Once the framework is ready we will certainly be putting it out in the public domain and we will take detailed public consultation,” Sundararajan said.
In a case against Whatsapp for alleged breach of privacy, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a five-judge constitution bench that the government was in the process of evolving the data protection framework. The apex court on January 16 had sought responses from the Centre and telecom regulator TRAI on a plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites – WhatsApp and Facebook – for alleged commercial use of personal communication.