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Alleging that the BJP-led government has repeatedly tried to carry out a “360-degree profiling” of citizens, the Congress on Sunday said that the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill recently introduced in Parliament “brazenly violates” data protection and right to privacy and demanded withdrawal of the Bill.
The Congress alleged the “big bother syndrome” is embedded in the NDA’s DNA as it wants to snoop into people’s living rooms. “Surveillance breeds conformity. And this government is an absolute conformist government. DNA Bill is an attempt to strengthen this conformity,” senior leader Abhishek Singhvi said.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Singhvi alleged that the government had made multiple attempts in the past to snoop into the living rooms of ordinary people.
“The leakage of Aadhaar data, then facing a backlash on it, not recognising Right to Privacy as a fundamental right, then relenting after SC verdict, collection of data through tainted global firms, not working towards a data protection law, miserably failing to achieve its mischievous motives by establishing a social media communication Hub…the Modi government has not learnt its lessons,” he said.
“The introduction of DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, in a hush-hush manner, in the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament is another attempt towards this mala fide objective,” he added. Singhvi said the Congress was not against DNA profiling but added that the govt’s Bill was ill-conceived and violates Data Protection and Right To Privacy.
Picking holes in the Bill, he said the criteria that an “eminent” person will head the post of vice -president and “expert” will be selected as the member of the DNA Regulatory Board will give the government discretionary power to choose a person favourable to it. “Similarly, clause 27 entitles the government to choose Director of National DNA Data Bank based on its discretion,” he said.
He said no obligations have been prescribed in the Bill for the data processor to ensure data protection and privacy and added that the Bill seeks to entitle the DNA Regulatory Boards with powers that might not even come under the purview of the judiciary.
“The data subjects will have no clues as to for which purposes their personal data are being used once they are collected. Besides…the Bill does not set a limit on how long someone’s DNA will be kept on record,” he said and asked the government to introduce a comprehensive data protection law first, encompassing issues pertaining to all the sectors and ministries of the government.