In the wake of the Supreme Court (SC) judgment on privacy being a fundamental right, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said internet firms such as Google and Facebook that had access to user data needed to respect the law of the land.
He, however, did not give details on the issue and what would happen if these companies misused data.
There have been reports about data theft and misuse by which user details have been sold at a premium. Also in the case of mobile applications, users have to accept the terms and conditions of the app such as access to the camera, contacts list, and messages.
When pointed out that there had been instances of banks giving out customer information, the minister said no public sector bank had done that and if any private bank was found to do it, it would have to face the consequences.
The government has constituted a 10-member committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, to deliberate on a data protection framework for the country. The committee has held two meetings to discuss the issue. According to official sources, depending on the nature of the report, the government will take a call if there is a need for a separate law on data protection or the IT Act is enough.
Sources further said the government, to demonstrate that it was serious about the matter, had asked smartphone players to share details about their security architecture. The government is also probing the UC Browser for sending user data to a remote server.
The government will also strengthen the cyber laws of the country.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has come up with a consultation paper on privacy, security, and the ownership of data in the telecom sector even as it looks to define personal data and who should have ownership and control when a customer uses telecom services.
Currently there are no guidelines on the use of data by third parties and also who owns the data.
The Srikrishna committee will make suggestions on principles of data protection and a draft data protection bill.
“The government is cognisant of the growing importance of data protection in India. The need to ensure growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected is of utmost importance,” the government had said after forming the committee.