Concept of Privacy and Threat to Privacy on Internet



Privacy is something that is not to interfere with the interest of others. Privacy is became a concern of every individual due to technological advancement and it also emphasizes narrowly for protection of data

Privacy can entail either  personally identifying  information (PII) or (non-PII) information such as a site visitor’s behavior on a website. PII refers to any information that can be used to identify an individual. For example, age and physical address alone could identify who an individual is without explicitly disclosing their name, as these two factors are unique enough to typically identify a specific person.

The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy of individuals. Over 150 national constitutions mention the right to privacy.                                                             

There is now a question as to whether the right to privacy act can co-exist with the current capabilities of intelligence agencies to access and analyse virtually every detail of an individual’s life. A major question is that whether or not the right to privacy needs to be forfeited as part of the social contract to bolster defence against supposed terrorist threats. In addition, threats of terrorism can be used as an excuse to spy on general population.

Internet privacy involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the internet. Internet privacy is a subset of data privacy. Privacy concerns have been articulated from the beginnings of large scale computer sharing.

Impact of privacy infringement on social order

Informational privacy has become a furiously challenged element of security in recent times because of the compromises between surrendering such protection from one perspective and getting a few advantages on the other. How social orders handle information, be it in the domain of market conduct or State functionalities, lies at the core of this discussion.

Modernization, industrialization, and appearance of innovation there have been advancement in the economy yet addition in a hike in the number of crime percentages and fraudulent activities. This paradigm shift has brought a lot of ethical and juridical problems such as infringement of the right to privacy. Nowadays in this techno-tech world, all transactions are done via means of the internet. Personal data has been shared online which has risen the level of individuals being trapped in the snare of noxious activities. With innovation in coding, any individual can without much of a stretch hack into accounts to recover individual, essential information and archives.

Nowadays, confidential scattered data can be easily retrieved by any person sitting at one place. Since incipient days privacy has always been a tenacious issue, where we have no specific justice delivering mechanism for it in India. The duty to respect privacy is a prima facie duty of state which seems to be deviating since technological advancements. There is a connection between freedom, human dignity, and privacy.

The latest scandal that involved Facebook users and Cambridge Analytical researchers mishandling data of over 40 million users. The dubious data gathering tactic included the use of Facebook Graphs API (application program interference that made data interconnectivity and data delivery a perfect epitome to infringement of the rights in the business world. Due to progression, the world has become a small place. One-click away customers can purchase all merchandise and enterprises online by the means of e-commerce. Buyers need to give all their bank card numbers, their data which can be misused by many sellers or sites that will be a threat to consumer’s privacy. This has created the void between the merchants and purchasers relation.

when Facebook gathers information, it does as such for a reason. The reason is said on its site as “interface and offer with individuals throughout your life”. That being the reason, the client agrees to give data, some of which is likewise “individuals delicate information” under the Data ProtectionAct. Nonetheless, it is presented that the design is wide to the point that it can cover nearly everything going from sharing of such data withthe’s companion to sharing of data in uencingthe data to open to open, for the very point is to“connect”. However, clearly, this isn’t the genuine aim behind the assent. Over and over, Facebookhas taken the safeguard of the way that clients agree to the utilization of data before marking up. Relief in such manner was given by a U.S.court in Daily Times Democrat v. Graham. The Judgment was in connection to a convoluted case recorded against photography out in the open. It Was held that even in spite of the suggested agreement to be captured out in the open, the individual holds the privilege to relinquish such agreement and to be shielded from a “disgusting and indecent interruption of his privilege of protection just in light of the fact that hardship takes him to an open place”. A similarity can be drawn at this point between joining and Facebook and going out openly. In spite of consenting to the reason for joining Facebook, as the referred to case holds,the privilege to relinquish the assent is as yet saved. In any case, this rule is of little use since it doesn’t seem to have been reverberated by cases in different wards.

Development of Right to Privacy in India

The proposed data protection framework is true to the ratio of the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in Puttaswamy’s case. The Supreme Court held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right flowing from the right to life and personal liberty as well as other fundamental rights securing individual liberty in the constitution. Privacy itself was held to have negative aspects, (the right to be let alone), and a positive aspect, (the right to self-development). The sphere of privacy includes a right to protect one’s identity. The right recognises the fact that all information about a person is fundamentally her own, and she is free to communicate or retain it to herself. The core of informational privacy, thus, is a right to autonomy and self- determination in respect of one’s personal data.

The conundrum of privacy

The issue of privacy can be traced in numerous cases. The privacy of an individual can be asserted to be his basic human right which he/she can claim against the state through the discourse of Fundamental Rights guaranteed under part III of the Supreme law of the land. The issue of privacy related to the body, cyberspace, identity, etc has existed from the beginning when the technological revolution had sowed its seed. But this issue got the media coverage and people got to know about the right to privacy only after the 2017 Judgement.

Justice Dr D.Y Chandrachud in his landmark judgment on K.S Puttuswamy v Union Of India[1], popularly known as the Aadhaar case, very well have addressed the challenges to privacy which is dealt in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and also the constitutional interpretation of liberty of an individual in the context of social order. In the Aadhaar project, the government gathered numbers and demographic biometric data which was sensitive data to let its subject profit offices which individuals thought could be abused effectively with most recent innovation. In this milestone judgment, Quorum of nine appointed judges of the Supreme Court pronounced the right to privacy as a major right under part III of the constitution. The Right to privacy of various groups can be encroached by the use of technology.

