A day long workshop on the issues of the Right to Information (RTI), the Right to Privacy (RTP), the proposed data protection legislation and their intersections was held on 17th July 2018. The consultation was attended by members of various peoples' campaigns and movements, researchers, legal scholars and citizens interested in, and affected by, issues pertaining to transparency and privacy.
This workshop was organised in the light of the government’s doublespeak on the rights to information and privacy. Privacy is cited by the government to deny information crucial to hold those in power to account while, at the same time, privacy is denied to citizens when it comes to collecting excessive information for projects such as Aadhaar.
As a statement of solidarity within the civil society among those promoting the rights to information and privacy, the following resolutions were passed:
The citizens' Rights to Information and Privacy are both fundamental rights under the Constitution of India and the State must protect, promote and fulfill both these rights to further democratic values and protect constitutional freedoms.
There is a need for legislation on Privacy and Data Protection in order to adequately protect the privacy of citizens and protections in such a law should be oriented on the rights of natural persons and extend against both State and non-State actors.
This legal framework for giving effect to citizens' right to privacy should emerge from a pre-legislative consultative process so that the relevant legislation incorporates concerns of the wide set of stakeholders that such a law will inevitably affect.
Neither the recognition of the Right to Privacy nor the legislation of a privacy and data protection law requires any amendment to the RTI Act. The legal framework for privacy and data protection should complement the RTI Act and in no way undermine existing statutory framework that enables citizens to use transparency for holding power structures to account.
These resolutions are endorsed by the National Campaign for the Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), SaveOurPrivacy, IT for Change and Rethink Aadhaar. Those interested in endorsing this statement may do so here.