Govt plans privacy rider for Facebook, Google

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 20 2012, 06:10am hrs
The Indian editions of global internet giants such as Google and Facebook may have to get their privacy policy approved by a government regulator after an expert group recommended a model code for these websites in a proposed privacy act.

The group has been tasked to draw the framework of a law to protect privacy of individuals.

The group headed by the former Chief Justice of Delhi high court said these websites, which have their privacy codes, either have to get them approved from the privacy commissioner or have to follow the model code in the proposed act.

The recommendation given by the expert panel is all set to fuel the ongoing debate about the way these online companies handle user information, which at times is also seen as a breach of individual privacy right.

The organizations have to disclose to the user for what purpose their information will be used and how much of will it be in public domain. These companies have to form self regulatory guidelines which will be approved by the privacy commissioner, Justice Shah said.

Social networking websites and search engines have been sharing user information available with them with advertisers who use their platforms to advertise.

User privacy policy of Facebook and Google has always been under criticism from various quarters.

There have been discussions on the privacy policy of these websites across the world and there have been apprehensions by the amount of user information they disclose in public domain or share with advertisers.

A couple of days ago, some of the regulators of European countries had asked Google to make it clear how it was collecting data.

The company has also been asked not to combine the data it collects from its different services. Countries such as UK, US and Australia have strong data protection and privacy acts.

After analyzing the privacy principles of Australia, Canada, US and EU countries, we have given our recommendations. And we have also said that non compliance of the proposed law should be treated as an offence, Justice Shah added.