‘Big Tech won’: Manish Tewari on withdrawal of data protection bill

After the government withdrew the data protection bill on Wednesday, Congress MP Manish Tewari, who was member of the parliamentary panel probing it, said the development is “most unfortunate” as Big Tech companies never wanted its existence.

He said that its most unfortunate that the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, as amended by the Joint Committee of Parliament, is being withdrawn though for a full two years, including during height of waves of Covid-19, MPs across parties worked to better it.

“Big Tech never wanted this Law. Big Tech won, India lost,” he said.

He said he had rejected the Personal Data Protection Bill in toto in the dissent note since it split the data universe into government, which was exempt, and the private sector where it would apply with full rigour.

“I still believe that had it been debated on the floor of the house, better legislation could have emerged,” he added.

Citing that the Supreme Court judgement upholding Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right, he said that the silver lining is, that with the bill withdrawn, at least the Right to Privacy will apply to the government too.”

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