India rejects privacy bill that scared big tech firms, works on new law

india rejects privacy bill

India’s government withdrew a data protection and privacy bill that was first proposed in 2019 and alarmed big technology firms such as Google and Facebook, announcing it was working on a new comprehensive law.

The 2019 law proposed stringent regulations in cross-border data flows. It proposed giving the government powers to seek out user data from firms, understood as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sterner regulation of tech giants.

An Indian government notice said the decision came as a parliamentary panel’s review of the 2019 bill suggested many amendments, leading to the need for a new “comprehensive legal framework.” The government will now “present a new bill,” the notice read.

IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the government has started drafting the new bill in advanced stages with a public release not far away.

The Indian government aims to get the new bill approved and made law by early 2023 in the Indian parliament’s budget session, which typically runs from January to February.

The 2019 privacy bill was intended to protect Indian citizens and establish a so-called data protection authority. Still, it had raised concerns among Big Tech giants that it could increase their compliance burden and data storage requirements.