The expert committee, headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, has recommended that processing of data for certain interests such as security of the State, legal proceedings, research and journalistic purpose, may be exempt from certain obligations of the proposed data protection law.

“For the creation of a truly free and fair digital economy, it is vital to provide certain exemptions from obligations that will facilitate the unhindered flow of personal data in certain situations. These exemptions derive their necessity from either a state or societal interest,” the committee said in its report submitted to the government on Friday.

‘Safeguards a must’

It, however, added that adequate security safeguards must be incorporated in the law to guard against potential misuse.

In the draft ‘The personal data protection law 2018’ that the committee has submitted, it has said that “processing of personal data in the interests of the security of the State shall not be permitted unless it is authorised pursuant to a law, and is in accordance with the procedure established by such law, made by Parliament and is necessary for, and proportionate to, such interests being achieved.”

He has recommended in the report that the Central government should expeditiously bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence gathering activities.

The research exemption, it said, has not been envisaged as a blanket one and only those obligations that are necessary to achieve the object of the research will be exempted by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).

It further added that to strike a balance between freedom of expression and right to informational privacy, the data protection law would need to signal what the term ‘journalistic purposes’ signifies, and how ethical standards for such activities would need to be set.

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