India government to withdraw personal data protection bill – TechCrunch

The Indian government is withdrawing its long-awaited Personal Data Protection Bill that drew scrutiny from several privacy advocates and tech giants who feared the legislation could restrict how they managed sensitive information while giving government broad powers to access it.

The move comes as a surprise as lawmakers had indicated recently that the bill, unveiled in 2019, could “see the light of the day” soon.

The Personal Data Protection Bill sought to empower Indian citizens with rights relating to their data. India has seen an explosion of personal data in the past decade as hundreds of citizens came online for the first time and started consuming a number of apps. But there has been uncertainty about how much power the individuals, private companies and government agencies have over it.

The bill drew criticism from many industry stakeholders. New Delhi-based privacy advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation said the bill “provides large exemptions to government departments, prioritizes the interests of big corporations, and does not adequately respect your fundamental right to privacy.”

The bill also mandated that companies may only store certain categories of “sensitive” and “critical” data including financial, health and biometric information in India.

“The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was deliberated in great detail by the Joint Committee of Parliament. 81 amendments were proposed and 12 recommendations were made towards comprehensive legal framework on digital ecosystem. Considering the report of the JCP, a comprehensive legal framework is being worked upon. Hence, in the circumstances, it is proposed to withdraw •The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019′ and present a new bill that fits into the comprehensive legal framework,” India’s IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a written statement Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for details…

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