IS 17428 follows its big brother- PDPSI, but lags behind far

This is a continuation of the series of articles

IS 17428-I under para 5.12  states,

Staff handling personal information or activities related to processing personal information shall:
a) Be trained and kept aware about developments depending on their role;
b) Be aware of their responsibility in protecting data;
c) Be traceable to their actions or inactions;
d) Subject to appropriate disciplinary actions when proved to be in violation of responsibility.
The organization shall determine suitable criteria for qualification, competency and evaluate staff before assigning them responsibility related to data privacy.

In the PDPSI the need to equip the employees is handled both at the operative level as well as at the senior level.

Standard 10 under PDPSI states:

“The organization shall establish appropriate strategic and tactical measures to build and maintain a culture of Privacy Protection throug data protection across the entity and covering all stake holders.”

In the detailed explanation of Standard 10, it i stated,

“…Measures are therefore required to be taken by an organization to ensure that the compliance culture is built across all levels of employees, Vendors, business associates as well as the customers, so that every stake holder is aware of and implements the compliance measures as if the responsibility percolates to all.

This requires both incentivization and dis-incentivization strategies to be used for the best impact. Implementation of whistleblower policies and an effective grievance redressal mechanism both for internal and external disputes is also considered essential to maintain the compliance culture across the organization.”

This is further supplemented by the Model implementation specifications that cover “Employee Privacy Management”,  “Work from Home”, “Augmented HR Policy” etc.

Additionally, Standard 9 mentions abut Employee onboarding/Termination policy besides other aspects.

PDPSI goes one more step further and identifies that Data Protection being a “Cross Functional Responsibility”, the DPO is likely to encounter issues of non cooperation or hostility from other senior management professionals and advises appropriate policy  under Implementation specification no 7 that

“The organization shall adopt and implement a suitable policy to ensure harmonious functioning of the DPO with the other senior executives of the organization with an appropriate clarity of roles and responsibilities including measures to resolve differences.”

Thus PDPSI thinks far ahead of frameworks such as IS 17428 and retains its tag line..

Essence of the Essential and yet different by a distance. * meaning  (*सब का सार, फिर भी, अलग…by Far


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Why IS 17428 : 2020 looks alien

(This is in continuation of the previous article on PDPSI and IS 17428)

IS 17428 has been released as an “Indian Standard” and is the second such standard to be released in India behind PDPSI (Personal Data Protection Standard of India).However, on a deeper perusal IS 17428 appears to be more influenced by the need of Indian organizations to be compliant with GDPR rather than the current or forthcoming data protection law in India.

On the otherhand PDPSI goes deep into the Indian requirement including  even the DTS as part of the mandatory certification process.

PDPSI also has the flexibility built into it so that an Indian Organization processing personal data from across the world can implement this as a Unified Framework for compliance of multiple data protection laws.

IS 17428 (Part I) in para 3.3 defines “Data Controller” with the following notes.

” Depending on the jurisdiction and the particular data protection and privacy legislation, the synonym ‘PII controller’ or ‘data exporter’ or ‘data fiduciary’ can also be used in some countries instead of the term ‘Data controller’.”

India which uses the terminology of “Data Fiduciary” has become “Some Country”.

In the same way the term “Data Subject” is used and not “Data Principal”. Under para 3.10 referring to other country laws, there is no mention of ITA 2000 or PDPB 2019.

It is only when referring to Sensitive Personal Information that the definition included in ITA 2000 has been referred to.

These observations indicate that whoever drafted the document were not able to look at the Indian regulation independently.

The PDPSI thought has been triggered by the proposed Indian Data Protection law. But considering the need of an Indian organization to also be compliant with other laws, it has built in within the Standard and Implementation Specifications, a need to add “Applicable Law” as part of the process of classification of data . Since personal data related to India gets segregated from Personal data related to EU-GDPR or other laws, the next step of implementation specifications will automatically gets fine tuned based on the relevant law.

PDPSI is therefore “Made in India, first for India for the World” . By incorporating principles such as DTS,  PDPSI is taking the Indian law as the lead implementation guideline and in due course can become a guiding force for Personal Data Audits even outside India.

Since PDPSI is inclusive of all requirements under ISO 27701 it can easily absorb the requirements of other countries without forgetting its origin from India.


