India needs a new digital law: Official

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with Mukesh Ambani during the Microsoft Future Decoded Summit on February 24, 2020 in Mumbai, India. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BENGALURU, Feb 17, 2022, ToI. Union minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said India needs a new digital law as the current legislation, the IT Act, is 20 years-old. “We need a law for the internet. It’s important to get the next bit of legislation right in terms of its ability for it to be flexible and evolutionary,” he said at the 30th edition of the Nasscom Technology & Leadership Forum that was held virtually on Wednesday, The Times of India reported.

Chandrasekhar said the Data Protection Act addresses issues of citizens’ right to privacy and lays out the rules for all of the intermediaries. He said the discourse around data protection is important. “But we want to make sure the momentum of our startup ecosystem is not blunted by even 1% if the regime hints at higher degree of compliance cost and compliance bureaucracy,” he said.

Justice B N Srikrishna, one of the architects of the Personal Data Protection Bill, had pointed out that the government should have made a distinction between personal and non-personal data.

Chandrasekhar, however, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised the ministry to have as much consultation as possible and the bill is being referred to the ministry. “We will continue this conversation for a little bit longer in my opinion. I don’t want to rush into something and then go back with more amendments. The world needs to get a signal that India’s cyber space is safe, trusted, open and accountable and most importantly very predictable in terms of what the jurisprudence around it is.”

He said India is the largest connected market in the world. “And even if you want to include China, we are still one of the largest markets and one of the largest connected democracies in the world. We have a lot to teach the world in terms of how we manage digitisation, increase digital adoption, inclusion and access to all, and at the same time ensure that the internet is safe, trusted, open and accountable,” he said.

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