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Rights & Abuses

India needs to remember the lesson learnt recently by a grandmother in the Netherlands. The old lady has been reprimanded in a court for posting pictures of her grandchildren on the social media, without taking permission from her daughter! The court said that she violated the ‘Privacy of children’s information’, asking the lady to delete those images or to pay fine. In India, one can easily collect, store, sell or use others’ data, as these acts are not considered as ‘crime’ in the South Asian nation!

Unfortunately, the Indian State is still not careful enough about ‘privacy’. Although the ‘Private Data Protection Bill’ was placed in the Parliament in 2019, it is yet to become a Law as there is dissatisfaction with the proposed Law. According to some parliamentarians, the draft law allows the State to monitor individual data or information. In the midst of that debate, a new concern has emerged. The Government of India plans to take another step that will certainly increase the risk of violation of privacy. The Government is all set to monitor the movements of the Indians! The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has already prepared a draft of ‘Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules, 2020’. According to experts, these Rules will help the State monitor the movements of citizens, through drones! Various conditions of registration, sale and use of drones have been mentioned in the draft… but, the Ministry did not mention the protection of personal information!

While flying in the sky, a drone can easily click images, record sounds, and collect various information without the knowledge of the people. Later, those images and information could be used for business purposes and also for State surveillance! Some members of the Opposition parties and experts have expressed serious concern over this particular issue, and urged the Government to come out with certain rules and regulations, which would specify the offenses of storing, selling or using information collected by drones, and the penalties for doing so!

The Supreme Court of India declared Privacy a Fundamental Right in 2017. Even after that, the Government has ignored a sensitive issue, like the protection of personal information, while preparing the draft of ‘Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules, 2020’. It is important for a Modern State to remember that it would have to respect the Human Rights. Or else, the State would have to face the consequences…

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