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Data Protection Bill, 2023 Ushers a New Era in India's Digital Journey

CIO Insider Team | Monday, 7 August, 2023
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The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, signals the ushering in of a new era in India’s digital development journey.

After a five-year-long wait, it seems that India is finally set to have its own full-fledged data protection law.

It is one which recognizes the value and centrality of personal data in today’s globally interconnected digital economy, as well as one that takes cognizance of the need to safeguard such personal data from misuse.

The legislative drafting of the Bill is said to be innovative. It is written in a clear, simple, and basic style with little use of carve-outs, cross-references, and legal jargon that tends to affect reading. Illustrations are also used frequently. These have the result of making the Bill more intelligible and accessible to the general public, which is crucial to take into account for a law that affects the almost 700 million Indians who are currently online.

The Bill has likewise chosen a principles-based approach that concentrates on dos and don'ts, leaving matters of form and manner largely up to the Central government's ability to make rules—or to the discretion of digital enterprises themselves.

Businesses are likely to gain from the Bill's light-touch and accommodating approach to processing personal data, which is focused on a notice-and-consent system that is relatively simple and straightforward and takes a much more permissive stance on cross-border sharing of personal data than was previously thought to be possible.

The Bill's focus on principles and outcomes rather than on modalities or processes makes sense given the speed of innovation and upheaval in the tech sector. This strategy will not only prolong the effectiveness of the law, but it will also provide businesses some leeway in obtaining compliance without necessarily compromising the law's goals.

In terms of substance, it is clear that the current Bill has chosen a special Indian balance between defending individual liberties and taking into account the demands and interests of business and innovation on the other, all the while leaving enough room for the government to continue providing services with little interruption. Even while such a delicate balancing act is sure to raise some eyebrows, it provides a sense of inclusivity overall, with each stakeholder coming out on top in some way.

Businesses are likely to gain from the Bill's light-touch and accommodating approach to processing personal data, which is focused on a notice-and-consent system that is relatively simple and straightforward and takes a much more permissive stance on cross-border sharing of personal data than was previously thought to be possible. These actions show that the government is willing to place its trust in businesses operating in the private sector to operate as trustworthy stewards of their clients' personal information.

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