The Attorney General for India encouraged that the presence of a principle of the right to privacy is in question taking into account two decisions: the first – M P Sharma v Satis Chandra[2], District Magistrate, Delhi was delivered by a Bench of eight judges and the second, in Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh[3] was delivered by a Bench of six judges. Each of these decisions, in the submission of the Attorney General, contained perceptions that the Indian Constitution doesn’t explicitly protect the right to privacy. These were some of the precedents where the issue of privacy came into question.

Privacy concern of an individual is of significant importance in today’s digitally sound time. The benefits of digital technology in our lives are many; however, while enjoying these benefits the amount of information disseminated has serious implications on privacy. While we deem technology in and itself as neutral the repercussions caused are significant of high gravity. The right to privacy in the digital age has per se been aggressively threatened by data automation which has led to infringement the rights of customers.

Policies & Legislations

Excessive data collection has a chilling effect on society narrowing individual right to freedom of speech, Freedom of expression because of the perceived threat. Privacy ‘sine qua non’(a thing that is absolutely necessary), if infringed can be detrimental to democracy limiting civil engagement. Protective legal frameworks have been a standard reaction to the interception of private interchanges by the state; however, the idea of the reaction differs across jurisdictions. Mostly, such reactions involve some type of judicial involvement in the block attempt of private communications by law enforcement authorities. India does not have any express legislation governing data protection.

However, relevant laws dealing with data protection are the Information Technology Act. IT act 2000 provides various laws and punishments to prevent misuse of data and protect individuals and curb cyber crimes such as breach of confidentiality and privacy.

Relevant Sections of the IT Act[4]

• Section 43A of the IT Act creates a liability on a body corporate (including a firm, sole proprietorship or other association of individuals engaged in commercial or professional activities) which possesses, deals or handles any sensitive personal data or information in a computer resource that it owns, controls or operates to pay damages by way of compensation, to the person affected if there is any wrongful loss or wrongful gain to any person caused because of the negligence in implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices and procedures to protect the information of the person affected.

• Section 72 A of the IT Act mentions that any person (including an intermediary) who, while providing services under the terms of a lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent of causing or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.

Current  Policy of threat  on  Internet Privacy in India

Currently, India’s most comprehensive legal provisions that speak to privacy on the internet can be found in the Information Technology Act (ITA) 2000.  The ITA contains a number of provisions that can, in some cases, safeguard online privacy, or in other cases, dilute online privacy. Provisions that clearly protect user privacy include: penalizing child pornography,penalizing, hacking and fraud and defining data protection standards for body corporate.

Provisions that serve to dilute user privacy speak to access by law enforcement to user’s personal information stored by body corporate collection and monitoring of internet traffic data and real time monitoring, interception, and decryption of online communications. Additionally, legislative gaps in the ITA serve to weaken the privacy of online users. For example, the ITA does not address questions and circumstances like the evidentiary status of social media content in India, merging and sharing of data across databases, whether individuals can transmit images of their own “private areas” across the internet, if users have the right to be notified of the presence of cookies and do-not track options, the use of electronic personal identifiers across databases, and if individuals have the right to request service providers to take down and delete their personal content.

The issue with online networking is basically  xated on “assent” and “open area”. As effectively expressed, statutory law of security under Data Protection and IT Act advances from the tort law of Con dence which thus is an “assent reason” show. In this way, it takes after that assent approves a demonstration which generally could have constituted a break of security section will break down pertinence of every component of both convoluted and statutory protection law as explained in the prior parts.

Having said that, as of late when Facebook was tormented with protection ruptures that included sharing of data with sites. This made an issue in light of the fact that at whatever point a client went by a site, his pro le would demonstrate the address so went by in the news


As there is a vast advancement in technology with the widespread use of the Internet for various things, a new threat has emerged against the States which cannot be fought by armed forces. The growing prominence of the right to privacy in the digital age would not have occurred if there was a presence of a robust and expert civil constituency. This is an era of technology where computers have become an indispensable part of our lives where all data shared can never stay anonymous from humble beginnings to entire businesses being set up online we have come a far way. Our dependence on technology has risen over the years and will continue to rise with ever-changing development even when technology is surged to achieve great heights yet our country does not have any specifically dedicated law governing the noxious online data privacy.

The privacy law was found in the old Indian writings and was accessible to different parts of protection under the codes. Be that as it may, much consideration was not paid to such parts of protection of privacy rights. Consideration was not paid even by the Indian researchers. Therefore the ‘right to privacy’ is probably an item of current western law. When we go to the state and the course of advancement of the privilege to protection, we discover the circumstance unacceptable in all angles; as to its de nition, its assurance, its area, its con nement, its requirement and so forth. By Chance, the privilege which developed as a piece of the general law was at rst regarded as a piece of the private law. In this way, the inclination for security came into struggle with the general population interest.


  1. Article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  2. Samuel D. Warren &Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv.L.R.193(1890)
  3. Graham Greenleaf ‘Global Data privacy laws 2019: 132 national laws & many bills’(2019) 157 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 14-18.
  4. K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017) 10 SCC 1
  5. M P Sharma v Satis Chandra,
  6. harak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh
  7. Facebook Privacy Policy, available at
  8. Media Report available at scitech/2011/10/21/facebook-buildingshadow-pro les- non-members-experts-allege/
  9. Daily Times Democrat v. Graham.

[1] K.S Puttuswamy v Union Of India

[2]  M P Sharma v Satis Chandra

[3] Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh

[4] IT bare act

Author: Allapureddy Vaishnavi (ICFAI Foundation Of Higher Education (IFHE) University)

Law Library LawBhoomi

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