All critical data to be processed locally, recommends BN Srikrishna Panel

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 28, 2018 11:46 hrs
Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna

New Delhi: The BN Srikrishna panel on Friday has finalized a 213 page draft bill. This bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament and enhance data protection measures for the country.

The bill comes at a time post the Facebook-Cambridge Data scandal that has exposed several data breaches. There is an impending need for higher security and government' scrutiny into how companies handle user data.

Former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna's recommendations majorly recommends processing personal data of people in India, within the country. The panel said "personal data determined to be critical" will be subject to the requirement of being processed "only in India".

"The central government should determine categories of sensitive personal data which are critical to the nation," added the panel. It further shared that there will be a prohibition against cross-border transfer of such data.

US trade groups and technology companies had been closely monitoring the developments of the recommendations, fearing any policy to alter their business models, including the prospects of a hike in costs.

Reuters reported technology experts as saying that both technology companies and governments were conscious of data breaches, but what constitutes "critical personal data" may still need additional detailing.

During a press briefing, Justice Srikrishna responding to a question on how financial data should be stored, said that the Reserve Bank had "jumped the gun", adding that a new data protection law will "override" all other notifications and regulations on data storage.

This was after US trade groups representing companies such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express, protested against the Reserve Bank's Indian April' directive. The RBI directive mandated all payments data to be stored locally within six months.

The panel has also recommended setting a "data protection authority", an enforcement agency of the new data protection law.

In view of the risks on data protection, the government on Thursday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the misuse of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy has been accused at the start of this year of improperly using data of 87 million Facebook users.

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