On October 19, 2013, the Center for Internet and Society (“CIS”), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Data Security Council of India held a Privacy Roundtable in New Delhi, the last in a series of roundtables that began in April 2013. The events were designed to elicit comments on a draft Privacy Protection Bill, proposed legislation for a privacy and personal data protection regime in India. The law would regulate the collection and use of personal data in India, as well as surveillance and interception of communications.

Speakers at the October 19 Roundtable included:

  • Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party and Chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority;
  • Chantal Bernier, Assistant Privacy Commissioner of Canada; and
  • Christopher Graham, UK Information Commissioner.

On September 20, CIS met with representatives from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to discuss U.S. privacy laws and potential frameworks and challenges to privacy in India.

Efforts to craft comprehensive privacy legislation in India (which would add to the Information Technology privacy regulations adopted in 2011) have been driven in part by EU concerns regarding personal data that is transferred to India for processing. Domestically, the use of personal identifiers (including biometric data) linked to comprehensive individual profiles has raised privacy issues for Indian citizens.

In 2011, the Planning Commission of the Government of India formed a group chaired by Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, to study international privacy laws, analyze existing Indian legal provisions and make specific proposals for incorporation into future Indian law. In October 2012, the group released the Report of the Group of Experts on Privacy, which summarizes privacy principles, national privacy rationales and emerging issues, and makes recommendations for a regulatory framework.