Data Protection Board: Functions, Powers, and Enforcement Mechanisms  

Data Protection Board: Functions, Powers, and Enforcement Mechanisms  -feature image

Have you ever imagined who protects your data from those scammers out there? The Data Protection Board- the unsung hero of protecting privacy rights in India. 

This regulatory body puts their all efforts so that individuals’ data remains secure and confidential. But what exactly does this board do? What powers do they hold? And how do they enforce data protection laws? In this blog, we will talk about the functions, powers, and enforcement mechanisms of the Data Protection Board to understand their role in protecting our data. 

What is the Data Protection Board (DPB)? 

The Data Protection Board (DPB) of India is a regulatory body that is responsible for overseeing the implementation and enforcement of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDP Act).  The DPB was founded due to the growing need for data protection measures in the digital age. 

The DPB is an independent body, and it have the power to act on its own initiative. However, it will also be accountable to the government of India. The DPB will be required to submit an annual report to the government, and it will be subject to parliamentary oversight.

What are the Data Protection Board’s Primary Functions?

The primary functions of data protection board are:-

Developing data protection guidelines

The DPB will develop guidelines and standards to help businesses comply with the DPDP Act. These guidelines will cover a wide range of topics, such as data collection, data storage, and data processing.

Promoting data protection awareness

The DPB will be responsible for raising awareness of the DPDP Act among businesses, individuals, and other stakeholders. This will involve providing information about the law, its implications, and how to comply with it.

Listening to complaints from affected individuals 

DPB also looks for individuals who are the victims of data breach. If someone has a problem, they can tell the DPB, and the DPB will look into it and fix it. This way, people can get help and make sure their issues are handled fairly, without any bias. Moreover, it is important to consider that the board members will serve for a two-year term and may be reappointed. 

To instruct data-handling organizations to address data breaches 

In case of data breach, the DPB can instruct organizations handling your data about what they need to do to fix the problem. They can assist companies by fixing the breach and preventing more harm to people whose information was exposed. 

Imposing Penalties 

The board’s main task is to enforce the Data Protection Act, and to impose penalties on those who are violating the DPDP bill. These penalties can include fines, and the DPB ensures that organizations comply with the law. 

What are the Data Protection Board’s Responsibilities?

DPA protects the rights of data principles, prevents the misuse of any personal data and raises awareness among people for data protection. The other responsibilities of DPB are: 

  • Keep a close watch on how the Act is being followed and make sure it’s enforced properly. 
  • Decide when it’s necessary to carry out an assessment to protect data. 
  • Classify the sensitive personal data categories. 
  • Act swiftly in case of data security breaches. 
  • Certify data auditors and keep their information on record. 
  • Review data audits and act as required. 
  • Monitor the movement of data across borders. 
  • Set guidelines for best practices in data protection. 
  • Educate data holders on their responsibilities under the Act. 
  • Determine the fees and charges for carrying out the Act. 
  • Accept and handle complaints under the Act. 

What are the Data Protection Board’s Powers of Investigation?

The DPB possesses significant powers to investigate data breaches and complaints. It can inquire into data breaches and review complaints. According to the DPDP Act 2023, the board’s power of investigation include: 

  1. Issuing Summons: DPB can issue summons and examine individuals on the oath. They make sure that investigations are carried out properly.
  2. Receiving Affidavits: The board has the authority to receive affidavits mandating the production of documents. These documents are crucial for investigations. 
  3.  Inspecting Data and Documents: It can inspect documents and registers that are relevant to the investigation. 
  4. Enlisting Law Enforcement: Data protection board can seek the assistance of central or state government police officers if necessary to aid in the investigation. 

One thing to notice is that DPB has the same powers and authorities like Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure Act (CPC), 1908. 

What are the Data Protection Board’s Powers to Issue Orders and Sanctions?

When the Data Protection Board gets the news about a personal data breach as defined in Section 8, Sub-section 6 of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, they start their investigation. If the DPB finds that any organization is at fault for breach of data protection laws, they can instruct them to take remedial actions immediately. Further, DPB can issue penalties according to the provisions of the DPDP Act, 2023 against violators. 

What are the Data Protection Board’s Powers to Cooperate with Other Data Protection Authorities? 

The DPB has the power to cooperate with other data protection authorities. It fosters collaboration on matters related to data protection. This cooperation ensures a good, coordinated approach for data privacy. 

What are the Different Types of Enforcement Mechanisms that the Data Protection Board Can Use? 

The DPB can use multiple enforcement mechanisms to check data protection violations. They use issuing warnings, imposing fines, or even revoking an organization’s data processing permissions. 

How does the Data Protection Board Decide Which Enforcement mechanism to Use? 

The Data Protection Board (DPB) determines the enforcement mechanism based on the severity and type of violation. They look for the extent of data loss and apply fines comparatively (which is up to 250 crores).  

The board also considers factors such as the entity’s past compliance record. It assesses the entity’s historical record of compliance and evaluates the impact on individuals whose data is involved. These considerations help inform the final decision regarding the matter at hand. 

What are the Possible Consequences for Organizations that Violate Data Protection Law? 

When any organization violates the data protection laws, they may face a range of consequences like fines, penalties, criminal prosecution, imprisonment, conviction, and more. 

These penalties are levied on organizations that do not handle personal data properly and it helps protect individuals’ privacy rights. So, compliance with data protection regulations is crucial for any organization or company to avoid legal repercussions and maintain trust with stakeholders. 

Key Takeaways 

The Data Protection Board of India, established under the DPDP Act 2023, holds significant authority to enforce data protection laws and safeguards individuals’ personal data. Its functions, power of investigation, enforcement mechanisms, and cooperation with other authorities make it a crucial pillar of India’s data privacy framework. 

Published On: November 17, 2023

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