National, Front Page

‘Personal Data Protection Act’ okayed in principle

Published : 27 Nov 2023 10:15 PM

From now on, prominent online and social media giants are barred from collecting information of local users without obtaining their explicit consent. 

Their activities will be subject to accountability under the provisions outlined in the Personal Data Act.

National Cyber Security Agency Director General Abu Saeed Md. Kamruzzaman told journalists regarding the newly approved in-principle ‘Personal Data Protection Act 2023’ at the letter’s office in the capital. 

He said, “Even if a citizen gives permission to Facebook and Google to take their respective data, they have to keep the proof.” 

A data protection board with four members including a chairman will be formed with specific rules, under which, if the government seeks information from them they will be bound to provide the information. 

Following several approvals of different sectors/observers including the final approval of the president, it will be finalized within the next one year, he further informed. 

Earlier, to safeguard citizens’ privacy and foster a Smart Bangladesh, the Cabinet granted in-principle approval to the ‘Personal Data Protection Act 2023’ on Monday. 

The proposed legislation aims to regulate and secure the processing of personal data in both public and private sectors.

The drafting process of the ‘Personal Data Protection Act, 2023’ commenced with an inter-ministerial meeting on April 17, 2022. Public input was actively sought through various means, including meetings, workshops, and online platforms. 

The final draft was revised and approved by the ‘Bangla Language Implementation Cell’ under the Ministry of Public Administration, followed by stakeholder consultations and scrutiny by the Cabinet Division’s ‘Committee on Scrutiny of Draft Laws’. 

The key provisions of the Act focus on establishing a regulatory body within the existing administrative framework to oversee and monitor data processing activities. 

It further regulates the collection, processing, storage, use, transfer, disclosure, and destruction of personal data, ensuring its safe and ethical utilization in science, technology research, and innovation for economic development.

The Act is poised to contribute to the overall development of the information and communication technology sector by setting guidelines for the protection and processing of individuals’ data. Additionally, it emphasizes the responsible use of personal data to promote and expand free trade globally, aligning with internationally recognized principles of data protection.

Noteworthy is the international collaboration in the formulation of the Act, with Bangladesh engaging in discussions and reviews with countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and India. This collaborative effort underscores the commitment to align the Data Protection Act 2023 with global standards, ultimately prioritizing the interests and rights of the citizens of Bangladesh.

As the nation takes strides towards a technologically advanced and secure future, the ‘Personal Data Protection Act 2023’ stands as a pivotal step in ensuring the responsible and ethical handling of personal information, fostering trust in the digital landscape. 

The Act is expected to undergo further scrutiny and deliberation before its formal enactment, heralding a new era in data protection for Bangladesh.