Digital India Initiatives

What Data Protection Bill needs to do to actually protect?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Key concepts

Mains level: Data portability and interoperability and its significance

What is the news?

  • The government is reportedly introducing a revised version of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill during the upcoming Monsoon session of Parliament. The article highlights the importance of including provisions on data portability and interoperability in the Bill.

Central idea

  • The government is set to present a revised version of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill. This presents a unique opportunity for the government to enhance the Bill by reintroducing provisions on data portability and introducing an interoperability provision.

What is the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill about?

  • The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill aims to safeguard personal data of Indian citizens.
  • It states how data should be stored, processed, and protected.
  • The bill specifies obligations of data fiduciary for processing digital personal data and states practices they must follow to prevent data breach.
  • It also defines consent of the data principal to provide such information

What is meant by Data portability and interoperability?

Data Portability:

  • Data portability refers to the ability of individuals to transfer their personal data from one platform, service, or organization to another.
  • It focuses on the movement and transfer of personal data, allowing users to take their data with them when they switch platforms or services.
  • Data portability empowers individuals by giving them control over their personal information and the freedom to choose alternative platforms or services without losing access to their data.


  • Interoperability refers to the ability of different systems, platforms, or services to seamlessly exchange and use data with one another.
  • It ensures that different technologies, applications, or networks can work together and communicate effectively, enabling data and information to flow between them.
  • Interoperability allows for the compatibility and interaction of systems, promoting collaboration and communication across different platforms.

What is the Need for Empowering Users through Data Portability and Interoperability?

  • User Control and Choice:
  • Currently, users often find themselves locked into platforms or services that collect and utilize their data without much transparency or control.
  • By enabling users to transfer their data and choose alternative platforms, data portability allows individuals to exercise their rights and make informed decisions about their data.
  • Privacy and Data Protection:
  • Users have the right to ensure that their personal data is handled responsibly and in accordance with their preferences.
  • By facilitating data portability, individuals can move their data to platforms that prioritize privacy and security, incentivizing organizations to adopt stronger data protection practices.
  • Fostering Competition and Innovation:
  • Start-ups and smaller companies often face challenges in competing with established platforms due to the network effects and data lock-in created by dominant players.
  • By allowing users to easily switch platforms while retaining their data, data portability enables start-ups to attract dissatisfied users and offer innovative alternatives, driving competition and fostering a dynamic market.
  • User Empowerment:
  • When users have the ability to freely move their data, platforms are incentivized to provide better services, respect user rights, and compete for user loyalty.
  • This shift in power dynamics puts users in a more empowered position, encouraging platforms to prioritize user interests and enhance their overall digital experience.
  • Cross-Platform Collaboration and Interaction:
  • Interoperability allows users to communicate and engage with individuals on different platforms, breaking down the silos that currently limit cross-platform interaction.
  • This promotes a more interconnected digital ecosystem and enhances user experiences by enabling seamless communication and data flow.

Potential concerns associated with data portability and interoperability

  • Privacy Risks: The movement of personal data through data portability and interoperability raises privacy concerns, including unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse of information. Robust data protection measures are necessary to safeguard user privacy.
  • Data Security: Data portability and interoperability add complexity to data security. Strong security protocols are needed to prevent unauthorized access, tampering, or loss of data.
  • Standardization Challenges: Achieving universal standardization for seamless data transfer and interoperability is challenging due to the diverse range of technologies involved. Lack of standardization can hinder smooth data transfer and interoperability.
  • Vendor Lock-in: While data portability aims to reduce vendor lock-in, some platforms may still implement practices that make it difficult to transfer data. This can limit user choice and freedom.
  • Data Quality and Compatibility: Data transfer between platforms can result in compatibility and quality issues. Differences in data formats and standards can affect data accuracy, completeness, and reliability.
  • Complexity and Technical Challenges: Implementing data portability and interoperability can be technically complex. It requires infrastructure, resources, and expertise to support seamless data transfer and compatibility.

Way forward

  • Legislative Action: Governments must prioritize enacting comprehensive data protection laws with provisions for data portability and interoperability, establishing clear guidelines and enforcement mechanisms.
  • Industry Collaboration: Stakeholders should collaborate to develop common protocols, formats, and standards for data portability and interoperability, prioritizing user-centric design, data security, and privacy.
  • User Education: Governments and organizations should educate users about their rights regarding data portability and interoperability, raising awareness of benefits, risks, and processes involved.
  • Privacy by Design: Organizations should adopt privacy by design principles, integrating data protection into platform and service design from the outset.
  • Third-Party Verification: Independent entities can verify and audit data portability and interoperability practices, ensuring compliance with standards and building user trust.
  • International Collaboration: Governments should engage in international collaborations to promote harmonized standards and regulations for cross-border data transfers.
  • Continuous Review: Regularly reviewing and updating regulations and standards ensures adaptability to evolving technology and data governance challenges.


  • Given the internet’s indispensability to modern life, it is imperative for the government to seize this opportune moment and enact legislation that supports user empowerment and innovation. By striking while the iron is hot, the government can create a more equitable and thriving digital landscape for all.

Also read:

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