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• Thursday, November 07th, 2013

Proposed Privacy Law Of India Is Facing Intelligence Agencies ObstaclesAfter many decades of hard work and persuasion the Indian government finally decided to work in the direction of enactment of a dedicated privacy law of India. However, this very effort has taken many years to even suggest a bill that can be introduced in the Parliament of India.

For one reason or other, the privacy bill of India has been stalled from time to time. The latest stumbling block in this regard is the objection of intelligence agencies of India to be governed by the proposed bill.

India has already launched illegal and unconstitutional projects like Aadhar, central monitoring system, national intelligence grid (Natgrid), etc without any legal framework and parliamentary oversight. Now when we have a chance to bring some sanity among the chaos created by the intelligence infrastructure of India, the intelligence agencies have pulled their sleeves to stall the proposed privacy bill.

As per HT, the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) have told the government to dilute the proposed privacy bill that makes it a crime to leak sensitive personal information collected by government departments and the private sector. The proposed privacy bill has suggesting a penalty of Rs. 2 crore for illegal phone tapping in India.

Surprisingly, home secretary Anil Goswami has challenged the very purpose of the proposed privacy bill. The Right to Privacy Bill 2013 lays down privacy principles and standards, and stipulates jail terms and fines for leak of sensitive personal data. Goswami has argued that if such a bill is to be considered, intelligence agencies should be exempted from its purview.

The intelligence agencies also spoke about how the bill would adversely affect or compromise the functioning of many agencies and projects, such as the Central Monitoring System that is used to intercept phone calls and internet communication, and the National Intelligence Grid that would give law enforcement agencies access to information combat terror threats.

Privacy right is an important part of civil liberties protection in cyberspace. The proposed privacy bill must also address issues pertaining to cyberspace. Similarly, e-surveillance and civil liberties issues in cyberspace and conflict of laws issues must also be addressed. This is not happening as on date and civil liberties in India would have a tough job ahead.

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