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Internet of Things (IoT): Data Protection & Privacy Laws

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Internet of Things (IoT): Data Protection & Privacy Laws

Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing but a connected web of devices that performs specific task with almost no human intervention. Each device in this web has a specific task to perform and pass the data processed by it to the device next to it in the series. In this way the task under Internet of Things (IoT) is performed by a number of connected devices sharing information (data) with other devices in the web. Each device has some basic set of programming and coding upon which the entire performance of that device depends. In today’s competitive era there is a huge significance of Research and Development (R&D). To insure significant development in technologies it is essential that researchers and inventors should get benefit in some form so as to motivate them which shall help in the further development of cutting edge technology. One who invents any technology has all due right to protect the same from being exploited by any third party which gives the inventor a competitive benefit in the market. After a Company has taken patent and copyright for its inventions and coding systems it has all due rights to either use the technology by itself or grant the technology to some other entity under license or lease.

More we use the technologies more we get vulnerable to cyber-crimes. While dealing in Internet of Things (IoT) there are many events where different cyber-crimes can be committed i.e.

  1. When the data is/are transferred within the web of devices,
  2. With the data, that the devices store with them,
  3. With the programming and coding of the device.

In India Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 with amendments made in the year 2008 identifies the cyber-crimes and deals with the provision of penalties and damages for the same which covers data protection and data privacy. The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2008 provides for damages to the effected person. A person dealing with or using Internet of Things (IoT) can be effected because of unauthorized access, downloading the data, introducing contamination or virus, damaging the systems, disruption of networks, denying access to authorized person, tampering with the system, destroying or deleting or altering of information stored in the devices, stealing or altering or deleting of the source code used in the device. A person dealing with or using these Internet of Things (IoT) products are effected as his or her privacy is infringed due to the activities mentioned above and the companies dealing with these Internet of Things (IoT) products faces a set back in the competition due to lack of control over trade secrets or formulas they use to develop their Internet of Things (IoT) systems. The Information Technology Act, 2008 and regulations made there under are some laws that deal with these situations and provide for adequate relief to the effected person.

The Entrepreneur or the Startup has to be cautious and extremely careful with respect to the data protection and privacy of the customers and visitors whom is/are visiting the platform and it is the duty of the proprietor of the platform to ensure the safety and well upkeep of the data of its customers and/or visitors including the protection of their privacy and protecting them from any kind of illegal and unauthorized usage, in whatsoever manner.

Furthermore, right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is a multi-disciplinary right and the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India W. P. Civil No. 494 of 2012 has declared right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21. In this context of privacy, the Information Technology Act, 2008 provides for punishment in case of breach of confidentiality and privacy and also on disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract.
Thus, the data protection and data privacy is being recognized by the Courts in India and the Parliament is enacting the legislations in such a manner which is in line with the development with respect to the latest technologies.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Sanskriti Taori

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