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Delhi High Court guidelines on Section 79 of ITA 2000

In a comprehensive speaking order , Honourable Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani of the Delhi High Court has issued a judgement dated 20th April 2021 in the case WP (CRL) 1082/2020 and other petitions, holding light on the rules under Section 79 of ITA 2000.

Some details are available at in the following article.

Removal Of Offending Content From Internet: Delhi High Court Lays Down Procedure, Guidelines For Intermediaries, Govt.Agencies (

A copy of the detailed judgement is also available here:

The judgement takes into account even the recent notification of February 25 on Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Code of Ethics.

The judgement also contains the submissions of Mr Pavan Duggal the noted Cyber Law expert where a good summary of the applicable law is available. Given the international experience of Mr Pavan Duggal who was the Amicus Curiae in the hearing, the judgement will be a very useful reference document for all students of Cyber Law.

Interestingly the judgement has linked the “Need to remove” the content to the judgement in the case of “Baba Ramdev’s case” where content uploaded from India had to be removed globally from the search engines.

The judgement requires a detailed analysis and may be done in due course on this website. It is to be appreciated that this hearing perhaps took place through the video conferencing system proving that the E Court procedures are effective and can be used as a regular procedure.

The conclusions lead to the following directions being issued:

“….the action of the petitioner’s photographs and images having been taken from her Facebook and Instagram accounts and having been posted on the website; and then having been re-posted onto other websites and online platforms, amounts prima facie to an offence under section 67 of the IT Act in addition to other offences under the IPC; and that appropriate directions are required to be issued directing the State and other respondents to forthwith remove and/or disable access to the offending content from the world-wide-web to the maximum extent possible.

….The Delhi Police/CyPAD Cell are directed to remove/disable access to the offending content, the Web URL and Image URL of which would be furnished by the petitioner as above, from all websites and online platforms, forthwith and in any event within 24 hours of receipt of information from the petitioner. It may be recorded that the Delhi Police have stated before this court that the offending content has already been removed from
respondent No. 5 website;

….A direction is issued to the search engines Google Search, Yahoo Search, Microsoft Bing and DuckDuckGo, to globally de-index and de-reference from their search results the offending content as identified by its Web URL and Image URL,… and to proactively identify and globally disable access to any content which is exactly identical to the offending content, that may appear on any other websites/online platforms

…Investigating Officer to notify such website/online platform or search engine(s) to comply with such request, immediately and in any event within 72 hours of receiving such written communication from the petitioner;

…It is made clear that non-compliance with the foregoing directions would make the non-compliant party liable to forfeit the exemption, if any, available to it generally under section 79(1) of the IT Act and as specified by Rule 7 of the 2021 Rules; and shall make such entity and its officers liable for action as mandated by section 85 of the IT Act

The judgment is a landmark judgement that will be referred to for a long time though it is not from the Supreme Court.


A copy of the detailed judgement is also available here:

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Data Centric Approach of PDPSI

(This is in continuation of our discussions on comparison of the  PDPMS under PDPSI with DPMS of Is17428)

PDPSI was the first PDPMS to introduce the concept of “Data Centric Compliance Structure” while most other frameworks focus on the organization.

IS17428 discusses the applicability of the framework under the two heads of Jurisdiction and Classification.

  1. Under para, (pat 2) it recognizes that “Organizations that collect and process personal information should carefully determine their jurisdiction before determining the Privacy requirements”.
  2.  Under para 4.1.4 it speaks of “Data Classification Criteria” stating that “It is important to establish a framework for classifying personal information on its level of  sensitivity”. In a slightly contradictory indication, para 4.1.4(d) states that if an organization already has information classification guidelines such as “Restricted”, “Confidential” and “Public”, personal information may be classified as “Confidential” and “Sensitive personal Information” as “Restricted”.
  3.  Additionally under para 1 of Part I, the scope of application is based on the entity as a whole. Further it recognizes the Data Controller and Data Processor status as mutually exclusive. Para 3.5 (Part I) is clear that “For an entity to become data processor, it shall also be a separate entity from Data Controller”

It is worth noting that PDPSI has a more flexible and practical approach to the role definition of a “Controller” and “Processor” which is referred to as “Data Fiduciary” and “Data Processor” according to which the roles will be defined as per the context. For example in one process and organization A may be a Data Controller of B. In another process, organization A may be a Data Processor of C or even B itself.

Further Standard 1 of PDPSI addresses the issue of multiple jurisdictions through “Classification” by stating

“Compliance plan shall be based on specified law applied on an identified Compliance entity”.

