Is the right to privacy given to the citizens of our country? Is a data protection bill able to resolve the problem of privacy? What if our data is leaked to somebody? These are some of the questions that come into our minds whenever we think about this. We usually worry about our personal data and information when collected by the government. A fact says that in every 79 seconds an identity is stolen and misused for committing crimes. Hearing this type of news makes us feel terrible and unsafe. 

Privacy is one of the most difficult concepts to understand and has many dimensions. It is one of the major issues nowadays. Privacy related crimes are the wildest increasing crimes of these days. These are increasing so rapidly like the fire in the forest. Though the right to privacy does not stand as an independent fundamental right, but the supreme court in its judgement in justice K.S Puttaswamy (retd) Vs Union of India held that right to privacy comes under Article 21 i.e. “right to life”. Still privacy has become a burning issue regarding the concerns raised against government’s initiatives to collect personal data from citizens. Not only this but the Data Protection Bill, 2019 is also at stake. The definition of social media intermediary given in clause 26 of the bill reads out to be vague. The power given to these intermediaries to verify the users can become a big problem for the government in future and might overlap the power of government given in section 79 of information technology act, 2000. The power given to government in clause 35 of Data Protection Bill to exempt any agency from partial or complete application of data protection law, uses data for surveillance which is against the judgement and decision laid down in Puttaswamy case.

There are several examples of such schemes by the government which uses the personal information of citizens which further gets stored with the government. Aadhar card is one of the prominent examples of this. The Aadhar card in itself stores so much personal information from fingerprints to eye scanning and a lot more, getting it linked with the PAN card will create more doubts and problems in the future. People do not know how their data and personal details are secured after being collected. If we talk about the times faced by the world nowadays and health crises in our country, there have been cases where there has been threat to the privacy of an individual. In dealing with these health crises our government launched an application “AAROGYA SETU” which actually puts several questions on privacy and data protection. 

This application works on the principle like other contact tracing applications. According to its privacy policy, it collects data and discloses it to the government for medical interventions but the users do not have any idea regarding what is done with the data and how it is protected from the hackers. It asks for Bluetooth to be on every time and also traces one’s contacts which violates right to privacy. The point that should be focused is: if the application is designed for the safety of people then all the security codes and principles must be reflected to them. Thus, it must be open source. The main problem is that it is not backed by any law. Though it is run by the Ministry of electronics and information technology, its legality has failed. This makes it a challenge for right to privacy and data protection.

Though the Data Protection Bill has been passed as a legal framework to protect the data and prevent its misuse, there are still several problems that have to be resolved in order to avoid unforeseeable damages and issues in future. Hacking is very common nowadays, especially when the accounts of celebrities are hacked and their personal photos are leaked into the world. There are several web pages over the internet which ask the user about its history of web pages in order to know their interests. Privacy is something that is an obvious right for everyone. Nobody in this world would want that his/her data should be used for some unethical or illegal work. 

The accounts, social media details and other personal details of an individual is very easily accessible. All this is possible due to advanced technology which makes it very easy for the hackers to get into somebody’s account and steal all the data. This type of technology is not only a threat to common people but also to the government and its super secrets. With the advancement of technology there has to be advancement in the laws and regulations. It’s high time for our government to realize these dangers and make some strict laws for the same. Hence, it can be concluded that privacy is one of the major issues of contemporary concerns of constitutional law, giving it a tough target to deal with.

(Author:Monesh Mehndiratta)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *