IMF Paper reveals: India’s Privacy Rights of Users are at risk.

The Indian government has still failed to implement a data protection framework for users. Leaving India on the third rank of global data breaches in 2021.

 Electronics, Phone, Mobile Phone

A paper by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the title ‘Stacking up the Benefits: Lessons from India’s Digital Journey’ shows that a comprehensive data protection law is still missing in India. Already in 2017, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right and requested the government to implement a robust data protection regime. Such a framework would be ‘essential to protect citizens’ privacy, prevent companies and governments from indiscriminately collecting data, and holding companies and governments accountable for data breaches to incentivize appropriate data handling and adequate investments in cybersecurity’. So far, the Indian government has failed to implement an adequate data protection framework. Leaving India on the third rank of global data breaches in 2021 with 80 million affected users and an average costs of a data breach of $2.2 million.

This puts the privacy and digital rights of users at risk, but also weakens trust and delays the transition to digital channels. India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) ecosystem promises to ‘foster innovation and competition, expand markets, close gaps in financial inclusion, boost government revenue collection and improve public expenditure efficiency’. However, despite considerable progress, digital literacy remains low especially for older and poorer individuals in India.