Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023: Stricter penalties loom for entities violating laws in India

Data Protection Bill: Pay up to Rs. 250 crore fine for data misuse

Entities mishandling or failing to safeguard digital user data in India could face severe penalties under the newly introduced Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023. The bill, tabled in Parliament on Thursday, outlines strict obligations for entities involved in data handling and processing while safeguarding the rights of individuals.

The proposed legislation suggests the establishment of the Data Protection Board of India to oversee data-related matters and ensure compliance with the bill’s provisions. The central government, the board, and its members will be protected against legal action when acting in good faith.

“No suit, prosecution, or other legal proceedings shall lie against the central government, the board, its chairperson, and any member, officer or employee thereof for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith under the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder,” the bill said.

Data Protection Bill: Penalties ranging from Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 250 crore

Compared to the draft proposal circulated for public consultation in November 2022, the bill has relaxed some penalty norms. Entities violating the data protection norms may now face penalties ranging from a minimum of Rs. 50 crore to a maximum of Rs. 250 crore.

The bill also grants the Centre the authority to block access to content in the interest of public welfare, subject to receiving a written reference from the Data Protection Board.

In response to the data protection bill’s introduction, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, emphasized that once passed by Parliament, the legislation would not only safeguard the rights of citizens but also foster innovation and growth in the digital economy. He further highlighted that the bill would enable the government’s lawful access during national security concerns and emergencies, such as pandemics and earthquakes.

“It will take a lot of the concerns and a lot of misuse and exploitation done by many of these (online) platforms. It puts a break on that once and for all. This is certainly legislation that will create big, lasting behavioral change and create high punitive consequences for any or all platforms that misuse or exploit the personal data of any Indian citizen,” Chandrasekhar said.

The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 aims to create a robust data privacy and security framework in India while promoting responsible data management practices across various sectors. As the country navigates the complexities of the digital age, the bill is expected to provide a much-needed safeguard for individuals and businesses in the digital ecosystem.


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