Race with Pakistan.. Should we not win?

It is interesting to note that Pakistan is coming out with the Personal Data Protection Act 2020 of its own and is challenging India to change the name of its Bill as otherwise we will have PDPA 2020 of Pakistan and PDPA 2020 of India.

We welcome the initiative from Pakistan which has also given us a renewed reason to drop our complacency and the fear of the ever present Lutyen media backed Nay-sayers and get the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 finalized. If we let Pakistan to pass their bill ahead of us, it will be a huge embarrassment for India in the international scene.

Hope the JPC lead by Mrs Meenakshi Lekhi realizes that we cannot lose this battle to Pakistan and the JPC has to ensure that we pass our law before Pakistan.

I therefore request Mrs Lekhi to call for a virtual JPC meeting immediately and proceed with the finalization of the Bill.

If we wait endlessly, there will be more hurdles created by the creative Internet Freedom fighters who will set up the IT committee lead by Sashi Tharoor to counter the JPC and further delay the passage of the Bill.

If we had passed the Bill by this time we could have effectively countered many of the objections raised regarding the Arogya Setu app since there would have been a legal backing for the Government for collection and processing of the Covid 19 data without affecting the privacy rights. This will now be coming up for question in the Kerala High Court and the Central Government will be cutting a sorry figure for defending why it could not pass the Act for so long.


Link to the Pakistan Personal Data Protection Bill 2020

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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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2 Responses to Race with Pakistan.. Should we not win?

  1. dear Naavi sir
    I do not fully agree with your captioned blog ‘Race with Pakistan.. Should we not win?’, as it is not logically comparable events under any context. We are considering a country with poor financial status, with no great trade and business avenues, both nationally and internationally in place and totally confused with its economic agenda. Demographically and politically also they are not comparable in any aspect with our country. The technological developments, industrialization, economic and digital growth of our country are blooming and more countries desring to do business with India. when we examine the impact of this law can have on disrupting the business activities, we need to tread a cautious and wise path. we are unique country with dynamic democracy, with over 130 crore citizen’s views and privacy concerns to be accommodated. we are also financially in the top 5 spots in the world. Further mere law making should not be considered as a race as we have to take decisions with huge ramifications with lot of disruptions possible, which may hamper the economic situation we are in at present, mainly due to pandemic the world is facing. Also law making itself cannot be marked as victory as we have seen how Information technology act is being implemented.

    However I agree with your advise that Mrs Lekhi must call for a virtual JPC meeting immediately and proceed with the finalization of the Bill, otherwise the persons with negative approach will try to delay the process of law making.
    It is a positive thing to note that this government, when compared to earlier ones, have passed more legislation in an accelerated manner. We should insist the authorities to take this all important legislation on top gear and try to pass it this year itself. The law making is only a beginning as the procedural rules and regulation will have to follow, so also effective dates of implementations of various provisions, which may take further 2 years. Hope wisdom prevails on JPC, who can proceed on fast pace to restore the fundamental rights to its citizens.

    • I accept your views that India need not compare with Pakistan. However here, I am only teasing the Government to hasten the passage of the law since there is one set of people who want to see this Bill being shelved. I also agree that the passage of the Bill (or more appropriately, bringing into effect, which may take atleast one more year) will cause disruption not only in the industry but also in the Government.
      But if we understand what needs to be done when this law comes into being, then the fear of the law will go away.

      For example, Government is today uncertain if what they have done in Arogya Setu is correct or not. If the law had been in place, we could have said that the Government has the power to collect and process personal data in times of medical emergency and for the purpose of safeguarding the public. Arogya Setu is more an app to protect the people who come into contact with a potential risk of a Covid infected person rather than an app which would save the infected person. The infected person can easily cheat the Government by keeping his mobile at home and using an alternate mobile when he moves out or by switching off the connectivity. But if users are honest and their recorded self assessment is honest it will be useful to the people who are likely to meet the infected person.

      If a person is finally diagnoized as infected, the App will help the Government to identify and warn all the persons with whom the person had come into contact in the recent past. This is the simple utility of the App which is in public good.Most critics however are using the current status of there being no law and asking for the source code to be made Open etc which are not solutions and may actually complicate the privacy risk management further.

      What I also felt was that presently we recognize PDPA 2012 as the Singapore law and we hope that Indian law will be recognized as PDPA 2020. If Pakistan also passes the law in 2020 with the same name, we will have to change the name of the Act.

      If “Racing with Pakistan” appeals to some in the Government, I want to use that handle….

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