Defining Privacy and Data Privacy in the Indian PDPB 2019

The right to data privacy has been articulated in all of the major international and regional human rights instruments as of today

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Many of the readers may be wondering about this sudden noise both in mainstream and social media over Privacy. Many of these are confusing and some are pure myths. With almost all Business in total or partial lockdown, and many of us working from home or remote locations, the issue of Privacy has once again come to the fore.


Through these series, we plan to Demystify the concept of Privacy, connect Privacy to Personal Data Privacy and ultimately to Indian Personal Data Protection Bill 2019. Experts have high expectations that this Bill is will be passed in the next session of Parliament in August 2020, depending on how the lockdown situation emerges.

So Why Do We Care So Much About Data Privacy?

Before we attempt to answer the above, let’s delve on the meaning and concept of privacy.


Yes it true, Privacy as a concept has been present in the society for thousands of years, but has never been defined formally. Historians have cited numerous examples of Privacy being used in activities such as accounting, commercial transactions and even building construction.

So what exactly is Privacy?

Privacy is a fundamental human right that underpins freedom of association, thought and expression, as well as freedom from discrimination. But it’s hard to define. Different countries offer different views, as do individuals. Privacy depends from person to person and differs depending on the situation.


Broadly speaking, privacy is the right to be let alone, or freedom from interference or intrusion.

Privacy is considered to be a qualified, fundamental human right. The right to privacy is articulated in all of the major international and regional human rights instruments.

On the other hand, Information privacy is the right to have some control over how your personal information is collected and used. It’s also about promoting the protection of information that says who we are, what we do and what we believe.


Experts concur that privacy includes the right:

  • to be free from all levels of interference and intrusion
  • to be associated freely with whom you want
  • to be able to control who can see or use information about you

And there are different ways to look at privacy, such as:

  • surveillance (where your identity is not known prior & mostly not recorded)
  • physical privacy (body pat down, tests for medical purpose)
  • information privacy (how your personal information is handled)

Over 130 countries have constitutional statements regarding the protection of privacy, in every region of the world. However, it is all too common that surveillance is implemented without regard to these protections.

One of the prime reason all of us been receiving a steady stream of privacy-policy updates from almost all Social Media Platforms is that the European Union, just a few years back, enacted the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR), which gives users greater control over the information that online companies collect about them. Many leading Social platforms have been penalised for non-compliance. India has also presented a Bill, referred to as the Personal Data Protection Bill PDPB 2019, and is expected to be passed by Parliament soon.


By Sameer Mathur, Founder and CEO, SM Consulting

-President, Delhi-NCR Chapter of the Foundation of Data Protection Professionals in India

With inputs from Vijayashankar Nagaraj Rao