Monday, June 17, 2024

“Surveillance state”: Opposition raises concerns as data protection bill is tabled in Lok Sabha

Opposition in Lok Sabha urged in the House to send the Data Protection Bill, 2023, introduced today on the table of the House, to be sent to Standing Committee.

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tabled the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill on Thursday.

The bill claims it aims to make entities like internet companies, mobile apps, and business houses more accountable and answerable about collection, storage and processing of the data of citizens as part of Right to Privacy.

However, the introduction of the bill faced strong Opposition from the members of the opposition, who raised concerns about its potential violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

The Opposition MPs demanded that the bill be sent to the standing committee for thorough scrutiny, citing the withdrawal of a similar bill on data protection by the government last year.

Congress MP Manish Tewari said the bill contradicts the fundamental right to privacy the Supreme Court held in the Puttuswamy judgment. “The bill will apply with full force to all non-government organisations and the government will be exempt from it.”

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Member of Parliament (MP) Asaduddin Owaisi said the bill empowers the government to access private data and is likely to create a surveillance state.

Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule referred to the excessive centralisation of data. “It hurts the spirit of the federal structure. The Right to Information is diluted. The government will be completely protected and others will be completely exposed.”

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Ray called the new bill very different from the original one sent to the committee. “They have changed the bill altogether. I want this bill to be sent again to the standing committee.”

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