Amid data privacy issues, the government is planning to prohibit mobile applications from collecting user information beyond their area of functioning. This comes after concern around data handling and user privacy at tech giants like Facebook, Whatsapp and other Chinese companies.
According to a TOI report, citing multiple sources, the government has already begun the process of working on a policy that would stop apps from collecting information that is “not necessary” for their functioning.
The government is going to have a “policy on pre-loading of apps on mobile phones.” It is also working to stop push apps which are advertised by handset manufacturers.
There are an increasing number of instances of cyber-attacks, phishing, and even data thefts at the hands of some of the well-known and larger internet apps.
The government has also been mulling over a data protection bill for the last one year. The Draft Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 had defined personal data as any data of a natural person which allows direct or indirect identifiability. Further, sensitive personal data has been defined as financial data, biometric data, positive additions such as religious and political beliefs, caste, intersex/transgender status, and official government identifiers like PAN etc.
To ensure that Indian are not being affected by any global data breach, the government had proposed a data localisation mandate in the bill. It also proposed that one copy of all personal data to which the law applies are to be kept in a server within India.
Further, certain categories of data, which are to be specified by the government as critical personal data are to be stored in India alone. At the same time, requirements for cross-border transfer of data are also imposed.
Only Russia and China ranked worse than India in terms of privacy and online surveillance, according to a study conducted by UK-based research firm Compritech.