Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

The Great Data Heist: The Digital Personal Data Protection Act Incentivises Building Of A Surveillance State

For all practical purposes, the government’s latest move has built a giant opaque wall that has defanged the Right to Information that enabled people to hold the state to account. This Act, instead of protecting people’s data, places unbridled power in the hands of the government to increase the collection of personal data
August 25, 2023
Data Protection

During the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament, the government rammed through several key pieces of legislation amid repeated disruptions due to the opposition’s demand for a debate on the ethnic violence in Manipur that broke out on May 3. Crucial among these was the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, 2023.

 The government has called it path-breaking legislation in favour of the people but unfortunately, the Bill itself was passed rather surreptitiously within four days of introduction without any debate by a voice vote amidst the din in both Houses.

The warnings given by several opposition members that it would crush citizens’ privacy rights, leading to a surveillance state, and must be forwarded to a joint parliamentary panel for scrutiny failed to elicit a response from both the government and the Speaker in the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The government did not waste any time in securing presidential assent on August 11, making it an Act.

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Manan Kumar

Over the past three decades, he has worked with India’s leading publications such as The Pioneer, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, and DNA, to name a few. His has reported extensively on India’s internal security, development issues and politics.