Privacy is essential part of civil liberties and it has assumed more importance in the present connected world. We have computers, smartphones and many more mediums that capture, store and analyse personal and sensitive information on daily basis. It is natural that such information and data must be properly secured and adequately safeguarded. This is the reason why we need strong privacy and data protection laws on the one hand and effective and robust cyber security on the other.
Indian Supreme Court is already hearing few cases pertaining to privacy rights and their applicability in India. However, privacy rights in the information era are totally different from the traditional privacy rights. India has no dedicated laws on privacy and data protection (PDF) so far. We at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) strongly recommend that dedicated privacy and data protections laws must be urgently formulated by Indian Government. We also recommend that a techno legal framework must also be formulated by Indian Government as soon as possible.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court has taken up the cause against the privacy violating software and mobile applications. As per a media report, Supreme Court of India has taken a serious note of the software and mobile applications that can be used to extract private information from smartphones. The Court has asked the Central Government to clarify its stand in this regard and also to explain how such systems exist even though it’s clear that they are violating the law. A notice has also been issued to the Central Government, CBI as well as an IT firm: Spundan-The IT Pulse. The firm is known to sell such software, which according to the court can be used in anti-national activities.
The order was passed by a Three Judges bench comprising of Justice J S Khehar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. This was on the basis of a plea which was filed by Prashant Pandey, known as the whistleblower in the Vyapan scam in Madhya Pradesh. He had alleged that personal records of anyone, be it judges could be acquired using this software. He has pleaded for a CBI probe into the activities of companies such as these. The petition reads, “The illegal interception of calls, generation of call detail records etc are not only violative of Indian Telegraph Act and Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act but are also fuelling various criminal activities like extortion and has a direct bearing on national security”.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising said, “The gravity of the situation can be ascertained by the fact that today subscriber details including complete name and address along with the date of birth, alternative mobile/ land line number, call detail records, location of a mobile of any person can be availed through this online software, be it of the chief minister of a state, judges of higher courts, head of various armed forces, senior scientists etc by anyone who has installed this software on personal computer after purchasing it from IT Company”.