Data protection bill enabling framework for surveillance of journalists: Editors Guild

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The Editors Guild of India has expressed concerns over certain provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, saying they can have an adverse impact on press freedom.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Guild said the DPDP Bill creates an enabling framework for the surveillance of citizens, including journalists and their sources.

The Guild has asked Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to refer the Bill to a parliamentary standing committee. It has also written about its concerns on the Bill to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and leaders of political parties in Parliament.

The government tabled the DPDP Bill in Lok Sabha on August 3. The proposed legislation aims to protect the privacy of Indian citizens by suggesting a penalty of up to Rs 250 crore on entities for misusing or failing to protect digital data of individuals.

The Bill comes six years after the Supreme Court held that right to privacy is a fundamental right.

Under Section 36 of the DPDP Bill, the Guild said, the government can ask any public or private entity (data fiduciary) to furnish personal information of citizens, including journalists and their sources. (Agencies)

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