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Law Matters

Things India's digital privacy framework should consider.

Facebook, reportedly, has no plan to incorporate the provisions of the European Union law, called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in all geographies. It will just take measures on similar lines. India will have to formulate its own data privacy law that is stringent, instead of relying on Facebook to mend things.

Section 43A of the (Indian) Information Technology Act, 2000, is not equipped to manage issues related to data breach and privacy. With reports confirming that political parties in India, too, sought the services of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to manipulate public opinion in their favour, the need for a digital privacy to protect Indian citizens has never been more pressing.

The regulatory bodies in India can take a leaf out of the model laws from GDPR to draft their own digital privacy framework. Prasanth Sugathan, Technology Lawyer and Counsel at Software Freedom Law Center, India, emphasises the importance of 'meaningful consent'. Currently, most apps ask for blanket consent to their terms and conditions, which are vague and verbose. He says it should be clear and precise what exactly the consent is being asked for. "If consent is given for one specific task, this doesn't authorise the platform to use it for another purpose," Sugathan says. Another related but key aspect is clarifying the purpose for which the data will be used.

The laws should be able to empower users to take control of their digital footprint. Along with the right to access their data stored on social media platforms, there should be a mechanism for users to delete it, too.

The formulation of laws means little if not implemented rigorously. The EU laws, for instance, come down heavily on companies in case of non-compliance. It is mandatory for companies to report the breach so users can take measures to secure the data and their account. There are also strict penalty provisions - 20 million euro (about $24.5 million) or 4 per cent of global annual revenue of the previous financial year, whichever is higher.

While laws have their importance, cautiousness on the part of social networks and users can go a long way. Puneet Bhasin, Founder of Cyberjure Legal Consulting, puts the onus on companies and government bodies to teach people how to share and what to share. She says there have been several child kidnappings due to tracking software that get installed in phones during downloads and occurrences of theft when people post when and where they are on a holiday.



Unfair Tactics

Regulators in a number of European countries argue that Facebook leveraged its position to unfairly extract details about the online activities of its users and non-users on numerous third-party sites that use tools such as Facebook's 'like' button and its analytics service. Long Stories

Instagram now allows users to upload multiple photos and videos to Stories. One can select up to 10 photos or videos from the gallery, preview how they all look together, add stickers, text and other decorations and then upload them all at once on Your Story. The new feature is available on Android and is coming to iOS soon.

Game Face On

Snapchat has launched new Lenses called Snappables that lets users play augmented reality (AR) selfie games. These can be played using touch, motion and facial expressions. Users can also be a part of other Snappables AR experiences like starting a rock band, a dance party and playing basketball with friends.

Treading with Caution

P&G, one of the world's biggest advertisers that had stopped advertising on YouTube since March 2017 due to concerns about inappropriate content is now returning to the video platform, albeit more selectively than before. The company has reportedly created a list of videos and channels that it will advertise on exclusively.