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DRAPAC Series: India’s Data Protection Act

Start: April 12, 2024
End: April 12, 2024
DRAPAC23 talk - India

Date and Time: April 12, 12PM-1PM Bangkok time (UTC+7)

Room: Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 9899 1653
Passcode: 160362


In August, Indian lawmakers passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023 intended to provide a framework for comprehensive data protection. Among its provisions, the law will allow tech companies to transfer users’ data abroad, gives users the right to correct their personal data, and grants the government power to block content.

Opposition lawmakers and rights groups, however, have raised alarm over over-broad surveillance, infringement on privacy, and dilution of the Right to Information law, among others.

There are many questions to consider:

  • What provisions under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act are particularly concerning for human and digital rights advocates? What was the process behind the creation of this Act? What lessons can we draw from the negotiation and drafting of the Act?
  • What are the critical moments for strategic engagements among government, civil society, and the private sector?
  • How will this law impact the current and future of digital rights in India?

Guest Speakers:

Elonnai Hickok, Global Network Initiative, Managing Director: As Managing Director, Elonnai works to strengthen and grow a unique and impactful multi-stakeholder organization working for the advancement of freedom of expression and privacy. She has contributed to international policy initiatives and has presented worldwide on issues of digital rights and emerging technology and the counterbalancing of governmental and individual interests and rights. She has developed research and written extensively on issues relating to privacy, cybersecurity, surveillance, intermediary liability, and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence.

She currently serves as a member to a number of multi-stakeholder initiatives including as the co-chair to the Freedom Online Coalition Advisory Network, a member of the GIFCT Independent Advisory Committee, and as a member to the ChristChurch Call Advisory Network. Formerly, Elonnai was a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the chief operating officer of the Centre for Internet & Society, India. Elonnai graduated from the University of Toronto, where she studied international development and political science.

Sunil Abraham, in personal capacity: Sunil Abraham is the Public Policy Director, India for Data Governance and Emerging Technologies at Meta India since October 2020. Prior to joining Meta, he was an endowed professor at ArtEZ University of the Arts in the Netherlands. Sunil co-founded Mahiti Infotech 23 years ago in Bengaluru which today continues to serve global civil society with free and open source software solutions. He co-founded the Centre for Internet and Society in 2008, which had offices in New Delhi and Bengaluru and served as its executive director for the first 11 years. The Centre has produced policy and academic research in areas like accessibility for the disabled, access to knowledge, openness, internet governance, telecom and digital humanities. Sunil was elected an Ashoka fellow in 1999 to explore the “democratic potential of the Internet.”


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