Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda on Tuesday urged the government to bring a new legislation on data privacy, pointing out that people are facing the risk of data theft, especially with a system like Aadhaar in place.

Participating in a debate on the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Hooda pointed out that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had to go to police to file a complaint against data misuse by Axis Bank, business correspondent Suvidhaa Infoserve and e-sign provider eMudhra.

“You are making Aadhaar mandatory. You are collecting so much data and last month the UIDAI authorities had to go to police and report three companies that used the data for unauthorised transaction by bank employees,” Hooda said.

“People don’t have the right to know how much donation a political party gets and from whom, but you want all information about people,” the Congress member said.

He pointed out that hearing was on in a case in the Supreme Court where the Attorney General had taken a position that data privacy was a right, but not a fundamental right.

“Ultimately the Supreme Court will decide. But the government must study data privacy policy in other countries. The European Union has declared data protection a fundamental right,” he said.

The MP went on to ask why the government was collecting all the data, but added that he did not doubt their intention.

“Bring a new legislation on data privacy,” he said.

Talking about the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Hooda said the bill had a provision under which refusal to give government details for the National Sample Survey Organisation would invite fine and punishment.

“This is a finance bill-like story. You are compelling people to give information,” Hooda said.

The bill amends the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008.

The 2008 Act provides that the information collected under it can only be used for statistical purposes. The bill removes this provision and allows the central government to determine the manner in which such information collected would be used for statistical purposes.

The 2008 Act was not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, but now the bill seeks to extend its jurisdiction to Jammu and Kashmir for collection of statistics pertaining to subjects under the Union or the Concurrent list of the Constitution, as applicable to the state. These subjects would include citizenship, education, banking, labour and forests.