Data protection in India is priority as part of building safety nets. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the number of smartphone users has increased from 23 million in 2015 to 40 million in 2017 with 94 percent accessing the internet. This further sounds promising for strengthening India’s global position as a business friendly and a “modern” country given that these numbers are expected to increase to 65 million by 2019.

Digital Trust Dialogues by SheThePeople and Google

With this we have come to accept with ease the concepts of social media and communications, e-commerce and banking and online application based ride sharing services. This progress may easily be credited to the smartphone revolution worldwide and the current government’s push for digitization programmes. However this virtual world has its own set of concerns.

According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the number of smartphone users has increased from 23 million in 2015 to 40 million in 2017 with 94 percent accessing the internet.

We undeniably enjoy our one click payments and updating our social media profiles with personal information, photos, preferences and opinions. We trust that these are secured by the both our complicated set of passwords and layers of security verifications. Barely do we pay attention to the terms and conditions attached to the “I agree” or “download” buttons while apathetically consenting to alluring advertisements,webpages and/or mobile payments and other applications. This is problematic because the points of consent at every website/pages and applications diminish the user’s will to read the terms of use of the information to be accessed.  Hence we remain unaware about the use of our information keeping us vulnerable to cyber security incidents such as money and identity theft of money, illegal transactions, cyber bullying, cyber-attacks, and unlawful surveillance. Moreover the recent big data breach at Facebook highlighted our exposure to manipulation by partisan ideas.

This is problematic because the points of consent at every website/pages and applications diminish the user’s will to read the terms of use of the information to be accessed.

Amid these growing numbers and concerns, we still lack a comprehensive legislation for data protection covering our globalised economy. While the government constituted a committee to draft such a law, today we can only ensure online safety by opting for limited access in our consent.

The author is a college student and this effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India

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