According to a draft of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, the Indian government may have the authority to reduce the age at which users can agree to data processing to 14 years. Companies requesting consent to process children’s data, on the other hand, must demonstrate that the information is handled in a “verifiably safe” manner.
The Central Government might change the age limit for consent
The proposed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 in India attempts to protect child’s personal data under the age of 14 through several provisions. The proposed lower age of consent in India under the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 is to loosen relevant norms and fulfil the demands of Internet corporations. After a year, the government may reconsider the definition of a child with the goal of expanding coverage to children under the age of 14. The proposed shift in the age of consent has elicited varied views, with some experts suggesting that it might potentially expose children to data processing concerns.
The definition of a child is understood to have been amended in the data protection Bill, which is anticipated to be submitted in Parliament’s Monsoon session, to an “individual who has not completed the age of eighteen years or such lower age as the central government may notify.” A child was defined as an “individual who has not completed eighteen years of age” in the 2022 draft.
Under deemed consent, the government has also added the ‘legitimate business interest’ clause
This clause allows businesses to process personal data without obtaining explicit consent if it is required for their legitimate business interests. The measure recognises that corporations have legitimate objectives, such as innovation, that can be pursued without jeopardising privacy.
Change in Data Protection Boards
The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022, India’s new plan to secure personal data, represents a significant shift in strategy by emphasising outcomes rather than legislative compliance. This amendment will strengthen the Data Protection Board’s position, as its judgments on noncompliance complaints will establish India’s first systematic jurisprudence on data protection. The Cabinet has approved the bill and may be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon session starting on July 20.
The draft law leaves the selection of the Data Protection Board’s chairperson and members solely to the discretion of the central government, making it a central government set-up board. The government retains control over the board’s composition, terms of service, and so on. The bill does specify, however, that the Data Protection Board would be completely independent and will have a strictly adjudicatory procedure to adjudicate data breaches. It has the same status as a civil court, and its rulings can be appealed.
India’s first regulatory body in Charge of preserving privacy
Some expected amendments to the law include a blacklist of countries to which Indian data cannot be transferred and fewer penalties for data breaches. The bill’s scope is limited to processing digital personal data within Indian territory, which means that any offline personal data and anything not digitised will be exempt from the legislation’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, the measure is silent on the governance of digital paper records.
The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 is a much-needed piece of legislation that will replace India’s current data protection regime and assist in preserving individuals’ rights. Central Government is looking for a change in the age for consent from 18 to 14 years. The bill underlines the need for verifiable parental consent before processing a child’s personal data, including those under 18. This section seeks to ensure that parents or legal guardians have a say in the processing of their child’s personal data.
Author- Himanshi Singh, Associate, Policy & Advocacy Team, CyberPeace