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Government forms panel to suggest Data Protection framework amid Aadhaar concerns

Prime News, Nation, New Delhi, August 2:- Amidst Aadhar concerns the government has constituted a ten member committee to recommend a framework for securing personal data, developing safeguards against data breaches.

The formation of the panel comes amid concerns over personal information being compromised with increasing use of bio metric identifier Aadhaar in various services from filing tax returns to availing government social schemes. The committee of experts headed by Justice B N Srikrishna, former judge of Supreme Court, will suggest a draft data protection bill, the IT Ministry said in a release.

The panel members come from government,. Academia and industry will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend ways to address them.

An office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT said: “The government is cognizant of the growing importance of data protection in India. The need to ensure growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected is of utmost importance.”

The panel will make specific suggestions to the government on principles to be considered for data protection in India and “also suggest a draft data protection bill”, and did not specify a timeframe and asked to do so as expeditiously as possible.

The panel also includes Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom; Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India; Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, IT Ministry; Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator; and Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Raipur.

Questions have also been raised over data security and privacy safeguards after some websites of the central and state government departments were found to be displaying personal details and Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries.

Aadhaar has been issued to over 115 crore people, and many government schemes and subsidies now mandate quoting of the 12 digit identification number. Also, the biometric identifier has been made mandatory for applying for PAN and bank accounts.

Telecom regulator TRAI too intends to start a consultation on data privacy and security within the telecom networks, particularly with regard to mobile apps seeking user data.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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