The Madras High Court has ordered authorities to continue their inquiry into allegations of the BJP accessing voters’ mobile phone numbers through Aadhaar cards to send SMSs to voters with a link to join the party’s polling booth-level WhatsApp groups. The investigating authorities are the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Puducherry cybercrime cell.
- What does your right to privacy mean?
Privacy is an essential part of a person’s dignity, and includes preserving personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. The right to privacy is a right to be left alone, and recognises every person’s ability to control vital aspects of their life. Personal choices governing a way of life are a part of the right to privacy.
- Is privacy a fundamental right?
Yes. In the Puttaswamy case of 2017, the Supreme Court held that privacy is a constitutionally protected right coming from the guarantee of life and personal liberty in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
- Does the right to privacy include protecting personal information?
Yes. The right to privacy includes informational privacy, which recognizes that a person can authorise and control the sharing of their personal information, such as age, gender, etc.
The growth and development of technology has created new ways for the possible invasion of privacy by the government, including through surveillance, profiling and data collection and processing. A person has the right to control their personal details while submitting personal data for various facilities and services and it is essential that they know what the data is being used for with the ability to correct and amend it.
- Does giving personal information for Aadhaar violate your right to privacy?
No. The Supreme Court has said that although getting an Aadhaar card involves giving your biometric and demographic data, Aadhaar does not violate the right to privacy because there are also enough safeguards to protect the data of Aadhaar holders, such as encryption and time limits on data storage.
- What can you do if someone violates your privacy online?
You can approach the police or your State Cyber cells for filing a complaint against cybercrimes. You can also file an online complaint through the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal.