The draft digital personal data protection bill, 2022 was released on 18th November. The bill carries some drawbacks despite taking a lot of time for its finalization. One of those drawbacks is the ignorance of offline consumer and their rights. Section 4 (3) (b) of the draft digital personal data protection bill, 2022states that the Act shall not apply to offline personal data. In order to ensure the privacy of offline consumers, it is important that the collection of offline personal data is minimized to a greater extent possible. The data so collected at shopping malls, restaurants is also personal data of citizens which involves crucial personal data such as contact number, name, age etc. Firstly, the bill could have included offline personal data within its purview. Secondly, the necessity of specifying the category of offline personal data that can be collected as every offline personal data is not required by the entity collecting it. For example, railway attendant requesting for feedback of food served in the train and the feedback form so collected contains name, age, email-id, contact number. It is pertinent to state that there is no such necessity of collecting offline data such as email id as it is not of any relevance to the entity collecting it. Non-inclusion of offline personal data will hamper the privacy of a consumer. California Consumer Privacy Act applies to both online and offline collection of data whereas the draft digital personal data protection bill, 2022 doesn't includes the same and such non-inclusion of offline personal data will hamper the privacy of a consumer. The offline collection of data includes collection of data over documents, telephonic call or in person. On a similar note, the Bill could have included the offline personal data under its ambit by clearly specifying the kind of offline data for different entities which could be made permissible to be collected physically. The absence of non-inclusion of offline personal data will impact the privacy rights of a prospective consumer who provides his or her personal data in the offline market.
The authors are Assistant Professors at Parul Institute of Law.Views are personal.