Panel discussion on Data Privacy Bill

Panel Members:

  • Jochai Ben-Avie, Head of International Public Policy
  • Amba kak, Public Policy Advisor, Mozilla
  • Srinivas Kodali, Privacy Activist, FSMI
  • Dr. L. Prathap Reddy, Professor JNTUH, Working Chairman Swecha.
  • Srikanth Lakshmanan, Software Professional with interests in Digital Payment, Open Data & Free Software.

Date: July 14th, 2019

Venue: Nilgiri Saranga Hall, IIITH

Follow this post for live threading of the discussion.


Amba’s Talk:

  • The data protection bill is being approved by various ministries. “Privacy is a fundamental right which applies to every citizen”. Supreme court upholds that “privacy is integral to every other rights”.

  • The draft bill says that “if you collect data you have to have proper reason. They cannot ask for more details”. “The bill should be equally strong on private sector as well as that of government”.

All personal data will have to be in servers within India.

We need a data protection law immediately. This law needs to be stronger.


Europe had some Protection laws in 1995 but not India ->Jochai Ben-Avie

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Our Personal data is the Growth of indian Economy ->Prof.Pratap Reddy

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The Biggest problem is every data is Centralised and Machines are decision makers but not us ->Prof Pratap Reddy


Jochai’s Talk:

  • Beyond the supreme court currently we don’t have any data protection law in India as of now.
  • Privacy takes a lot of people to happen. You have an opportunity to influence the government.

For example: EU has GDPR. The economic opportunities that data protection can bring in. If companies don’t comply they can be fined. In addition to that data can be brought back to the country.


Dr. Pratap’s Talk:

  • The recent economic survey of India mention that behavior pattern that helps for growth of economy. The question should be"who will use it?"

  • College biometric attendance which is highly difficult in a centralized system to understand genuine cause. Supreme court said " biometric attendance cannot be used".

  • when swecha went to the college saying that they are violating supreme court judgement, the VC replied that it was an instruction from the government.

  • Aadhaar is being linked to financial transaction, government schemes. Tracking is a dangerous phenomena.

Government says that it is collecting it but is the data with them or giving it to another 3rd party?


Driving license Details of every individual is been sold to the private companies at three crores and it is being going on


Real time governance: Tracking everyone individually at the time of instant. it is type of surveillance used by government

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Manabadi is not the government but are taking the data from the government - Srinivas kodali


As per the census, Every Government is holding the details of every citizen of state through surveys or any in other form,which can be used for the good purpose or any other things


Economic survey is the indicator for what is happening in India right now – Srinivas Kodali


Collecting of Tax
Redistribution of money to poor people,the money is also cross routed to the rich people in the form Home loans or any other format.


Linking of Aadhaar to Government entities or private entities is the main cause of Generation of Data in the society. now a days as supreme court is given statement that there’s no linking of Aadhaar to any kind of things still the linking of Aadhaar is going on

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We are not in control of what we want to.
We don’t have freedom to think what we can. --Srikanth Lakshmanan


Srinivas’s Talk:

  • Telangaana’s Samagra Kutumba Survey collected electricity bill details, tax details, bank account details, phone numbers and soo on.

  • Census data is aggregated. We don’t get every individual details. Now the question is who all have access to this data?

  • The voter profiling by political party that came out in 2019 (TDP). Though our data is being misused, no one is being punished. For example, manabadi, has all our data thought it isn’t a government agency.

  • “Data is being compared to a natural resource”.


Srikanth’s Talk:

  • Privacy is not about secrecy.
  • As government collects more data they have quasi-control on us. Tax purpose is to redistribute to the poor. Government is acting on redistribution of our personal data. The Government redistributes data to private players. The growth gets concentrated into few corporates.

For example, our educational data can be used to sell educational loans where the gains are obtained by a financial company.

(All the transcripts in this thread are updated from handwritten copies written by @pravallika10)


Panel discussion started.