Laws soon to protect right to privacy

By Gagani Weerakoon

The Government is planning to soon introduce laws that would protect each individual's right to privacy.

A discussion to this effect has been initiated on the directives of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

According to informed sources, the need for such laws has been identified following the data of telephone conversations of several members of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), being publicized in media.

The Parliament Privileges Committee, chaired by Minister Malik Samarawickreme, is all set to probe the matter in the
coming week as it has already been referred to the committee.

It is also expected that Editors of newspapers also be summoned before the committee as the allegations were mainly levelled against media for publicizing what was discussed at the Presidential Commission.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya referred matter of parliamentary privileges being breached, of several MPs, as a result of CID forensic reports on telephone conversation of Arjuna Aloysius being publicized in media.

In August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy of its citizens. The ruling is the outcome of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Indian biometric identity scheme 'Aadhaar'.

The Sri Lankan Government, too, has already begun issuing smart National Identity Cards (NIC) as an initiative to introducing e-NIC carrying biometric data of citizens by the end of 2018 or at the beginning of 2019.

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