The explanatory note on Standard 1 states

When an organization is processing personal data on which laws of multiple jurisdictions are applicable, it is necessary to recognize that one law cannot be applied to the entire processing activity.
Hence scope of compliance program must be defined with reference to the applicable law.
Also since legal compliance is an administrative responsibility, the responsibility of compliance normally rests at the enterprise level.
Hence scope definition cannot ordinarily be restricted to a division or a location.
In certain cases, it will be necessary to restrict the application of compliance to a limited number of processes or people.
In such cases, it is necessary to treat the organization as a “Composite Entity” consisting of multiple sub-units each of which may be exposed to the risk of one data protection law. This is suggested so that some of the other sub-units can be kept out of the compliance without the risk of noncompliance.
This will also enable co-existence of one sub-unit which is GDPR compliant while the second sub-unit is PDPA (India) compliant and the third sub-unit is PDPA (Singapore) compliant etc.
This will simplify the compliance and avoid the errors that may creep in because of overlapping of the laws.

On Data Classification, Standard 5 states

“Appropriate Compliance oriented Data Classification shall be incorporated”

The explanatory  note on the Data Classification  Standard states as follows:

Every data protection law is applicable only to a certain definition of applicability. This is in almost all cases based on the need to protect the Privacy of the citizens of a jurisdiction to which the law belongs, and an organization may simultaneously handle personal data of multiple jurisdictions.
To avoid overlapping of laws and to avoid missing of compliance measures, personal data shall be classified as required for compliance of the specific law, so that a “Virtual Silo” of personal data can be created within an organization. Where personal data from multiple countries of origin are received, the classification may provide creation of multiple virtual silos of personal data, one for each country of origin so that provisions of specific laws may be applied to each silo separately.
Additionally, classification must consider the legal requirement and not based solely on the level of confidentiality which is normally used as a basis of data classification for Information Security purpose.
Hence data classification tags may include personal-non personal, employee-nonemployee, Minor-not a Minor, Sensitive-Not sensitive etc.
Few Countries have regulations where the objective of the data protection laws extend beyond protection of Privacy of an individual to protection of the business entity information or from living persons to deceased persons. These are considered as exceptional situations and classification of such non-personal information is considered as another “Special Category” of information.

The corresponding implementation specification actually goes further and provides a guideline for data classification as indicated below

The classification guideline therefore takes into account both the segregation of data based on applicable law and also in a manner that is relevant for PDPMS. All data which is not  “Individually identifiable” automatically gets classified as corporate data asset or “Non Personal Data”.

If the organization can tweak their technology architecture this classification provides an option to create virtual silos of different kinds of personal data for effective management of controls even when multiple jurisdictional laws are involved.

It is for this reason that PDPSI is referred to as a “Unified ” law.

Additionally PDPSI provides for an ” Aggregation” of people and technology resources to create an “Compliance Entity within a larger Corporate entity” and apply the compliance related to specific law to the specific sub entity.

PDPSI also takes into account the needs of the “Work From Home” situation so that the sub entity can even be created as a “Virtual Entity”.

Thus PDPSI Vision is broader and stands taller than IS 17428.

For those who are not blinded by the aura around “ISO”, PDPSI is a Taller and Broader framework and leaves IS 17428 far behind in terms of futuristic outlook.

Professionals who understand the “Need to be compliant” rather than “Need to be Certified”, PDPSI would be the unmistakable choice.

While it is difficult to reproduce the entire PDPSI framework and compare with the entire IS17428 in these columns, any specific queries may be addressed to Naavi

Some of the FDPPI’s supporting members are already equipped to handle the responsibility as “Consultants” as well as “Auditors” with trained auditors available for providing the consultancy/audit services.

PDPSI audits come with an assurance of “Mentor Support” for a limited consultancy on quarterly basis as a continuing service for the auditee companies which also is a unique support that is made available to increase the confidence of organizations taking up the audits of their PDPMS under the PDPSI framework.


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PDPSI DTS system is ready for the future…..while IS 17428 is beginning its journey

(This is a continuation of the earlier article in the series)

One of the hallmarks of rapid development is the ability to learn from others. Hence it is natural that IS17428 could have borrowed some concepts from the pioneering framework of PDPSI.

Though IS 17428 has carefully avoided any reference to PDPB 2019 as if it was non existent,  it could not ignore the need for  recognizing one of the features of PDPSI which is the concept of “Measurability” of a Personal Data Protection Management System. (PDPMS).

