Win For Facebook, Google? India's New Data Bill May Lower Age Of Consent For Sharing Data

The Indian government is reportedly set to get the power to lower the age for consent to just 14 years if the proposed Digital Personal Data Protection law is passed.

What Happened? However, companies seeking consent to process children’s data must prove that they handle it in a “verifiably safe” manner, according to a draft of the bill seen by the Economic Times. The new draft also shifts from whitelisting to blacklisting countries where Indian citizens’ data cannot be processed.

This change, a long-held demand for companies like Facebook and Google, will have a significant impact on their operations in India. A previous version of the draft bill had pegged the minimum age of consent at 18 and proposed that data of children below that age should only be used with strict parental consent.

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The data of children can only be processed if it ultimately benefits the child, such as in healthcare or government schemes, a government official clarified to the business daily. It cannot be used for personal ads or harmful content, they added.

The updated draft, recently approved by the Union Cabinet, is set to be introduced in Parliament’s monsoon session starting on July 20. It retains the concept of cross-border data flow across countries but switches to a blacklisting approach. The draft also outlines the powers and composition of the data protection board.

The new draft reportedly emphasises the responsibility of data fiduciaries to obtain clear and absolute consent from data owners. Consent requests must include a clear notice in plain language, explaining the purpose and implications of data processing. If data was collected before the passage of the bill, data fiduciaries will likely have to provide an explanation upon request and delete the data if the owner wishes.

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