Legislative Brief for the Monsoon Session 2023

The Monsoon Session of Parliament is expected to begin on July 20 & we’re expecting it to be a spicy one! Our Legislative Brief for the 2023 Monsoon Session highlights issues of significance related to digital rights that need extensive deliberation in Parliament.

Some potential issues we think may get taken up this session?

:one: We :heartbeat:Privacy
We’re lovelorn. And the object of our desires? Data protection legislation. While it looks like such legislation may be on the horizon, our brief also highlights how it may fall short on actually protecting privacy.

:two: Colonial-era regulation can come to phone rn :phone:
Why? Oh, cause, the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 replicates the colonial Telegraph Act, 1885—it creates a legal framework for surveillance without accountability, internet suspensions without oversight, and disadvantages consumers.

:three: IT Rules (fav) (no)
The latest amendments to the IT Rules (in relation to online gaming and the power of the Union Government to constitute a fact-check unit) were notified despite the IT Rules, 2021 not being tabled in the Lok Sabha. This is troubling as the Rules must be tabled in Parliament within 15 sitting days of notification. Since the amendments were notified on the last day of the previous session, the amended rules must be tabled within 15 days of the date of commencement of the upcoming session.

:four: You can’t make bad rules & call it good governance
MeitY released the Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance Amendment Rules, 2023 in April 2023 for consultation. The Rules expand purposes for Aadhaar authentication to include “ease of living” & “better access to services”.

In our joint submission with Article21, Rethink Aadhar, & Access Now, we highlighted how the Rules are unconstitutional & should not be implemented, flagging both their risk to privacy and for exclusion.

This is just a sneak-peak of everything we discuss in our legislative brief! The deliberations in Parliament over the next few weeks will have important implications for our democracy & digital rights, so to continue to stay updated, follow us on @IFFonParliament on twitter.