Revised Data Bill criticized by experts for omitting mention of generative AI tools.

The latest version of the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill has drawn criticism from experts due to its omission of any provisions regarding artificial intelligence, particularly generative AI tools. This absence has raised concerns among experts, who believe that it will create a gap in the privacy law. They argue that this omission will result in confusion and ambiguity around the regulation of rapidly evolving technologies.

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The revised DPDP Bill was recently presented in Parliament and is slated for debate. The government aims to pass it during the current session. As the use of generative AI tools to create deep fakes becomes more widespread, experts stress the need for the DPDP Bill to address this issue. They argue that with major elections on the horizon in countries like India and the US, the potential for manipulated content to influence public opinion is substantial.

Mishi Choudhary, founder of SFLC (Software Freedom Law Centre), noted that India’s current Bill fails to address issues related to facial recognition technology and AI, highlighting the need for an updated framework that covers new and emerging challenges. She cited the example of the GDPR, which was originally designed 20 years ago for transparency and explainability but is now undergoing adaptation for AI.

Jaspreet Bindra, Founder and MD of Tech Whisperer, emphasized the importance of clearly labeling AI-generated content to prevent misleading influence on voters. He called for such labeling to be included in the DPDP Bill. Bindra also raised concerns about the decentralized nature of generative AI, which could make it challenging to track and regulate objectionable content created by smaller entities.

The Indian AI market is predicted to grow substantially, with a projected CAGR of 20.2% and an estimated development value of $7.8 billion by 2025. The number of AI startups in India has multiplied significantly since 2000, accompanied by a six-fold increase in investments.

Reports indicate that platforms like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard might not be permitted to process Indians’ personal data available publicly. The DPDP Bill has already barred major search engine companies from scraping large volumes of publicly accessible internet data.

Government officials have indicated the possibility of addressing AI governance through the Digital India (DI) Bill, a revamp of the two-decade-old IT Act. While some experts suggest this could take years, others advocate for including provisions related to AI and emerging technology within the DI Bill.

Hitesh Jain, Managing Partner of Parinam Law Associates, has a different perspective, asserting that concerns about the DPDP Bill’s handling of AI and emerging tech are unwarranted. He argues that such topics will fall under the purview of the Digital India Act (DIA), which is intended to replace the outdated IT Act. Jain believes that the broad scope of the privacy law can accommodate various emerging technologies.

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