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Data Protection Act - Its Need In India

Written by: Shivangi Raman
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The Data Protection Act of England was introduced for the protection of the private lives of the people so that information that they wish to conceal (which may include the information about their health or their conjugal domicile may be hidden) and they may lead their lives without much turmoil.

The Data Protection Act gives privileges to people to give information regarding themselves to only those people and for only those purposes that they may deem fit. Also the reasons for which their data is taken from them cannot be concealed from them. If the use of the data is not coherently told to them and is used for undeclared purposes leaving those of national security then the citizen of the country has adequate rights to sue the authorities and bodies who took the data from the data subject.

India, the country with the second largest population of the world should take the responsibility of the citizens of the nation to help them maintain their privacy. With growing need for privacy, people of the country are in want of such laws that would help them to ensure that privacy is maintained.

Privacy Issues
The need for privacy not only includes the formulation of laws for the people but also strict regulations that would ensure that the authorities adhere to the rules of maintaining the privacy issues that regard the welfare of the citizens. Cross border exchange of details should be done only in cases where the country that is subject to the receipt of the information has also got some such law prevalent in it that protects the personal data of the citizens.

The people of the Indian sub-continent have been following laws that have been borrowed from the laws of other countries. This has been an obstacle in the procedure of making the laws in India more stringent. The people of India need to be told how important it is to have privacy in their lives and also that it is not their own duty but also the duty of the governing bodies to take care of their privacy issues. That one person’s matters are not broadcasted in the society by another person is a significant privacy subject matter.

It is indeed true that the ignorance and illiteracy prevalent in India are among those factors that hamper the growth of the nation. The solution to this problem is not the government of India but the people themselves. The people must strive to get educated and use their knowledge to widen their horizons and improve their thought process. This is, sadly, not done in India. The people are indeed getting educated but they do not aim to improve their personality by studying and using the knowledge gained in innovative thinking. The thought process needs to be immensely changed for privacy acts to take proper effect in India. The data protection act was formed when the parliamentarians of Britain thought that there was a necessity for the protection of privacy of the British citizens and to stop one person from getting the information of the data subject without his permission, there was a need of a law to be necessarily followed. There was also a realized need that the citizens of the United Kingdom came to know where, why and how their personal data was being used or would be used.

Other laws pertaining to privacy
Apart from creating and following the data protection act that regard storing and maintaining of the personal information of the people, the principle of data protection which speaks about the cross border data flow is also followed. The data protection principle of cross border data flow says that data shall not flow in any country where there is no such principle or law that is responsible for protecting the personal data of the citizens and that would prevent the data from falling into any such realm where it is likely to get misused.

Data is henceforth transferred to countries of the European Union where such laws exist and to countries like USA which follows the Safe Harbor Act and Canada that follows the PIPEDA which implies Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Apart from this United Kingdom consists of laws that would stop the organizations from sending unnecessary advertisements to the citizens on their cell phones or calling them with advertisements of their products on their landline phones. The Telecommunication Directive prohibits the organizations from troubling the citizens through advertisements that they have not opted for and the citizens have been conferred with the rights to sue the organization if the advertisements are not stopped on the user’s number within 30 days of notice.

Similar is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in which the surveillance of any particular person is carried out by the organization or the government for any particular security reasons and for this prior permission is supposed to be taken. Emergency case permission is given for forty eight hours only after which, if the surveillance is to be continued, there has to be a list of formalities fulfilled and the reason be clearly stated in detail. This is done so that the government does not remain as the sole body answerable for breach of privacy for performing the act of surveillance. It has been said that the Data Protection Act can be breached if it is a case of the national security or any such issue that governs the interests of the nation or welfare of the society because national interests are placed above the interest of the individual for the protection of his privacy.

Since India does not have any such rule, therefore, the European countries do not carry out any cross border transfer of information with India. So in order to foster information transfer and better relationship with the international community, the Indian subcontinent must have some such rule enacted that would ensure that the data taken from the citizens is not misused and kept properly with its proper and transparent usage ensured from the side of the organization collecting the data. Only with such a law, can there be globalization in its correct form and meaning ensured in India.

It is necessary for the people of India to learn the importance of privacy and experience its immediate need in order to make India flourish so that the privacy laws can be introduced in the country and the Act that would protect the privacy and personal data of the individuals and also promise the prohibition of any misuse may come up.

It is not just the people living in big cities and towns who require privacy. It is the need of every individual of the society whether young or old, whether belonging to the village or town. So, one should realize that letting out the family secrets or health secrets of any person may ruin his entire family life and make the individual end up into a miserable life. Hence there is a need to stop people from publicizing any such information that is against the interests of individuals.

To conclude:
“Every individual contributes in making a nation. His privacy must therefore be protected”.

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