The year 2019 has been very delightful for me. While the first week was full of discussions with my friends from the solar fraternity, the second week was indeed more enlightening. I got an opportunity to attend 3 talks and 1 panel discussion on different socio-technical topics. The topics of the sessions are listed below;

Session 1: What is to be done? Critique of and alternatives to extractive imagination of AI

Session 2: E-waste Management

Session 3: Section 377 (LGBT Rights in India)

Session 4: Data Privacy

    Session 1 was independently organized by the centre for policy studies, IIT Bombay, remaining sessions were part of IIT’s Annual Social Festival, Abhyuday. I have written a separate blog post on it. Click here to read more about it in a new window.

    Similarly, I have written a separate blog post on session 2 due to the length of the content. Click here to open it in a new window. I will be talking briefly on what was presented in independently presented session 3 and session 4 here;

Section 377:

    Nakshatra Bagwe; India’s first Gay ambassador, LGBTQ activist, award-winning filmmaker shared his opinion on 2018’s supreme court verdict on decriminalizing private homosexual activity. He not only shared his life story but also presented strong points on the future of LGBT rights. He said that decriminalizing was a baseline for our future arguments. Here is what he said during the talk;

  • We don’t want to convert straight people being LGBT forcefully. We are fighting for those who are what they are by nature not by choice. We want to create a better society for the LGBT community.
  • Supreme court verdict has changed people’s mindset towards LGBT people. We are being accepted by society easily than earlier. More people are coming out because of the legal back-up.
  • Social acceptance is a widely debated issue when we talk about LGBT rights. For me, social acceptance is being accepted by my relatives and neighbours. I will not add parents to the list because they will always support you once you are accepted by relatives and neighbours.
  • The struggle is now to get our right to marry and adopt children. I know it is time-taking and difficult, but we will fight for our right.

Data Privacy:

    Former Supreme Court justice and head of data protection law committee, B. N. Srikrishnan guided the audience about existing data protection laws and how things are changing in the digital world. This session was more like an awareness speech than a discussion since many things were new to the audience. Here is the excerpt of his talk;

  • The motive behind data protection law is to protect people’s fundamental right to privacy. Supreme court of India has clarified that right to privacy is fundamental right except in some special conditions.
  • Consent of a person to collect and access his/her data (text/ image/ video) is a matter of discussion. In the case of Aadhar, people’s right to privacy is maintained by restricting certain sectors from accessing the UIDAI database.
  • Certain cases like while booking a flight, airline carrier may ask irrelevant questions. People should have the right to deny answering such questions. Moreover, after successful completion of air travel, one may ask airline carrier to delete his data. However, certain taxation laws bind companies to maintain data for 3 to 5 years. In this case, your data will be stored for that amount of period.
  • In another instance, Cops taking your picture on highways to identify high-speeding does not necessitate your consent. Entry to the mall which has installed CCTV cameras is not mandatory. You are entering by your choice. You have the right to limit your entry at such places.
  • Law also mandates storing data in its country of origin to easily access it when needed. If not followed, it may restrict legal actions against anyone due to lack of access to data.
  • It should be noted that the storage of data has been identified as processing as per the law.
  • When data is transferred from one company to another company, it should have a legal contract between them. In case of more than 2 parties are handling the data and any one of them leaks it, all the parties will be held responsible and court reserves right to penalize any of them based on the situation.

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Note: Statements mentioned in this article may have been improvised and should not be 
interpreted as speaker’s words on as-is basis. This is not news article. This blog post
 is for information purpose only.