Firstly, happy-almost-Privacy Day! Two years ago, on 24 August 2017, the Supreme Court of India unequivocally declared that all Indians were guaranteed a fundamental right to privacy in the landmark Puttaswamy versus Union of India case. Tomorrow we hope that the community will celebrate this day in any way possible, and create social media content with the hashtag #PrivacySupreme. In Delhi, Mozilla’s policy team is organizing an event to celebrate this judgment too! Here are some tweets and images to help you get started!
Secondly, we wanted to give all community members an update and breakdown of the work on the privacy law campaign in India.
We would like to thank each and every individual and group that participated in the postcard action on the data protection law, we received and overwhelming 800+ postcards from 20 states! We showed Members of Parliament that citizens from across the country stood up for Privacy! These were then couriered to 17 Members of Parliament - all of whom had expressed interested or spoken up for privacy before.
Find the states that sent postcards below (this is not in any particular order:
- Uttar Pradesh
- Andhra Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- West Bengal
- Tamil Nadu
- Jammu & Kashmir
So what happened with the bill?
Despite multiple reports that the government was going to pass the Personal Data Protection Bill (it was on the agenda for bills in the session) the bill was not tabled.
This has been attributed to disagreements within the government on provisions of the bill, especially concerns on data localization and restrictions on government use of data. These delays meant that the Bill failed to be introduced.
Where do we go from here?
The communities postcards, petitions and other actions have shown Members of Parliament across party lines that citizens do in fact care about data protection, for many it reinforced this belief! For the first time, privacy and data protection came up as a recurring discussion item in Parliament, through interventions by MP’s such as D. Ravikumar, Shashi Tharoor and Mahua Moitra and others!
We need to keep this pressure up on the government to ensure that they strengthen, and don’t weaken the current draft privacy law. We also need to continue privacy outreach on social media and other channels to remind MPs and others that people care! We might relaunch our petition in the coming months.
Recent reports indicate that the government has full intentions to introduce the Bill in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament. Unfortunately no one outside the ministry has seen the Bill in many months and there is a real fear that it could be extremely weak, as Amba has explained in her Times of India Op-Ed (please read through it, if you haven’t already).
Which means the postcard action is only the beginning, as a powerful community we need to continue putting pressure on the government to ‘Put our Privacy First!’
Stay tuned for more updates on the Campaign!