Saturday, October 8, 2011

Privacy Laws In India

We have no dedicated privacy laws in India and data protection laws in India. Naturally, this is a troublesome and undesirable situation. The supreme court of India has interpreted Article 21 as empowering Indian citizens with right to privacy in India.

However, despite this constitutional protection, various governmental projects in India are opening ignoring Article 21 and are clearly violating the same. This is happening because we have no national privacy policy in India.

Further, we have no privacy laws in India as well. Although some privacy guidelines have been issued by one or two departments of Indian government yet they are far from satisfactory and cannot replace a well structured privacy law of India.

Privacy rights in the information era require a totally different outlook. In fact, privacy rights form an essential part of civil liberties protection in cyberspace that India is presently ignoring.

For instance, consider the projects like Aadhar, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Centre for Communication Security Research and Monitoring (CCSRM), etc.

They must be supported by a techno legal framework and must be civil liberty complaint. Presently, none of them are governed by any Legal Framework and none of them are under Parliamentary Scrutiny. These projects are openly violating various human rights/civil liberties, including right to privacy.

It is high time to formulate privacy laws in India so that constitutional freedoms and rights are not considered to be just legal jargon we no actual implementation.