Data Privacy and User Welfare in India: User Perception Analysis

Drop Down Menu Drop Down Menu Drop Down Menu Drop Down Menu


The expansion of Digital Economy (DE) is blurring the lines between the real and virtual world as well as between private and public space. Users spend a lot of time online to access various services through digital platforms, thereby generating large amount of valuable user data. This data is known to be important for digital technology platforms to enhance their competitiveness. On the one hand, these digital platforms have provided ease and comfort to users whereas on the other hand, the concerns regarding privacy and data protection have also emerged.

However, data mining does not only take place through digital platforms, but also through offline means by both: the government, as well as private players. Few examples of these would be: registration for the Aadhaar card, or subtly while purchasing goods, participation in exhibitions or under the guise of feedback surveys, etc.

The issue of securing the privacy of such data has assumed centre stage in light of the recent landmark judgement of the Supreme Court (SC) that establishes right to privacy as a fundamental right, and has also laid an obligation on the state to safeguard citizens right to privacy.

Unlike other developed countries, India does not have a separate data protection law, the need for which has become extremely important in the wake of recent cyber challenges, and data leakages through the websites of central and state government departments. Consequently, the government has constituted a 10-member Committee, headed by retired Justice B N Srikrishna to make specific suggestions for consideration of the central government on principles to be considered for data protection in India, and suggest a draft Data Protection Bill.

However, it remains to be checked whether users are unaware about their privacy intrusion or are wilfully, negligently or forcefully trading this intrusion to gain easy access to goods and services; do they find it difficult to protect their data privacy, and whether they are forced to allow such intrusion in pursuance of any national objective.

Moreover, the current capacity of users in protecting their data/information privacy needs to be gauged to identify the need to undertake user empowerment measures by the government to successfully navigate Indian users into the new data-driven world.




©2017 CUTS. All Rights Reserved.