The Joint Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 under the Chairmanship of the Pali, Rajasthan MP PP Chaudhary has proposed that personal and non-personal data both should be included in the ambit of the proposed law. The Committee, comprising of 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha had examination the draft law as task.
The report tabled in both Houses of Parliament yesterday by the Joint Committee expressed a strong view that the social media intermediaries should be treated as publishers of the content, owing to the fact that they have the ability to select the receiver of the content and also exercise control over the access to any such content hosted by them. The committee felt the immediate need to regulate social media intermediaries.
In the process of reviewing the Bill, the Joint committee held meetings with civil society members, industry representatives and other stakeholders. The panel sought greater accountability from social media platforms by inclusion of both personal and non-personal data in the ambit of the proposed law on data protection
The draft bill caters to the issues pertaining to consent, personal data, permissible exemptions, storage restrictions for personal data and individual rights. It seeks restrictions on the use of personal information of people without their explicit consent.
The major recommendations of the panel are below.
- No social media platform should be permitted to operate in the country unless the parent company sets up an office in India.
- A mechanism to put in place by which social media platforms will be made responsible for content from unverified accounts
- Onus should be on the social media intermediaries to mandatorily verify the account once application for verification is submitted with necessary documents.
- A statutory media regulatory authority be set up to regulate the content on all media platforms, whether they are print, online or otherwise on the lines of the Press Council of India.
- A framework should be created to regulate manufacturers of hardware, who also collect data along with the software.
- The proposed law should not be restricted to the protection of personal data and the nomenclature should be changed from Personal Data Protection Bill to bring in non-personal data also in the ambit of the law.
Chairman of the committee PP Chaudhary is a former minister of state for ministry of law and justice & ministry of electronics and Information technology. Other Members include Aparajita Sarangi, Arvind Dharmapuri, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Dayanidhi Maran, Gourav Gogoi, Heena Gavit, Kirit Solanki, Tejasvi Surya, Mahua Moitra, Manish Tewari, P.V. Midhun Reddy, Rajiv Ranjan (Lalan) Singh, Ritesh Pandey, S.S. Ahluwalia, Sanjay Jaiswal, Satya Pal Singh, Shrikant Eknath Shinde, Uday Pratap Singh, A. Navaneethakrishnan, Amar Patnaik, Derek O Brien, Jairam Ramesh, Rakesh Sinha, Ram Gopal Yadav, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Prabhu Suresh Prabhakar, Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe and Vivek K. Tankha.
Congress MPs Jairam Ramesh, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha and Gaurav Gogoi, Trinamool Congress legislators Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra and Biju Janata Dal’s Amar Patnaik among others had expressed their dissent after the panel adopted its draft report in November.