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Ex-RSS ideologue writes to Shashi Tharoor to fast-track data bill

KN Govindacharya, who recently filed a criminal writ petition in the SC after the WhatsApp-NSO alleged snooping scandal came to light, has argued that the cyber attack caused a violation of citizen's privacy and was a risk to national security.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 19, 2019, 07.58 AM IST
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Shashi Tharoor BCCL

Shashi Tharoor is the chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology.

New Delhi: Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue KN Govindacharya has called for fast tracking of the Personal Data Protection Bill to make internet technology companies such as WhatsApp accountable to Indian users and pay more taxes.

Govindacharya, who recently filed a criminal writ petition in the Supreme Court after the WhatsApp-NSO alleged snooping scandal came to light, has argued that the cyber attack caused a violation of citizen's privacy and was a risk to national security, in a letter to Shashi Tharoor, the chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology. The panel is expected to take up the WhatsApp hacking matter on Wednesday. “WhatsApp was directed to give the reply within four days and no update has been given by the government. It should not be buried as was done in Google Mapping and Cambridge Analytica matters. The proposed data protection law is said to be diluted, day by day,” Govindacharya wrote. ET has seen a copy of the letter.

The letter has also been sent to Anand Sharma, the chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, which had also indicated that it would raise the snooping issue. Govindacharya has urged that the Personal Data Protection Bill and the IT Intermediary Guidelines should be passed and additional legislation making it mandatory for internet giants to pay more taxes in the country should be brought in. “India is the biggest market for WhatsApp, but it filed the case before the US District Court. In the absence of proper legal framework, Indian authorities have failed to impose civil penalties or initiate criminal prosecution against Tech Giants for data breach,” as per Govindacharya’s letter dated November 14, which has been sent by his advocate Virag Gupta, a Supreme Court lawyer.

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