Standard 12 of the PDPSI (Refer page 16 Handbook on PDPSI) states

“Appropriate measures amenable for measurability of compliance shall be maintained”.

The explanation to the standard states

PDPSI requires the Data Auditor to assess the compliance not only against the implementation charter adopted by the organization, but also the larger standards expected under the relevant law as per the evaluation of the data auditor.

This assessment is required to be converted into an indicative compliance score such as the Data Trust Score and shall be disclosed to the auditee organization as well as the Certification body where required.

Though computation and disclosure of the measure of compliance is not mandatory in some data protection laws, it is considered a good practice and made part of the PDPSI audit system .

The disclosure of the Data Trust Score as declared by the auditor to the public may depend on the legal requirements and the discretion of the organization.

The Certification system under PDPSI envisages that the auditor will compute the DTS, inform the auditee company and also inform FDPPI. FDPPI will upon receiving consent (if provided) by the auditee company will publish the DTS. 

As a part of the audit training, the auditors have been trained with a detailed system of DTS calculation which incorporates the assessment of the auditor on the PDPMS of the auditee company. 

In the first year of DTS evaluation, one number would represent the DTS score. Additionally, in the subsequent years, DTS Score will be suffixed with a trend indicator such as + or – indicating an improving or declining trend.

We may now see what the Chota bhai IS 17428 has indicated regarding the evaluation of the DPMS.

Para 5.15 of the IS17428 (part 2) states

Measurement and Continuous Improvement

Appropriate Metrics should be developed to track various aspects of DPMS. The metrics could be qualitative or quantitative and need to be chosen among other factors, based on the current maturity of the organization.

5 examples of metrics have been indicated namely

a) Lead time to mitigate privacy risks

b) Number of Critical Privacy Incidents

c) Service level agreement to address and close privacy incidents/breaches

d) Number of changes that were not subjected to PIA

e) Percentage of staff trained on data privacy

The guideline suggests that the triggers for improvement initiatives could be from unfavourable performance as reflected by the measurement program and improvement can be demonstrated broadly in two forms namely

  1. Consistent trend in improvement
  2. Exceeding set target based on industry standard

IS 17428 however does not go further in defining how the “measurement program” can be developed.

It is left to the discretion of the organization to develop its own measurement program

PDPSI has however covered the last mile requirement of how the DTS can be evaluated and how the qualitative observations of the auditor can be converted into a quantitative assessment as envisaged by the PDPB 2019.

Probably the Chota brother born later missed an opportunity to either follow the big brother or more appropriately design an even better system given the advantage of prior knowledge it had access to.

The DPA when it is formed is expected to come up with its own suggestions on how the DTS may be computed. However the current system of PDPSI is so comprehensive that it can accommodate any variations that may be brought into by DPA.

In case the DPA adopts only a few parameters of measurement such as what Naavi 5X5 DTS system or the IS 17428 has suggested or the more comprehensive 50 parameter evaluation that PDPSI, the PDPSI framework is ready to compute the DTS on its expected level of maturity as well as the DPA expected level of maturity.

The PDPSI-DTS system is therefore “Ready for the Future”.


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Essence of the Essential, And different by a distance

 or Personal Data Protection Standard of India was unleashed in February 2019 with an article here titled “A step beyond BS 10012 and GDPR-Personal Data Protection Standard of India-PDPSI”. 

At that time there was a need to create an Indian substitute for BS 10012. Subsequently ISO 27701 was also introduced. But both looked at PIMS from the GDPR angle. While that was the requirement in the international scenario, recognizing the need to introduce an India specific framework for Personal Information Management, the undersigned introduced the concept of PDPSI.

PSPSI was an extension of the IISF 309, which was a framework developed by Naavi in March 2009 for compliance with ITA 2000 and revised subsequently from time to time.

IISF 309 focused on ITA 2008 compliance of which Section 43A compliance along with other sections like Section 72A, 79 etc formed the Privacy part.  PDPSI however was more focused on the PDPA 2018 which became available in December 2018.

Hence PDPSI was the first Privacy Protection Framework of India.

Since  2019 when PDPSI was launched, has been discussing the various aspects of the standard along with the DTS system a version of which was called “Naavi’s 5X5 DTS system” which had been launched a little earlier on the new year day of 2019.

