India’s Data Protection Bill Threatens Global Cybersecurity

Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity and privacy researcher, writes that some provisions in the Indian Data Protection Act of 2019, “like having to store sensitive data in systems that are located within the subcontinent, may put constraints on certain business practices and are considered more controversial by some.”

One feature of the bill that’s received less inspection but is perhaps most alarming of all is that how it would criminalize illegitimate re-identification of user data. While seemingly prudent, this may soon put our connected world at greater risk.

Noting that criminals re-identifying data could be problematic, Olejnik disagrees with India’s approach to criminalize re-identification without consent, as it would wind up discouraging important and valid research on risks.

Such universal and outright ban of re-identification may even increase the risk of data breaches, because owners may feel less incentivized to privacy-proof their systems. It is in the clear interest of policymakers, organizations, and the public to receive feedback from security researchers directly, instead of risking the information reaching other potentially malicious parties. The law should enable researchers to honestly report any weaknesses or vulnerabilities they detect. The common goal should be to fix security problems quickly and efficiently.

Well, yes.

You can read his full commentary on Wired.

What a pity he didn’t mention the criticisms raised by and this blogger’sww own case in India due to responsible disclosure and transparency being criminalized. The problems are much bigger than just the one issue/specific point he raises, although yes, it is an important point.

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