India’s Lok Sabha Passes Comprehensive Data Protection Bill 2023, Safeguarding Citizens’ Privacy

The Lok Sabha has successfully passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023, a significant milestone in safeguarding personal data. Proposed by Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the bill aims to establish a comprehensive framework to protect individuals’ data rights and outline the responsibilities of data-managing organizations.

The bill was initially introduced in December 2019 and underwent thorough examination by the Joint Committee of the Houses before its presentation in December 2021. After a year of consultations and reviews, the government reintroduced the bill, proposing substantial penalties of up to INR 250 crore for corporations found in violation.

The legislation is not confined to online data but also extends to digitized offline data gathered from data principals in India. Companies providing products or services to Indian citizens will be subject to the same rules.

Key provisions of the Bill include mandatory protection of personal data by firms, even if stored with third-party data processors. Firms must appoint a Data Protection Officer and report any data breaches to both the Data Protection Board and users. Appeals against DPB decisions will be heard by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal.

The passing of this bill represents a significant step forward in ensuring robust data privacy for citizens and holding organizations accountable for responsible data management and processing.

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