As the conversation about data protection and privacy take greater precedence across the world, governments and agencies are adopting a more inward-looking policy with regards to its data privacy laws. Across the world, governments are giving more importance to an individual's right to data and has been taking stern action against the corporatisation of data.
Each year, 28 January is observed as the Data Privacy Day in India, the US, Canada and 47 European countries. Initiated by the Council of Europe as early as 2007, the day is observed to raise awareness and promote data protection practices.
With the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, the move has managed to create a ripple across the continent. The EU's stern policies and exorbitant fines for agencies, companies and even individuals for noncompliance has thrust the conversation about the importance of data protection into the limelight again.
In fact, ever since the implementation of the policy, companies like Google and Facebook, which owns a large share of its user's data, has come under the radar on several occasions for unlawful use of their customer data.
Reinstating the importance of the day, Erin Egan, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer said that the social media platform is will be inviting people to take up a privacy checkup in the next two weeks. "For Data Privacy Day we’re showing people a reminder in News Feed inviting them to take Privacy Checkup. We’ll roll this out around the world over the next two weeks to help people review," Egan said in a blog.
Data protection law in India
As today marks the 12th year of its initiation, the relevance of the day in India is highly pertinent, as the country is gearing up for the adoption of its first data protection law. With the implementation of Personal Data Protection Bill, the government hopes to turn the data privacy into a fundamental right while giving individuals the greater say and control over their data.
The bill which is set to be tabled in the parliament in June this year has raised concerns from various stakeholders as it gives the government complete monopoly over citizen's data. With government initiatives such as Aadhaar and Digital Locker being susceptible to security vulnerabilities in the past, rights activists and even tech giants have raised their concerns revolving certain provisions of the new draft policy.
Though the government's move has warranted a mixed response within the country, with its push for a draft policy on data protection, the government seems to acknowledge the importance of data protection in this age of data influx.
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Akshaya Asokan works as a Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine. She has previously worked with IDG Media and The New Indian Express. When not writing, she can be seen either reading or staring at a flower.