Data protection legislation is need of the hour: Parliamentary panel
New Delhi, Jan 24: Cautioning against India becoming a "digital colony", a parliamentary panel has said the country urgently needs data minimisation, data privacy and a data residency law to ensure the security of private and public data.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its draft report has urged the government to bring data protection legislation before Parliament at the earliest. The draft report also pitched for establishing a duly empowered coordinating authority, at par with Space and Atomic Energy Departments with adequate budget and reporting directly to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
As the country marches towards digitalisation, especially after demonetisation, it is necessary to have a sound consumer policy and data protection laws, the panel said. It also suggested that users or individuals must have control or ownership of the data they shared with various entities, who have become massive aggregators of data on their platform "... lest we become a digital colony with global entities having virtual control over data".
"The committee therefore feels that the country now urgently needs a data minimisation, data privacy and data residency law to ensure security of public and private data," it said.
Taking note of rising incidents of cyber attacks, including ransomware, and lack of trained professionals to deal with such attacks, the committee recommended that capacity and capability building on cybersecurity should be taken on mission mode. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), data security accounts for over 50 per cent of total infections in the country.