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India nixes privacy bill that alarmed big tech companies, works on new law

Thursday, August 4, 2022

By Aditya Kalra and Aftab Ahmed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's government on Wednesday withdrew a controversial data protection and privacy bill which was first proposed in 2019 and had alarmed big technology companies such as Facebook (NASDAQ:META) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), announcing it was working on a new comprehensive law.

The 2019 law had proposed stringent regulations on cross-border data flows and proposed giving the Indian government powers to seek user data from companies, seen as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stricter regulation of tech giants.

A government notice said the decision came as a parliamentary panel's review of the 2019 bill suggested many amendments, leading to the need for a new "comprehensive legal framework". The government will now "present a new bill," the notice added.

India's junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) the new planned framework will adhere to global standards, adding that privacy was a fundamental right of Indian citizens and that the economy required such cyber laws.

The 2019 privacy bill was designed to protect Indian citizens and establish a so-called data protection authority, but it had raised concerns among Big Tech giants that it could increase their compliance burden and data storage requirements. (https://reut.rs/3JyJGld)

"It is good that there will be a redraft from scratch," said Prasanto Roy, a New Delhi-based consultant who closely tracks India's technology policy.

"However, India still has no privacy law in sight. That's leaving data regulation open to a wide variety of sectoral regulations, something a common privacy law could have harmonised."

CONCERN OVER DATA MISUSE

India says such regulations are needed to safeguard the data and privacy of citizens. Lawmakers have said that concerns about misuse of sensitive personal data have risen exponentially in India.

Companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google have for years been concerned with many other separate regulations India has proposed for the technology sector, often straining relations between New Delhi and Washington.

After India's privacy law plan of 2019, it also floated new proposals to regulate "non-personal data", a term for data viewed as a critical resource by companies that analyse it to build their businesses. The parliamentary panel had said such non-personal data should be included in the purview of the privacy bill.

The bill also exempted government agencies from the law "in the interest of sovereignty" of India", a provision privacy advocates at the time said would allow agencies to abuse access.

"There were multiple, large concerns earlier. One has to wait and watch whether the new bill is any better," said Apar Gupta, the executive director at advocacy Internet Freedom Foundation.

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19-08-2022 14:11:36 (UTC+7)

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 EUR/USD1.0086↑ Buy
 GBP/USD1.1918↑ Buy
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 USD/CAD1.2967Sell
 EUR/JPY137.75↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF0.9663↑ Buy
 Gold1,767.65↑ Sell
 Silver19.198↑ Sell
 Copper3.6107↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI89.61↑ Sell
 Brent Oil95.64↑ Sell
 Natural Gas9.085Sell
 US Coffee C214.80↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 503,763.55↑ Sell
 S&P 5004,283.74Sell
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 FTSE 1007,529.66↑ Sell
 Hang Seng19,750.50↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20002,000.73↑ Buy
 IBEX 358,407.66↑ Sell
 BASF43.200↑ Sell
 Bayer53.87Neutral
 Allianz177.42↑ Sell
 Adidas166.28Sell
 Lufthansa6.420↑ Sell
 Siemens AG109.89Neutral
 Deutsche Bank AG8.700↑ Sell
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