Right To Privacy

Right to privacy after 5 years


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: article 21

Mains level: right to privacy

right to privacyContext

  • Data privacy breaches which result in the loss and theft of personal, sensitive data have not reduced in terms of measurable frequency or their impact.
  • It has been 5 years since the nine-judge Supreme Court bench delivered the judgment in the Puttaswamy case. It asserted that Indians have a constitutionally protected fundamental right to privacy.

Right to Privacy can be defined as

  • A right to be let alone;
  • The right of a person to be free from any unwarranted publicity;
  • The right to live without any unwarranted interference by the public in matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned.

right to privacyDefinition of data

  • Data is a collection of discrete values that convey information, describing quantity, quality, fact, statistics, other basic units of meaning, or simply sequences of symbols that may be further interpreted.

What is Data Protection?

  • Data protection refers to policies and procedures seeking to minimise intrusion into the privacy of an individual caused by collection and usage of their personal data.

What is data privacy?

  • Data privacy refers to controlling access to the data. Organizations must determine who has access to data. Understandably, a privacy breach can lead to data security issues.

What is data security?

  • Data security refers specifically to measures taken to protect the integrity of the data itself against manipulation and malware. It provides defense from internal and external threats.

Why we need data protection?

  • Increasing internet use: India currently has over 750 million Internet users, with the number only expected to increase in the future.
  • Data breaches: At the same time, India has among the highest data breaches in the world. Without a data protection law in place, the data of millions of Indians continues to be at risk of being exploited, sold, and misused without their consent.
  • Individual privacy: Data monetization may happen at cost of individual privacy. The most sought-after datasets are those that contain sensitive personal data of individuals, ex. medical history, financial data.

right to privacy
Issues with the data breaches in India

  • Violation of the right to privacy: The right to privacy was recognized as a fundamental right, included under the right to life and liberty by the Supreme Court of India in 2017.
  • Absence of legal framework: Without a law in place to regulate data collection and to act as an oversight mechanism, valid concerns about privacy and other rights violations continue to arise.
  • High Infrastructural Costs: Technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are costly to implement. The size of stored information is extremely large and requires huge network & data storage facilities, which are currently not available in India.
  • The concern of Data Leakage: In today’s world of cybercrime, it is important to put appropriate safeguards in place in order to ensure the integrity of the repository/database, so that it doesn’t leak out the information and is not privatized or monetized.
  • Reliability & Authenticity: As the data collected may be used in the court of law during the course of a criminal trial, the reliability and the admissibility of the data along with standards and procedures followed would be taken into consideration. Hence, the authenticity of the data is crucial.


  • Today, there is a relentless pace of digitisation that relies on gathering personal data in all spheres of our lives. All of this is done in a legal vacuum without any oversight or remedy. This underscores the urgent need for robust data protection law.

Mains question

Q.  What do you understand by the term data privacy? Explain how data leakages threatens the sacred right to privacy?


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