New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said that non-state authorities collecting data will have to abide by the Supreme Court verdict that right to privacy is a fundamental right.
Prasad, addressing a press conference here, was asked about the impact of the judgment on other agencies, apart from Aadhaar, which are collecting data, especially biometric data.
“This is a matter of some examination, except to lodge a caveat, that if the right to privacy is embedded as a part of fundamental right then all data collection being (done by) non-state authorities also will have to abide by that,” said Prasad, who is also Communications and IT Minister.
Asked if it will apply to companies such as Google, WhatsApp…, Prasad said, “I did not say that. That is a question to be examined but they will have to abide by that. And the rationale for having a data protection law committee is only to ensure a robust data regime for India – safety, security and also with regard to privacy.”
Asked about companies such as Google and Facebook coming in and privacy becoming a big issue, and if the government was considering amending the cyber law, Prasad said the big technological companies should learn to respect laws of the country.
“We are very proud that India is emerging as a digital power and is completely free in the IT sector. Today, Google and Facebook are also empowering Indians. Ordinary Indians are on social media. Let us celebrate that. But today I can only give this caution that these big technological giants in the field of IT should also learn to respect the laws of India,” he said.
Answering a query about banks sharing data with telecom operators, Prasad said, “I am not sure about the public banks. They are not. But if any private bank is seeking to share data if at all, they must follow Aadhaar Act (or) consequences will follow.”
Answering another query, he said India was erecting its cyber wall of security “in a very, very substantial way”.
“Cyber war is a bloodless war. We are promoting cyber drills, cyber education and cyber coordination.”
He said cyber security will play a very crucial role in India’s digital economy becoming a one trillion dollar economy.
Prasad said the government is of the clear opinion that its legislations were compliant with the tests laid down in the apex court judgment.
He said the court has spoken of “balance of equities” that requires a careful and sensitive balance between individual interests and legitimate concerns of the State. The court, he said, had stated that the legitimate aims of the state would include, for instance, protecting national security, preventing and investigating crime, encouraging innovation and the spread of knowledge, and preventing the dissipation of social welfare benefits.
“The Government is committed to this.” he said.
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