(Public Administration Paper I / Chapter: Techniques of
(Current Based) Question:
Data protection needs a strong regulatory framework and hierarchy of regulators
to protect basic privacy. Comment. (20 Marks/300 Words)
The scholarly Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy has made it
abundantly clear that privacy protection is imperative.Informational
self-determination and the autonomy of an individual in controlling the usage of
personal data have emerged as central themes across the privacy judgment.
The critical challenge in the design of a data protection framework is that
the main uses of digitisation — long-term record keeping and data analysis — are
seemingly contradictory to the privacy protection requirements.The most common
fear of digitisation is that of mass surveillance. Databases linked by unique
identities can possibly create an infrastructure for totalitarian observation of
citizens’ activities across different domains.
A more common and subtle manner of erosion of privacy is by the way of losing
control of informational self-determination both to the state and to other
seemingly mysterious, uncaring and opaque bureaucracies.
Effective data protection in India will require a strong regulatory framework
with a hierarchy of data regulators that can protect our basic rights
irrespective of our understanding of complex digital setups and levels of
consent. Also, any solution that is solely based on detection of privacy
violations and subsequent Not only do the data regulators require independent
authority, but they also need to actively participate in the data protection
architecture. Apart from determining the fairness of algorithms and use cases,
they need to play two other main roles.
(a) The first should be to determine, and explicitly list out, authorisations
for data access for various data processing functions based on a rights-based
principle in addition to consent.
(b) The second role should be to ensure that data can be accessed only
through audited, pre-approved and digitally signed computer programs after
online authentication and verification of the authorisations presented. (Total
Valuable inputs from The Indian Express Opinion: ‘Architecture for Privacy’
by Subhashis Banerjee
(Linkages: Supreme Court and Right to Privacy Judgement, Digitalization
and Data Protection, Data Protection and Regulatory Framework)