NEW DELHI: With the window to submit comments on India’s proposed personal data protection law closing on Tuesday, a period of anxious wait for the final version of the Bill started for social media firms. This comes even as global Internet companies have called on the government for improved transparency related to intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules and allay fears about the prospect of increased surveillance and prompting a fragmentation of the Internet in India that would harm users.
As per the proposed amendments, an intermediary having over 50 lakh users in the country will have to be incorporated in India with a permanent registered office and address. When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency or assistance concerning security of the state of cybersecurity.
This means that the government could pull down the information provided by platforms such as Wikipedia, potentially hampering its functioning in India.
In the open letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, leading browser and software development platforms like Mozilla, Microsoft-owned GitHub, and Cloudflare earlier called for improved transparency by allowing the public an opportunity to see a final version of these amendments prior to their enactment.
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses.
The government last month decided to seek views and suggestions on the Bill from individuals and associations and bodies concerned and the last date for submitting the comments was on Tuesday. (IANS)