Uncertainty and Insecurity in Privacyless India: A Despotic Push towards Digitalisation

Main Article Content

P Arun


On November 2016, an unexpected imposition of demonetisation policy in India by Modi’s government changed the role of digital technologies in mundane lives. It was unfolded with the discourse of its potential to generate a trail of long-term benefits. Such as reduced corruption, enhanced governance and greater digitizing of the economy which could eventually lead to development of the nation.

Such a despotic push in one of the world’s largest democracies had consequential effects on individual’s privacy and altered the nature of surveillance. The grand digitalisation project was veiled and fanatically endorsed with a tunnel vision while there was absence of any robust privacy legislation to protect the flow of data. This article intends to investigate the political dimensions and consequences. It will trace the contours of a despotic and authoritarian push by the government to digitise mundane lives. Therefore, it will unravel the nature of governance under the emerging new technologies, emerging legalities, and interlinking policies to understand the persistent uncertainty and perpetual fear of insecurity under this Privacyless India.

Article Details

Author Biography

P Arun, Department of Political Science,School of Social Sciences,University of Hyderabad

Research Scholar


Aadhaar Act. 2016. Unique Identification Authority of India. Accessed April 28, 2017. https://uidai.gov.in/images/the_aadhaar_act_2016.pdf.

Abraham, Sunil, and Elonnai Hickok. 2012. “Government access to private-sector data in India.” International Data Privacy Law 2, No. 4, 302-315. Accessed April 28, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/idpl/ips028.

ADES. 2015. “Proposed Addendum to The Draft Encryption Policy 2015.” Accessed April 30, 2017. http://naavi.org/uploads_wp/clarification_nep_v1.pdf.

Budget Speech. 2014. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance July 10, 2014 Accessed April 28, 2017. http://indiabudget.nic.in/budget2014-2015/ub2014-15/bs/bs.pdf.

Budget Speech. 2017. Arun Jaitley Minister of Finance, February 1, 2017 Accessed April 28, 2017. http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2017-18/bs/bs.pdf.

DNES. 2015. “Draft National Encryption Policy 2015.” Accessed April 30, 2017. https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/draft-Encryption-Policyv1.pdf.

ES. 2017. “Economic Survey 2016-17”. Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, Accessed April 28, 2017. http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2016-17/echapter.pdf.

Greenleaf, Graham. 2014a. “India’s Data Protection Impasse: Conflict at All Levels, Privacy Absent.” Privacy Laws & Business International Report 127, no. 23-24. Accessed April 30, 2017. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438366.

Greenleaf, Graham. 2014b. “India’s Draft the Right to Privacy Bill 2014 – Will Modi’s BJP Enact it?” Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 129, no. 21-24 (2014). Accessed April 30, 2017. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2481796.

Krishna, Gopal. 2017. “Defying Fundamental Rights with Impunity.” Economic and Political Weekly 52, No. 12 (March 2017). Accessed April 29, 2017.

MeitY. 2017. “Draft IT (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules.” Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India http://meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/draft-rules-security%20of%20PPI-for%20public%20comments.pdf.

MoF. 2016. Notification, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs. November 8, 2016. Accessed April 28, 2017. http://finmin.nic.in/172521.pdf.

PIB. 2014. “Digital India – A programme to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy.” Press Information Bureau,
Government of India. August 20, 2014. Accessed April 28, 2017. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=108926.

PIB. 2016. “NITI Aayog Announces Launch of the Schemes - Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana - for Incentivising Digital Payment.” Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Accessed April 30, 2017. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=155418.

Rajya Sabha Debates. 2015. “Right to Privacy Bill.” responded by Dr. Jitendra Singh. Minister of State, 13 August, 2015, Accessed April 28, 2017.

RBI. 2016. “Master Circular – Policy Guidelines on Issuance and Operation of Pre-paid Payment Instruments in India.” Reserve Bank of India Accessed April 28, 2017. https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=10510&Mode=0.; Ibid

RBI. 2016. “Notification, Withdrawal of Legal Tender Character of existing 500/- and 1000/- Bank Notes.” Reserve Bank of India. Accessed April 28, 2017. https://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/notification/PDFs/NOTI11270CF2F17E86E4C5F92FEDFFDF8820934.PDF.

SFLC. 2014. “India’s Surveillance State: Report on Communications Surveillance in India.” 2014. Software Freedom Law Centre. http://sflc.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/SFLC-FINAL-SURVEILLANCE-REPORT.pdf.

SFLC. 2017. “No Aadhaar, no service- Notifications making Aadhaar mandatory.” Software Freedom Law Centre. http://sflc.in/no-aadhaar-no-service-notifications-making-aadhaar-mandatory/.

Singh, Ujjwal Kumar. 2013. “Surveillance Regimes in Contemporary India,” In Surveillance, Counter-Terrorism and Comparative Constitutionalism, edited by Fergal Davis, Nicola McGarrity, and George Williams. Routledge.

Singh, Ujjwal Kumar. 2007. The State, Democracy and Anti-Terror Laws in India. New Delhi: SAGE.

Xynou, Maria, and Elonnai Hickok. 2015. “Security, Surveillance and Data Sharing Schemes and Bodies in India.” The Centre for Internet & Society. http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/security-surveillance-and-data-sharing.pdf