President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent to the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023 (DPDP Bill) after it was passed by both the houses of the parliament, along with three other bills including the Delhi Services Bill. The DPDP law aims to protect the privacy of Indian citizens while proposing a penalty of up to Rs 250 crore on entities for misusing or failing to protect digital data of individuals.
The Bill was passed in both houses of the parliament even as opposition members staged a walkout over the situation in Manipur. The bill introduces several compliance requirements for the collection and processing of personal data, including provisions to curb misuse of individuals' data by online platforms, and entails up to Rs 250 crore penalty for any data breach. The Government of India issued a gazette notification for the Digital Personal Data Protection Act after it received the assent of the President.
Government of India issues gazette notification for the Digital Personal Data Protection Act after it receives the assent of the President pic.twitter.com/tMt2LbhAfe— ANI (@ANI) August 12, 2023
Criticism of the bill
The new bill has drawn criticism from opposition leaders as well as groups that advocate for fair internet rights. One such concern regarding the bill was the implications it could have on the Right To Information (RTI) Act that was passed in 2005. “It jeopardizes privacy, grants excessive exemptions to the government, and fails to establish an independent regulator,” digital rights group Access Now said in a statement. The law also has the potential to enhance the government’s control over personal data and increase censorship, the group said.
Prior to the passing of the bill, the Editors Guild of India had expressed concerns over the impact it would have on press freedom. "It creates an enabling framework for surveillance of citizens, including of journalists and their sources," the group said.
EGI is deeply concerned about Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, as it carries provisions that can have adverse impact on press freedom. Urges @loksabhaspeaker to refer bill to Parliamentary Committee. @narendramodi@GoI_MeitY@AshwiniVaishnawpic.twitter.com/2wwxuVbaBI— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) August 6, 2023
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily alleged that the legislation was "regressive" and intended to impose an "emergency on a permanent basis". He said the legislation proposes to amend the RTI Act to exempt all personal data about individuals which would also mean that government officials and ministers can choose not to make disclosures in answers to RTI applications.