Recently FDPPI adopted PDPSI and went ahead in creating an infrastructure for developing Lead PDPSI consultants and Lead PDPSI auditors. The FDPPI version of PDPSI was developed on the basis of PDPB 2019 and with lot of discussions with professionals who had experience in ISO and other audit systems. As a result the  current version with 12 standards and 50 implementation specifications emerged and was used in training prospective Data Auditors.

With the recent release of IS 17428, there are a few who think that IS 17428 is the first PIMS framework for India. But I would like to correct this perception. IS 17428 is the second framework from India.

PDPSI remains the first Privacy related framework to be developed in India.

We however would like to call it “Personal Data Protection Management System ” (PDPMS) while ISO 27701 uses the terminology of PIMS (Personal Information Management System) and IS 17428 uses the terminology of “DPMS” (Data Privacy management System).

IS 17428 however presents itself more as a framework for complying with GDPR in India though it makes a reference to ITA 2000 and Section 43 A at some places.  Whenever ITA 2000 is referred to, the IS 17428 speaks as if it is a third country law. Hence IS17428 appears to be an Indian Framework with the focus on data protection laws outside India. It does not recognize the law in the pipe line represented by PDPB 2019. This is one of the biggest disappointments about this framework.

This framework is driven by industry representatives, NASSCOM and DSCI which have been in the forefront of pulling down PDPB 2019 and perhaps this has reflected in the released document. Even the Annexure on legal provisions in India on Data Privacy speaks of the Indian Constitution and Section 43, 43A, 72A and Section 85 of ITA 2000/8 along with a multitude of other laws and sectoral regulations but avoids a mention of PDPB 2019.

Where the IS 17428 has erred is not recognizing the concept of “Due Diligence” which is mentioned under the Section 79 rules under ITA 2000 and also a part of the “Reasonable Security Practices” under Section 43A.

The concept of “Due Diligence” does not restrict itself to the written words in a statute or regulation but represents absorption of the environmental experiences into the operations of an organization.

If a law such as PDPB 2019 has been contemplated and presented in the Parliament and the principles of the Bill have already been implemented in some of the Government projects such as the NDHM (National Digital health Mission) project,  it must be recognized as constituting the “Due Diligence”  and part of the “Reasonable Security Practices”.

Hence PDPB 2019 at least deserved a mention in the footnote.

We donot know whether IS 17428 will be revised after PDPB 2019 becomes a law or the industry will try to claim that IS 17428 is bigger than PDPA -India and challenge the DPA into accepting IS 17428 as “Deemed Compliance” of PDPA -India.

Going by the past history the NASSCOM/DSCI views on Data Localization, Financial Information as Sensitive Personal Information etc., it appears that IS 17428 may be used as an instrument to suggest to the DPA that “If I am IS17428 compliant, you cannot question me on compliance of PDPA”.

I hope whoever takes the responsibility of being in the  DPA as chairman or Member would steer clear of using the terminology of “Deemed Compliance used in the Section 43A notification under ITA 2000” and leave it to the market to adopt the best available framework because the ultimate responsibility for compliance lies in the implementation of the framework by the organizations. Frameworks can be tools to guide but Certificates cannot substitute implementation on the ground.

As a  veteran watch dog of the developments in Cyber Law in India, Naavi will keenly watch the developments in this respect and will alert the community if there is any developments in this regard.

I also draw the attention of the Secretaries of Meity, Secretary of Law and the Chief Cabinet Secretary  to such a possibility  ( A copy of this article will be sent to the three secretaries for their information).

We however welcome the arrival of the Chota Bhai IS17428 to the field of Indian Data Protection Frameworks so that the family of frameworks becomes bigger and there will be more variety. PDPSI will absorb all essential requirements of Privacy Management and will be an “Inclusive” framework. Yet it will try to maintain some key differences so that it will be different from the rest. PDPSI will undergo frequent upgradations as would be dictated mainly by the developments of the Personal Data Protection regulation in India. Being dynamic would be one of the strengths of PDPSI.

Leaving this controversial issue aside, let us get back to our discussion on PDPSI as the big brother of IS 17428 and how much of the traits of PDPSI have been absorbed in IS 17428 and why PDPSI deserves a tag line… Essence of the Essential and yet different by a distance. *

(*सब का सार, फिर भी, अलग…by Far orಎಲ್ಲದರ ಸಾರ , ಆದರೂ ವಿಶೇಷಗಳ ಆಗರ )


(Watchout more in this Big Brother Series on PDPSI)


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