Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Dark Net

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Darknet

 is a computer network with restricted access that is being used chiefly for illegal activities on the web like selling drugs, personal information etc.

Potential dangers of Darknet:

  • Drug smuggling: The relative impermeability of dark net has made it a major haven for drug dealers who can sell or buy any kind of narcotic substances on the darknet without getting caught.
  • Terrorism: Terrorists use dark net to provide information to fellow terrorists, to recruit and radicalize, to spread propaganda, raise funds, and to coordinate actions & attacks and for illegal purchase of explosives and weapons.
  • Child pornography: The Darknet has been used for trafficking and child pornography and other crimes. 
  • Identity misuse:Leaked information has the potential to be mined for deeper data analysis and for creating profiles that could be used for social engineering, phishing and online identity theft, among other practices that thrive on the availability of such data on the Darknet.
  • Malware and Ransomware:Most malware is transmitted over the darknet and then used on public access websites, so being on the darknet can put you in danger of coming into contact with malware or ransomware that can cripple a business or steal one’s identity.

Need of a data protection law:

  • Right to privacy:The Supreme Court (SC) in Justice K.S Puttaswamy vs Union of India case, declared that the right to privacy is an inherent part of the fundamental right under Article 21 of the constitution. Thus, it is the duty of the state to safeguard individual’s privacy through legislation.
  • Rising cyber-crime: Public data leaks have been quite common in India.Due to increased digitisation and increased digital complexities, data protection is needed for the hour. Recent rise of crimes like WhatsApp, Pegasus scam demands a data protection law in place.
  • Data theft protection: Unlike the data protection regulations in place in the European Union and in the U.S.India still lacks a comprehensive legal framework to protect data privacy. For efficient management of data in the age of digitisation, a data protection law is needed.
  • Digital India: With a billion population, India has the second highest internet user base in the world. With emphasis on digital India, the government must ensure the safety of citizen’s data.
  • Regulating companies: There are many instances that the state and private agencies who are using the personal data are not transparent on the purpose for which the data is being utilised. To curtail the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data a legislation must be in place

Way Forward:

  • Data protection is a must in the digital era. The law should encompass all the aspects- data collection, processing and sharing practices in an integrated manner. 
  • The Kerala Police has set up a ‘state-of-the-art lab’ to intervene and crack down on the rising criminal activities over the Darknet, also known as the underworld of the Internet. 
  • The state must prevent and investigate digital crimes, prevent misuse of data and encourage data security through legislation.

Conclusion:

A comprehensive Data Protection Act is the need of the hour due to potential dangers. The Centre constituted the BN Srikrishna Committee to identify ‘key data protection issues’ which suggested a draft data protection Bill.