On October 16, the Group of Experts on Privacy, Chaired by Mr. A. P. Shah, submitted its Report to the Planning Commission. The Expert Group was appointed to set out the principles that Indian privacy law should abide by. Even though privacy has been held to be a fundamental right as long back as in 1962, India does not have a law that specifies safeguards to privacy. Moreover, recent government initiatives, such as the UID, involve collection of personal information and storage in electronic form. The absence of a law on privacy increases the risk to infringement of the fundamental right. In this blog we list the recommendations made by the expert group, discuss the status of the right to privacy in India, and why there is a need for an enactment. Recommendations of the Expert Group on Privacy
- The Expert Group recommended that the new legislation on privacy should ensure that safeguards are technology neutral. This means that the enactment should provide protections that are applicable to information, regardless of the manner in which it is stored: digital or physical form.
- The new legislation should protect all types of privacy, such as bodily privacy (DNA and physical privacy); privacy against surveillance (unauthorised interception, audio and video surveillance); and data protection.
- The safeguards under the Bill should apply to both government and private sector entities.
- There should be an office of a ‘Privacy Commissioner’ at both the central and regional level.