Navigating the Implications of Digital Personal Data Protection Act

Sudhakar Singh, Editor | Sunday, 17 September 2023, 11:53 IST

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In 2018, one of the world’s biggest hotels was hacked and unveiled the private information of 500 million of the chain’s guests. Infringement of GDPR and revenue of over 120 million Euro came from ICO (UK Information Commissioner's Office) fine in this case. India is the 19th country among the G20 members to have an information protection law in place. This calls for a shift of the current paradigm of digital technology from CIOs. The DPDPA of India or the Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDPA), as it is known, brings in major changes that the CIOs of the Indian enterprises should take note of. A new compliance requirement calls for a change not only at data collection and processing levels, but also with regards to the data protection measures. One of the examples is that the Act makes the protection of personal information more far reaching by protecting not only sensitive information but also other personal information giving more stringent consent, purpose limitation, and data minimization requirements for both the collection and the processing of all personal information.              

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and IT, said “The government would shortly unveil the appointment criteria for the chairperson and members of the Data Protection Board. This board's role will involve overseeing adherence to the new law.” As the stage is being set for its implementation, let us look at the key implications of Digital Personal Data Protection Act on enterprises and how CIOs will have to maneuver them.    

Consent Management

Consent management is going to be a cornerstone of digital data protection, holding immense importance in safeguarding individuals' privacy rights. It will empower individuals to have control over their personal data by granting or withholding permission for its collection and use. This will not only align with ethical principles but also ensure compliance with data protection regulations. After DPDPA, effective consent management will be needed to build trust between organizations and their customers, enhancing their reputation. It will also reduce the risk of costly legal consequences, fines, and reputational damage resulting from non-compliance. DPDPA will make consent management indispensable for responsible and transparent data handling, fostering a more privacy-conscious digital landscape.

CIOs will now be compelled to undertake a comprehensive transformation of data collection processes. This transformation will be driven by the imperative to guarantee explicit and well-informed user consent, aligning with the data protection regulations. It will necessitate substantial updates to existing systems and interfaces. CIOs must implement user-friendly interfaces that provide clear and easily understandable consent options. Moreover, they need to develop robust backend systems that record and manage consent preferences effectively. This overhaul will not only ensure legal compliance but also foster trust and transparency between organizations and users, harmonizing data collection practices with the ethical and regulatory landscape of today's digital age.

Data Governance and Compliance  

The data governance and compliance will be the key points in the coming of DPDPA. Within the coming years, making foundations of sustained and ethically sound data management will acquire more importance. A sound governance system will guarantee that data is correct, safe, and used just for the matters of authorization. Enforcing data protection regulations will ensure protection of individuals' privacy rights and will prevent the organizations from suffering unnecessary financial penalties. Additionally, it will develop relations with customers, partners and stakeholders, adding to the reputation of any organization. In addition, it is imperative to have sturdy data governance and compliance mechanisms to aid quality decision-making by providing accurate and dependable data.

CIOs will have to set in place reliable data governance structures that will ensure that their businesses will not violate the Data Protection Constitution Act. We will do that by designing data protection policies, appointing Data Protection Officers (DPOs), undertaking periodic data audits, and implementing highly robust security measures. Non-adherence will attract heavy penalties, therefore, it is necessary for CIOs to keep their data management practices in tandem with the newly implanted legislation.

Investment in Data Security

In an era where data breaches and cyber threats are rampant, DPDPA will make it more imperative to allocate resources to safeguard sensitive information. Such investments will encompass robust encryption, access controls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits. Beyond legal compliance, strong data security will be needed to build trust with customers and partners, safeguarding reputations and customer loyalty. Moreover, data breaches could result in severe financial losses and damage to an organization's brand. Therefore, committing to DPDPA will not just be a protective measure; it will be a strategic imperative for modern businesses to operate securely, maintain data integrity, and thrive in a digital landscape fraught with risks.  

The DPDPA places a strong emphasis on data security and mandates the adoption of encryption, access controls, and other security measures to protect personal data. CIOs will need to invest in advanced cybersecurity technologies and continuously monitor and update their security infrastructure to mitigate data breaches and cyber threats. This may require a substantial allocation of IT budgets towards security measures.

Hence, CIOs of Indian enterprises will have to prioritize data protection and compliance with the DPDPA. This will entail investments in data security, governance, and potentially reevaluating data storage practices. Adapting to these changes will not only ensure legal compliance but also enhance the organization's reputation and trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers and partners.  


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