Right to privacy must be protected. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Right to privacy must be protected.


There have been conflicts between ‘rights of citizens’ and governance. The growing technologies have given access to the private details of individuals. 




For example, there is the data on social networking websites, which contains, your likes, dislikes, emails, and all the interests.




The government wants a free and fair digital economy which often clashes with the ‘right to privacy’.





What is Data?

Data that means information which is stored online on various website to know about user’s liking, opinions, gender, location. 



How can data be misused?

That certainly helps in analyzing what do customers or people like. Again, the choices we make can be influenced, as in the advertisement, they will show what we want to see- to be likable.




On the contrary, the place you go often can give the time to criminals, who can get access to your home, or can even kidnap your child.  


These things are possible because of the data and tiny details we share on the social networks.

If you talk about the government, the government also collect, store and process data for the public good.


The information can be used by social engineers to target campaigns and change the entire wind of the opinions during elections or for a campaign. 

The potential risk is that the information manipulates the individual's minds and the outcome is controlled by big money investors, research institutions or maybe political leaders. 


So, the data is the new oil term is relevant because the data is the most important thing for which governments and countries have been hunting for. 



Data Misuse- Incidents



Due to the fear of misuse in recent years, there have been media reports of - Adhar Card leak, US election manipulation by Russia, to protect data remains an utmost priority.  Even against the internet giant – Facebook, there have been some controversies that the data was misused by another firm. 




“I am a normal citizen. What can my choice do?”



Our citizens often have this misconception that their opinion or activities do not matter. Maybe as an individual, they do not matter, but as a collective group, every opinion helps in making a decision.




For example- if most of the people between the age group 18 to 25 go for online shopping, their behavior will be used in targeting the crowd.



Is it wrong?

Collecting data and gathering information for learning purpose is never wrong, but people should make an informed decision.





In other words, personal data in the custody of the state is for the state to use, monetize and exploit in any manner it desires so long as it guards against security incidents such as breaches and unauthorized access — i.e. unauthorized by the government.



As in the case of the world’s soon to be the largest populated country, - India. The Economic Survey of 2019 praised the government for selling and monetizing the vehicle owner’s data in Vahan database.



That violated the concept of personal data protection and privacy. As the digital economy is today’s concept where the personal data and privacy do not obtain much attention of the common man.

Even regretfully the government does not even understand the manipulation can be done by the data, as in the name of the free and fair digital economy, it compromises the privacy.





Steps to protect 

It is necessary to create a collective culture that fosters free and fair digital economy, respecting the informational privacy of individuals and ensuring empowerment, progress, and innovation. It is also necessary to create trust between individuals and who process it.

Data Principles are necessary to protect personal data as an essential facet of informational privacy. The law is needed to protect the autonomy of individuals in relation with their personal data to specify were the flow and usage of personal data is appropriate, to create a relationship of trust between persons and entities processing their personal data. 



A new dimension- The right to be forgotten



Data principal which means the individual or the person providing their data has a right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure. It also gives a data processor considerable leeway when it comes to deciding right to be forgotten.  




There is some opposition about the recommendation of Draft of Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 against the right to be forgotten, to remove very old irrelevant and unnecessary information links from social media networks.  



The concept 'right to be forgotten' is prevalent in the EU and France. However, the US did not prefer it as it might have suppressed press freedom.

 A rape victim has the right to be forgotten, at the same time criminal cannot claim that he has the right to be forgotten what was done in past. 



What should be done?



In highly growing online societies where services are also linked with computers like Aadhar has to be protected at any cost. Protecting data is essential as it will impact the entire social system including democracy. 



Policymakers and governments and corporates should balance the equation between individual privacy and data sharing. Therefore, there are various important aspects related to data, and data is no lesser than oil in today's world.


That judgment in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union Of India fundamentally changed the way in which the government viewed its citizens’ privacy, both in practice and prescription.

There have to structural reforms, transparency, and openness in the process of surveillance projects of the government. Not only that there should be a mechanism of judicial oversight over surveillance requests.

There has to be great care and sensitivity in dealing with personal information of citizens. Even, there is a need of rights-oriented data protection law that held all-powerful entities that deal with citizen’s personal data.

The data protection law embodied the principle that the state must be a model data controller and prescribed a higher standard of observance for the state.

The law also has to recognized and proscribed the practice of making access to essential services contingent on the citizen parting with irrelevant personal information.

 This law established an effective privacy commission that is tasked with enforcing, protecting and fulfilling the fundamental right to privacy implemented through the specific rights under the legislation.










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