Union Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said the Data Protection Bill is ready and would be placed in Parliament soon. According to sources, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 – which is based on the recommendations of the government-constituted high-level panel headed by former Supreme Court judgem Justice B.N. Srikrishna – restricts and imposes conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data, and suggests setting up of Data Protection Authority of India to prevent any misuse of personal information.
The Bill also addresses the Reserve Bank of India’s circular requiring that all “data relating to payment systems” are “stored in a system only in India”.
Delivering the keynote address at the CyFy 2019, organized by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Prasad did not divulge details of the Bill, but, however, said that it would have a pragmatic view of all aspects of the internet, like its availability, accessibility, neutrality, commerce and all of these should be able to function in coordination.
He also said while the government is for free and fair accessibility of internet through various gates and against any restriction, at the same time, it can not allow terrorists to make use of the privacy plea while regretting that some apps, like WhatsApp, are not doing enough to check the misuse of the medium by communalists and radicalists.
Prasad said the government should be able to know the origin of fake news and other misuse and it would bring in regulations to check abuse of the medium by these apps.
He pointed out that platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp have the biggest business in India and hence all apps should cooperate with the government in checking the abuse of their platforms, by revealing and exposing the origin of the message and identity of the messenger.
Recently YES Bank filed a complaint with police, seeking origin of fake news and to assess short-sell positions. It said some miscreants have been spreading false information and malicious rumours about YES Bank on WhatsApp. The IT Ministry has been meeting WhatsApp and Twitter officials over tracing of fake news.
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