Chennai: The laws around data privacy and protection should be clearly defined before the government looks at legislating digital currencies and cryptocurrencies, retired Justice BN Srikrishna, who headed the expert committee appointed by the government for data protection norms, said on Friday.
The government should pass the Personal data protection (PDP) bill and set the parameters of data protection and go around it to legislate on digital currencies as data privacy will be at the core of digital currency and those transacting can’t do it outside the system, he said.
“The same problem happened in Aadhar. They should have passed the PDP before bringing in Aadhar and they should not make the same [mistake here],” he said. Justice Srikrishna was speaking virtually at a panel discussion titled “Digital Currency- Is India ready for it” organised on Friday by think tank Chennai International Centre. Navin Surya, chairman of fintech convergence council, and Arjun Vijay, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange Giottus were the other speakers at the talk. Srikrishna reiterated that the prospects of the cryptocurrency industry and the future of a digital ruppe rests on political will and intention and depends on the Parliament legislating the subject.
“What prevents the Parliament from legislating whether crypto is a currency or security or anything else? They must legislate [and clearly determine] which regulatory body has to govern it,” he said. “Each regulator in the country thinks in a silo,” he added.
The Ministry for Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) set up a 10-member committee under Justice Srikrishna in 2017 to identify key data protection issues and recommend methods. While the committee released the proposed PDP Bill in 2018, the Joint Committee of Parliament is still examining the Bill and is yet to pass the Act.