Colloquium: Data, Surveillance, Privacy & Liberty

2019 Sep 20, Friday
Seminar Hall, 10th Floor, Pixel A (Azim Premji University)

About the Lecture

The talk will aim to cover the many instances where government, directly or through private parties, collects data, and in all cases, these databases are linked to Aadhaar, a unique identifier. Using various rules and regulations, mostly of dubious constitutional provenance, the government now has the ability to identify and track the activities of all individuals through email, phone number, PAN, bank account, insurance, vehicle registration, driver’s license, Director Identification Number, health records, DNA, Video and voice capture. This should be a concern in itself as it is clearly an invasion of privacy, a fundamental right. It is important to understand the harm that these acts of invasion of privacy cause and why “if we have nothing to hide, we should not be worried” attitude is ill-informed and naïve. The various proposed uses, especially of (i) the National Health Stack, the repository of all health data, (ii) Ayushman Bharat which is meant to provide universal healthcare and the (iii) DNA Bill, which legalises the collection of DNA material, and its storage and use in databases need to be carefully examined to understand the threat to the lives of everyone. The risks associated with these projects, as demonstrated using a few scenarios and illustrations should be of concern to everyone.

About the Speaker

Murali Neelakantan is a dual qualified (English solicitor and Indian advocate) with over 2 decades of experience in advising on international transactions in a wide variety of sectors. He was previously a senior equity partner at Ashurst in London and subsequently a senior partner at Khaitan & Co. He joined Cipla in 2013 as its first Global General Counsel and subsequently was Executive Director and Global General Counsel at Glenmark. He is currently Principal at amicus where he provides legal and policy advice. He has recent written a series of articles on the national health Stack, DNA Bill and healthcare policy for BloombergQuint.