The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, has been referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses. The JPC has been constituted under the chairmanship of New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi for examination and report.
"It has been decided to seek views and suggestions on the Bill from individuals and associations and bodies concerned," the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement on Thursday.
Those desirous of submitting their views and suggestions to the Committee may send two copies of their written memoranda and suggestions either in English or Hindi on the subject to the Director, Lok Sabha Secretariat or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com within three weeks from the date of publication, the statement said.
The memoranda submitted to the committee would form part of the records of the committee and would be treated as "confidential and would enjoy the privilege of the committee", it said.
"Those who wish to appear before the Committee, besides submitting Memoranda, are also requested to specifically indicate so. However, the Committee's decision in this regard shall be final."
Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha on December 11, announced that the draft Bill empowers the government to ask companies including Facebook, Google and others for anonymised personal data and non-personal data.
"By this data protection, we (government) is safeguarding the rights of Indians. As per the architecture of the Bill, if data is taken without consent of the individual, you will suffer a penalty," Prasad said.
There was a buzz when the Bill's latest version was introduced in the Lok Sabha, especially the provision seeking to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved.
Several legal experts have already red-flagged the issue and said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country. It is learnt that the Bill defines personal data as information that can help in the identification of an individual and has characteristics, traits and other features of a person's identity.