[Ed Note : The following press note has been authored by Shweta Rao and Arvind Pennathur from NALSAR University of Law. Do watch this space for more details on the symposium!}
On the 9th of September NALSAR University of Law’s Tech Law Forum conducted its first ever symposium with packed panels discussing a variety of issues under the broad theme of the Right to Privacy. This symposium took place against the backdrop of the recent draft Data Protection Bill and Report released by the Srikrishna Committee.
The first panel of the day, consisting of Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, a Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties Awardee who is the only right to information activist to be appointed as the Central Information Commissioner under the framework of the RTI Act 2005, Ms. Jyothi Pandey, a researcher and policy analyst who works on politics and ethics of Internet governance, Ms. Mariyam Kamil, a D Phil Candidate in Law at Oxford’s Exeter College as a Salve Scholar who is examining the constitutional right to privacy in India, and also Mr. Rakesh Dubbudu Reddy– the founder of fake news combating platform “FACTLY” and the Co-Convener of the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information. This esteemed panel discussed the nuances of the Right to Privacy and the Right to Information, juxtaposed with the draft Data Protection Bill of the Srikrishna Committee. During the discussion, tangents on the relationship that free speech has with the topic at hand were investigated, especially with respect to the growing call for the “right to be forgotten” to be popularly recognized.
The second panel for the day started post lunch and handled the topic of the Right to Privacy and Surveillance. The acclaimed panellists for the same were- Ms. Shweta Mohandas, a Policy Officer at the Centre for Internet and Society whose interests lie in Artificial Intelligence, Privacy and Intellectual Property Rights and India’s policies surrounding these issues, Mr. Srinivas Kodali, an interdisciplinary researcher working on cities, data and internet who was previously a project associate at the Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory at IIT Madras, Mr. Srikanth, one of the founders of the Cashless Consumer Collective who has been actively working towards increasing awareness amongst consumers with respect to policies regarding digital payments with a goal of moving towards a fair cashless system and Mr. Amlan Mohanty, advisor to the government and industry stakeholders on public policy and regulatory issues in the technology sector with has specialised legal experience in the fields of intellectual property, privacy, cybersecurity, intermediary liability, telecom regulations, etc. coupled with an intuitive grasp over technical subjects.
The issues bought up during this panel ranged from the Aadhar Act to Artificial Intelligence to the move towards a free and fair digital economy. The creation of a specific statute for surveillance which not only targets profiling but also handles tacit consent was also discussed within the context of the need for distinguishing between privacy and secrecy.
After each panel, there was an enriching and vibrant Question and Answer session between the panellists and the students, moderated by Prof. Prashanth Reddy and Prof. Siddharth Chauhan.