MSMEs must get relaxations in India’s data protection regime: Report

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Bengaluru, July 27 (IANS) As India moves closer to a new data protection regime, the regulations should provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) certain relaxations and exceptions under specific circumstances, industry chamber Assocham and British advisory multinational PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a joint report on Friday.

Stringent regulations may deter MSMEs due to the high costs and technology investments necessary for compliance, said the PwC-Assocham white paper titled “Privacy in the Data Economy”.

In India, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment last year declared privacy a fundamental right. This set the government in motion to take steps to bring a new data protection legislation for the country.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) last year constituted a committee of experts under the Chairmanship of Justice BN Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge, to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them.

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The BN Srikrishna committee submitted the keenly awaited report on Friday.

The PwC-Assocham report said that penalties in the data protection regime should be commensurate with the size and nature of the business.

Further, there should be a higher level of penalty for breaches of privacy that organisations wilfully make or that result in negligent security practices. There should be clarity around the quantum and nature of the same to the extent feasible, it added.

“But the absence of data privacy and protection law could lead consumers exposed to risks of their data being misused by organisations and data breaches on account of sub-optimal investments in security,” Siddharth Vishwanath, Leader – Cyber Advisory at PwC India, said in a statement.

Overall, the report found that India was moving in the right direction and was on the cusp of coming at par with the global standards in terms privacy protection.

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