Supreme Court’s ‘Right to Privacy’ ruling triggers the data privacy debate

|August 24, 2017 0
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Supreme Court judgement today said the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right protected by Article 21 of the Constitution of India that protects life and liberty.

While the ruling is not particularly against Aadhaar, but it could cause a major setback for the government’s plan of making Aadhaar mandatory in everything from taking new mobile connections, get the benefits of social welfare schemes, to stock-trading and even income-tax filings too.

But that led to a batch of petitions in the court challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar on the question of infringing individual’s right to privacy and the data leakage concerns. Aadhaar was launched to provide a unique, verifiable identification to Indian citizens. It was said to be a voluntary scheme for citizens to avail benefits of social welfare schemes and the Supreme Court also had repeatedly directed the government not to make Aadhaar mandatory.

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Now this ruling may have an effect on the tech companies such as Alphabet’s Google search engine, Facebook’s social network and even ride-hailing companies and the multitude mobile apps which collect and deal with huge amount of individual user data. It may uphold the need for a legal framework to protect individual data also.

Explaining it further Ramesh Mamgain, Area Vice President, India & SAARC region, Commvault India said, “It is likely to have a deep impact on the existing data management ecosystem in the country and usher in an era of ‘data intimacy’. Several industries that deal with a large quantum of sensitive personal data including telecom, financial services, healthcare services, smart cities as also government agencies will have to review their data strategy in the context of this historic order.”

“We have always advocated for a stronger data security regime in the country and this judgement will further reinforce industry efforts and resolve to provide necessary assurance in this regard.” NASSCOM and DSCI will continue to work with Government in accelerating the enforcement framework, said Rama Vedashree, CEO, DSCI.

Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman, UIDAI also tweeted,A superb judgment by SC. Privacy a right. But not absolute. Recognises that key elements to be worked out in data protection law.”

R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “This landmark judgment will ensure that protection of citizen’s privacy is a cardinal principle in our growing digital economy. Besides, it will enhance citizens’ trust in digital services, a prerequisite for widespread digital adoption. The ruling also significantly boosts India’s attractiveness as a safe destination for global sourcing.”

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