Centre for Internet & Society

A crucial consultation ahead of the framing of the country's data protection laws witnessed animated discussions here on Saturday.

The article was published in Deccan Herald on January 14, 2018

Participants raised a variety of concerns. Held on the IISc campus, it discussed everything from revenge porn and human genomics to artificial intelligence and the right to be forgotten.

Cybersecurity experts, academics, lawyers and others attended the day-long event.

They made their submissions to the Srikrishna Committee, formed on July 31 last year to frame principles for data protection laws.

The session was chaired by Justice B N Srikrishna, retired Supreme Court judge. Also on the panel were Rama Vedashree, CEO, Data Security Council of India, and Gopalakrishnan S.

The basis of the discussion was a 200-page document drafted by the nine members of the Srikrishna Committee. January 31 is the deadline to respond to the committee's white paper.

Classification of data

Several dystopian scenarios, such as profiling and discrimination with the help of behavioural and psychometric data, led to discussions on the need for classification of data types.

Darshana, a lawyer from the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), spoke about how people were being denied rations for not holding Aadhaar.

The collection of children's biometric data brought up the question of consent.

Srikrishna clarified the white paper contained a chapter on consent: it suggests an age limit below which parental consent will have to be mandatory.

A discussion on the right to be forgotten arose after some participants sought a provision to revoke consent already given.

Questions associated with genome sequencing were raised by Vijay Chandru, professor, IISc.

"We need to pay special attention to this type of information. The collection of DNA in the form of saliva, when, say, you make a visit to a weight loss clinic, has become the commercial norm. The Insurance Regulatory Act can have huge implications as genetic data can be used to discriminate and deny health coverage," Chandru said.

Sunil Abraham, head of the Centre for Internet and Society, said he was delighted with the quality of debate and discussion.