In 2018, the Honorable Supreme Court, in the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs. Union of India pronounced that 'right to privacy' is our fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Indeed, it gave us a sense of security that no one can breach privacy as any such action amounts to breaching fundamental rights. However, when the euphoria of 2018 judgments ended, we find that nothing much has changed on the ground level. The collection and sale of our personal data is the staple of most of the Apps that claim to be free App. We need to remember that if we do not pay for a product then we are a product! Unfortunately, we do not have much-needed privacy legislation to deal with breach of Privacy and regulate information collection. The Personal Data Bill, 2019 is yet to pass from Parliament. We do not know how much time it will take to be enacted legislation. In essence, the entire domain of privacy law in India is governed under an executive order Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011 (2011 Rules). The 2011 Rules have been framed under Section 43A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 ("IT Act").
Hence, if we care about privacy, merely deleting WhatsApp shall not suffice. At an individual level, we need to be very cautious while installing an App on our phones. We should be alert while providing this App access to our phone. We should not click on random links sent via text messages/Apps. The government should enact the Indian data protection law at the earliest along with the execution framework.
We are sitting in 2021. This is an era of corporate surveillance. We have to care about our privacy!
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